Basic 'See the Court' Drill
Purpose of the Drill

This drill is multi-dimensional.  It has two main purposes.  First, it teaches drivers to see passing options and second, it teaches players to spread out for good spacing. It also provides practice in catching ready to shoot.  The drill also requires some players to move on every pass, instilling a good basic habit. 


  1. Position five players spaced out evenly around the three-point line. A coach with a ball stands near the baseline on one side of the backboard.

    The drill begins with the coach passing to any of the players on the three-point line. Whoever catches it immediately drives toward the hoop as if for a lay-in.
   Basic Spacing 1

  1. The driver then passes to any of the players on the three-point line. 

    In this example, the baseline player on the same side of the ball (Player 5) fills the vacated spot on the wing. The passer fills the empty spot on the baseline.

    Rule: The player who passes the ball needs to fill a vacated spot along the perimeter. He needs to be 10 to 12 feet away from the person closest to them. This helps the players understand the spacing concept.  
   Basic Spacing 2

  1. Next, the player who caught the ball (Player 4) drives to the basket.

    The driver then passes the ball to another player on the perimeter.

    In this example, the wing player on the same side of the ball (Player2) fills the vacated spot on the baseline. The passer (Player 4) fills the spot on the wing.

  2. This action continues until the coach yells "Shot" to signal the driver to continue in for a lay-in instead of passing.
   Basic Spacing 3

If two players go the same area, you should stop the drill and point out to the players that they are bunching together. Explain to them that they need to communicate to each other who is going to fill the spot. Make sure that they understand when they get close together, it makes it much easier for the defense to guard them. If they're standing right next to each other, it only takes one defender to guard both of them.

On every catch, the players need to jump to the ball and catch in a triple threat position.

By jumping to the ball, it teaches them to beat the defender to the ball. By getting in a triple threat position as quick as possible, it teaches them to be ready to shoot or drive if they see an opportunity to dribble penetrate. As a result, you have less turnovers from fewer stolen passes and more points from being ready to attack.


  • Pass until the coach yells, "shot."

  • Alternate hands on every other drive.  First time, drive to the right with the right hand.  Second time, drive left with the left hand or vice-versa.

  • Tell the players to pass the ball a certain number of times and take a shot.  This progression would be continuous WITHOUT the coach yelling, "shot." For example, pass the ball 3 times, and a take a shot.  If you want to ensure that everybody takes a shot, you could say that each player needs to take a shot before one player takes a second shot.

  • Coach sets a time parameter as well.  For example, see how many lay ups they can make in 2 minutes.  They can shoot a lay up after 4 passes.  Each player has to take a shot before any player can take their second shot.  Each player must take their second shot before any player takes their third shot and so on.

  • Instead of shooting lay ups, shoot jump shots.
Points of Emphasis:

  • Players at the three-point arc need to be at least ten feet away from other players.

  • Catch the ball in triple threat.

  • Jump to the ball.

  • Be ready to move.

  • The fast-break prevent spot at the top of the key should never remain vacant.

  • Praise players for making passes that show great court vision.

  • Encourage players to make crisp, accurate passes.

jssocials alternate:


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Chris says:
12/20/2007 at 6:27:21 AM

Great work . Keep it up. it really helps with the young players and in variations on old themes.


Chris Rodriguez says:
12/20/2007 at 6:54:21 AM

I was just pointing out how they bunch up at our last practice. I will use this drill at our next practice.


Don Sherwood says:
12/20/2007 at 8:32:55 AM

I will give this drill a shot. It looks effective, I just wish I could get my kids to think about this stuff while there are palying.

  1 person liked this. 1 reply  

Jason A says:
1/3/2015 at 10:52:22 PM

Spacing...the bane of every youth coach's existence! Keep drilling and it gets better!


Randy Sullivan says:
12/20/2007 at 8:39:57 AM

I have been trying to get the spacing thing into my 9th graders head. This will help. Thanks.


Matthew says:
12/20/2007 at 9:08:28 AM

I will try this at my next practice it looks very effective. I'm always telling my 6TH graders to do this (space between each other).


peter marino says:
12/20/2007 at 8:02:35 PM

thank you.


joepaul says:
12/21/2007 at 3:24:21 AM

its look very effective


Carl Odom says:
12/21/2007 at 11:46:59 AM

Can't believe the timing of this. I will try it out during the next practice. Simple, but looks oh- so effective, and I was screaming last night about how to get the spacing concept through their heads- Unfortunately, these are older players- in high school, but with a youthful basketball mentality, as most of my players have never played much in their life. It's been a very upsetting year, when you're trying to compete in high school, yet it appears that you've got over grown and over aged 6th graders. Anyway, I have tried dozens of things, and it hasn't worked too well at this point. I'll let you know how this goes, and Thanks again. Sincerely, Coach Odom


eva says:
12/22/2007 at 8:10:48 AM

itz a veeerrryy helpful website n the issues r really very effective.


JJ says:
12/24/2007 at 3:30:44 PM

I will definitely use this w/ my 6th graders!


coach steve bond says:
12/25/2007 at 3:14:25 PM

Excellent drill. This drill has to improve a teams spacing just by the way it forces the team to implement it. Helping the players to understand what the drills intention is allows them to make it second nature.


Media says:
12/27/2007 at 1:45:35 AM

thank its very helpful. its can be a great drill if use shooting to end the drill, excellent
Terima kasih


Bren Eireann says:
12/27/2007 at 3:43:08 PM

Thanks a lot - this looks effective, I will use it on our ypunger players to prevent cluttering.
Keep up the great work.


Ali says:
12/30/2007 at 6:42:43 AM

Arigatou,good drill


bryan patterson says:
1/12/2008 at 8:06:44 PM

Looks like a very effective drill, I will try it this week at practice. I'm a first year youth coach of 6-8 year olds and it's very tough to keep their attention. I imagine you could do this drill with 7 players as well since the smaller kids take up less space anyways.


John Wormald says:
1/21/2008 at 4:10:07 AM

Just a thought. when the player replaces into the vacant position, would running a small "V" line encourges the player to not move in straight lines which later makes them harder to guard. You may encourage the player to put one foot inside the key before relocating to the new spot. Thoughts?


jayen cruz says:
1/24/2008 at 8:00:38 PM

good drill, teaches players a lot about spacing and discipline in rotating the ball...


Jeff says:
1/25/2008 at 2:09:16 PM


Running a V line when filling the spot wouldn't hurt. The key emphasis for this particular drill is to simply fill the "open" spot and maintain good spacing. This drill is nice because it gets players in the habit of filling that "open" space and keeping things spread out.

As long as teaching the V line doesn't detract from the key emphasis of the drill, you can certainly work that in. The V is especially useful if you play against a team that is overplaying. This can allow you to get open against pressure. You either V and get your player on your hip for the pass. Or cut straight out and back door against pressure. Generally speaking, I think straight lines are fine. It simply depends on where the defense is positioned. Reading the defense is more important (whether you move in a straight line to the open spot or use a V cut to get open).


Jeff Haefner


duwe jeremy says:
2/5/2008 at 6:44:39 AM

I appreciate the drills given and hope to get more from you,thanks big


Janne Thakenel nolons says:
4/12/2008 at 6:59:38 PM

What exactly is a triple threat? I've looked everywhere and I can't figure it out!
(I need it for school)


Joe Haefner (Co-Founder of Breakthrough Basketball) says:
4/14/2008 at 8:13:24 AM

Hi Janne,

The "Triple Threat" is commonly referred to as the threat to shoot, dribble, or pass. To have the ball in triple threat position means that a player can pull the ball up into a shot, throw a pass, or dribble the basketball.

The player has the ball placed in the shooting pocket. Right-handed players have the shooting pocket slightly above their right hip and in front of them. The opposite holds true for left-handed players.

We have a slightly different theory on how we like to teach our players to use the "triple threat." If you are interested in that, you can visit this link on our website:


Janne says:
4/14/2008 at 3:09:14 PM

That's very useful!!!


julius says:
4/27/2008 at 1:08:38 AM

Thank you so much....
It really helps to my offence play..I will use it constantly..well done..


jay of usc says:
5/6/2008 at 9:24:12 PM

great plan! I really appreciated the way you plan for spacing drill. It really helps the small basketers to work on the open man to take an open shoot. I hope you will continue giving us some drills. Thanks and more power.


Micks says:
12/3/2008 at 5:01:05 PM

thats an awsome drill.


John says:
1/15/2009 at 4:36:48 PM

Looks like a good drill. What is the rule for filling the spot of the driver? For example, in step 2, how did 5 know to fill the spot vacated by 3 ?



Coach K says:
2/9/2009 at 9:10:38 PM

First 4 games of season our youth team averaged around 30 points a game. Started this drill to improve spacing for our motion offense, after one week of practice kids are moving, penetrating and making that extra pass to the open shooter. We just started our second half of the season and playing the first team again this past Saturday our team finished the game with 61 points and every player scored 4 or more points for the first time this season. It was a true team victory and our kids confidence is on a whole new level. They can't wait to get back to practice again. THANKS !!!


Craig Rotz says:
2/24/2009 at 11:18:35 AM

You don''t show an example of when the top of the key guy drives. Do you have a preference which guy(s) rotate as he drives?


Joe Haefner says:
2/25/2009 at 9:43:25 AM

Hi Craig,

Some people like to set a rule where the guy on the wing slide up towards the top of the key. I'm referring to the wing that the player dribbles towards.


heather says:
1/26/2010 at 11:05:36 PM

i really think this drill would be helpful but I am having trouble understanding the patern of rotation.


mike says:
2/13/2010 at 2:59:13 PM

The problem with this drill is that it does not teach moving off penetration. It would in fact reinforce the standing issue. Do the same drill with 4 players rather than 5 and teach the players to move on the penetration (baseline drive-baseline drift; baseline drive-follow, middle drive-slide, etc.)


Joe Haefner says:
2/13/2010 at 4:33:48 PM

Mike, I agree that standing will become a problem if this drill is used continuously without introducing the offensive concepts that you mention. I'm curious, do you introduce the spacing concept and work on those dribble-penetration reads at the same time?

I've always liked to use this drill to introduce the spacing concept. Then, teach the other concepts in relation to dribble penetration. I think those are great progressions to add once the kids get a feel for spacing.

I guess it all depends what age group that you are working with as well. I actually like to teach players how to cut before introducing dribble-penetration reads, but that could be a "to-may-to", "to-mah-to" type of difference.


Lulu Crossgrove says:
5/30/2010 at 4:56:17 PM

This is a very effective drill and it sounds like alot of fun. Keep it up!


Julia Sant says:
6/10/2010 at 8:36:58 PM

This look like agreat starting point for my year 8''''s some have an Idea most of them have no clue about spacing all they want is the ball.
Will try this at the next training session let you know how I go.
Regards Julia


Stuart Buckley says:
7/21/2010 at 3:06:54 PM

I have a development team and this is just what the basketball doctor ordered.


trey says:
11/23/2010 at 12:59:05 AM

my coach does this it is soooo easy


Dave says:
12/2/2011 at 6:28:01 AM

If the "fast break spot can't remain vacant" like you say (i.e. the 1 position can't leave unless passed to), doesn't that mean that only one player is available at any time to fill any vacated spot other than the 1 spot? So unless the 1 is the driver, I'm not seeing how there could be any confusion as to who needs to fill a spot vacated by a driver, hence no need for them to communicate to prevent bunching up as this describes.


Ken says:
12/2/2011 at 10:35:51 AM

This is a great drill .. I can think of several coaches that I know that can use something like this..... it doesn't make any difference what age group it is. I have varsity boys and there were times that our spacing and "spots" were not filled... our rule was simple... turn and look and fill a spot.
As for communicating.... I don't care what drill you are running, the more you can get your kids to communicate - the better players they will be - on both ends of the floor. JMO


jeffrey says:
2/5/2013 at 9:40:13 PM

i have a better understanding,about spacing,inside court. :-)........


richard mccconnell says:
9/11/2013 at 8:07:03 AM

this has been no help with wat i was looking for


Ron says:
2/6/2014 at 12:00:55 AM

I would like to try this drill with my team, but am not clear on how the players should fill the vacant spot.
How should they communicate with one another as to who should move into the empty spot?

  1 reply  

Jeremy says:
8/2/2016 at 9:08:32 AM

Ron- Basically anytime there is a spot open between a player and the basketball they would fill it in. That's the rule.


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