Beginner Drill To Improve Passing Technique and Catching

The following Free-Throw Lane 4 Corner Passing Drill is effective because it not only develops fundamental passing ability, but it also adds multiple different movements and forces your players to focus on the many actions going on around them.

When teaching players a new passing drill, coaches typically use exercises that center only on form and crisp passing fundamentals. While this is very important to developing passing skills, one important aspect can be forgotten. In a real game situation, there are many variables that contribute to successful passing. These variables consist of teammates who are constantly in motion, the defense floating in and out of passing lanes and many other aspects your passers have to be aware of.

Step 1:

The drill begins with your team breaking up into four lines, one at each of the four corners of the free-throw lane. To become familiar with the pattern, your team should start with just one ball. As shown on the right, player 1 will begin with the ball. #1 will pass up the lane to #2 and will follow the pass and run toward #2.

Step 2:

Player #2 will catch the pass from #1 and immediately pass the ball back to player #1.

Step 3:

Player #1 will catch the return pass from #2. At this point, player #1 should now be within arm's length from #2. #1 will then hand off the ball to #2 and move to the back of the line behind #6.

Step 4:

Player #2 receives the handoff from #1 and then passes the ball across the lane to player #3. As soon as 2 passes to #3, player #2 will follow the pass and run to where 3 is on the right elbow. Just as in step 2 above, player #3 will catch the pass from #2 and immediately pass the ball back to player #2. Following step 3 above, player #2 will catch the return pass from #3 and then hand off the ball to #3 and move to the back of the line behind #7.

This drill continues by moving in a counter clockwise motion as shown in the three diagrams on the right. The drill keeps the same pattern the entire time – pass, pass back and handoff. #3 will use this pattern with #4. Then #4 will do the same with #5 and so on.


Step 5 (Add Another Ball):

Once your players feel comfortable with the drill using one ball, you can increase the tempo by adding a second ball. To begin with this increased difficulty, start with the basketballs in diagonal corners. As shown in the diagram to the right, you can start with players #1 and #3 as your first passers.

Just like with one basketball, your players will use the same pattern of pass, pass back and handoff, following in a counter clockwise motion.

Step 6 (Add Third Ball):

To make things even more difficult, you can add a third basketball. In this case, players #1, #2 and #3 will begin as passers. Instead of #1 passing to #2, player #1 will now pass to player #6. At the same time, player #2 will pass to player #7 and player #3 will pass to player #4.

Adding a third basketball will likely create confusion for your players. This will simulate game situations where there are multiple variables going on at one time.

Encourage your team to focus on the same pattern as above. Just like with one or two basketballs, your players will follow the same pattern of pass, pass back and handoff, repeating in a counter clockwise motion.

This drill works your players’ minds, passing ability and conditioning.

You can see the drill in action by watching this video that I found on youtube:

Here are more great games and basketball drills.

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


Most Likes First   Oldest First   Newest First

Junior salters says:
4/17/2015 at 9:59:32 AM

Great article, Joe! We even did this drill pre practice in college. Definitely something good to get the juices flowing!

  1 reply  

Joe Haefner says:
4/21/2015 at 4:51:23 PM

I didn't write it, but we're glad you found it useful!

  1 reply  

bill says:
11/8/2015 at 7:53:58 PM

why not have players after pass go to outside ie., right side as pass goes out from right block; left side if coming up from opposite side passing. I believe drill runs smoother that way; on inside player who passes, and going to end of line, blocks momentarily the next pass.

  1 reply  

Jeff says:
11/9/2015 at 8:40:23 AM

If you try that let us know how it works. Thanks for the idea.


Ajoy Mukherjee says:
4/28/2015 at 11:26:30 AM

Definitely beneficial , specially vedio.


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