3 In a Line Toss Drill
The following drill is a popular advantage game for young basketball players. This competitive drill improves offense, defense, spacing, passing, decision making, cutting and more.
It's fun and great for skill development. We highly recommend this drill for all youth coaches.
The drill begins with three players in a line. Player 1 starts one step below the free throw line. Players 1 & 2 will be on offense and player 3 will be on defense.
Player 1 tosses the ball out to the top of the key and chases down the ball.
Once player one chases down the ball, he/she catches the ball on a jump stop facing away from the basket. He/she then pivots, faces the hoop, looks to attack, and makes a decision.
Player 2 sprints to the left or right three point line, away from his/her teammate to create spacing.
Player 3 decides if he/she will run out to stop the ball or defend the wing player.
Depending on where the defense decides to play, the player with the ball must read the situation. If he/she is not defended, the read is to drive. If the ball is defended, the read could be to pass to the wing or drive (attack the close out).
At the same time, player 2 has to read the defense from the wing. If he/she is not defended, the read could be to cut to the basket. If he/she is covered, the read could be to stay wide to create spacing.
The players locate the reads and the drill continues with the offense trying to score and the defense trying to stop the ball.
Initially, the drill is taught to have the defense rush out and guard player 1 to show player 2 an open basket to cut towards.
You can switch it up to have the defense rush out to the wing to show player one that they have a driving lane.
Variation - 5 in a Line Toss Drill
Once the drill is learned using three players, you can add two players to create more reads. With five players, the drill is run the exact same way. The offense will always have a one player advantage (3 vs 2).
Summary and Points of Emphasis
We highly recommend this drill for all youth coaches. It's fun and gives you lots of teaching opportunities. By putting the offense at an advantage, you create lots of decision making situations that players will see in a game.
Some of the things you can teach and emphasize include:
- Catch and face the basket in triple threat... looking to score first.
- If you get stopped, pass to the open player.
- If you're off the ball, maintain spacing in correlation to the ballhandler. And cut to the open spot. This is a great drill for teaching spacing and teaching players what to do as the ball moves.
- Look to attack aggressively and make quick decisions.
- Show the defense how to change things up to create new situations and cause the offense to make different decisions.
You can also add additional rules to change the dynamics of the game and/or emphasize specific points that you feel are important. For example, you could require a shot with in 8 seconds, limit to 2 passes, start in the corner, etc. There is no limit to this game and how you use it to develop your players and teach offensive fundamentals.
Keep it Simple and Allow them to Make Mistakes
As a coach, we think it's important to give players freedom and allow them to make mistakes. Over-coaching only leads to player indecision, too much thought, and lack of confidence. If you, as a coach, can focus on emphasizing aggressiveness and spacing -- then most of the other stuff will work out on its own.
Try not to control and correct too much. Choose your teaching spots. Give players chances to work things out and come up with solutions on their own. That is often a better way to learn (self discovery).
Please leave your comments, suggestions, and questions below...