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. 


Basic Spacing 1
  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 2
  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 3
  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.
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.


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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.


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

this has been no help with wat i was looking for


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

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


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


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.


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

my coach does this it is soooo easy


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.


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


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!


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.


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