2 Competitive Drills To Improve Perimeter Play

When teaching skills, I'm a big believer in developing confidence and mentality. That's why at our Attack and Counter clinics, you will hear phrases such as:
  • "Think shot."
  • "Get balanced. Then attack immediately."
  • "Do what you're good at."
  • "Do what you want to do. Not what your defender wants you to do."
Sometimes, coaches will introduce competitive drills before the player has developed the confidence and mentality needed to succeed. If you try to teach something new and the player has no success with it due to a defender being present, the player will question and lose faith in what you are trying to teach them and worst of all, they will also lose confidence in themselves. Don Kelbick has been a big influence on me in regards to this approach.

Now this article isn't solely about our teaching philosophy, it's about using appropriate drills once you have developed the skill and confidence in your players. Once this has occurred, I like to introduce 1v1 competitive drills. I enjoy these drills because they simulate game-like situations, get high amount of game-like repetitions in a short amount of time compared to 3v3, 4v4, and 5v5, and the players enjoy them.

Here are two great 1v1 competitive drills that I use to improve perimeter play. Another great bonus is that they also improve first step speed, running speed, quickness, and agility.

1v1 - Corner to Wing

This simulates an action where the player cuts from the corner to the wing whether it's via a screen or a cut. Typically, you will see a forward pivot or sometimes a drop step utilized when the defender over-commits. You can always adjust the cones based on how you want the player to approach the wing or the pass based on your offense or actions in your plays.

You form a defense line where x1 starts and you form an offense line where 1 starts.

On go, both players sprint around their selected cones. As the offense approaches the wing, coach passes the ball.

Offense looks to score. Only 1 shot is attempted and next group goes.

1v1 - Basket to Wing

This drill simulates a game-like action where the player cuts from the basket area to the wing. This could be done via a l-cut, a v-cut, or a down screen. During this drill, you will see the players typically utilize a reverse pivot or drop step. Some players who prefer the front pivot will also do that.

On go, both players sprint to the cone under the basket and must touch it. The first player to approach the wing is on offense. The second player to approach the wing is on defense.

Offense looks to score. Only 1 shot is attempted and next group goes.

Points of Emphasis

Think Shot - If you are within your shooting range, if you are open, and you are under control, shoot it.

Sprint to Ball - Once the player rounds the cone, they need to sprint to the basketball or spot. This will simulate the game situation with game-like speed.

Counter - If the defense covers your shot, instantly go to your counter.

Limit Dribbles - So players learn how to properly use the dribble, we will set a 2 or 3 dribble limit.

What do you think? Let us know by leaving your comments, suggestions, and questions...


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Joe Haefner says:
1/3/2012 at 10:14:34 AM

Hi Kiwi, the counter is a move or cut that you go to after the defense takes away your first move.

For example a dribble counter could be - hesitation move > crossover

A post counter could be drop step > back pivot


Kiwi coach says:
1/1/2012 at 5:48:29 PM

Hi Joe,
Can you explain what 'counter' means. Listed under points of emphasis. Enjoy learning from you coaching points.


Lasbat Adam says:
12/11/2011 at 8:13:49 AM

That is a good drill , i will make sure i will learn on that.


Ken Sartini says:
12/8/2011 at 7:22:17 AM

Joe, he is a very smart guy.

I always felt that I wanted my players to use their dribble for a purpose -
- Take the ball to the basket
- Improve a passing angle
- Get yourself out of trouble
- To get a teammate open

Anything more than that is a waste and can get you in trouble... your teammates will start standing around watching.... its like making a cut.... Cut and dribble with a purpose. JMO


Coach Henry says:
12/7/2011 at 9:49:07 PM

These are good, thanks....the only thing i dont like doing is limiting dribbles, i feel it gives kids a bad habit of picking up the dribble to early...but i understand the point of it. i guess if you preach to them to get somewhere in 3 dribbles that can be better for them.


Joe Haefner says:
12/7/2011 at 7:32:59 PM

Ken, most of that is from Mr. Kelbick!


Ken Sartini says:
12/7/2011 at 6:56:43 PM

This is a great philosophy -

"Think shot."
"Get balanced. Then attack immediately."
"Do what you're good at."
"Do what you want to do. Not what your defender wants you to do."

As a defender - you want to take all that away from them.


John from Harrisburg says:
12/7/2011 at 6:46:00 PM

Love it. Will use it with my sixth grade girls. They need to learn how to get seperation from their defender. Need to work on one v one moves.


History Coach says:
12/7/2011 at 1:59:09 PM

I like the sound of them. Will try them tomorrow in practice with 8th grade girls team!


Joe Haefner says:
12/7/2011 at 11:51:49 AM

Thank you for the heads up on the error! It is fixed now.

We just like to put an emphasis on defense, even with our typos.


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