Basketball Drills for Coaches
Below you’ll find over 200 basketball practice drills for youth, middle school, high school, and college coaches. The drills are organized by category.
Players, check out the individual basketball drills for players section.
What Drills Should You Use During Basketball Practice?
We recommend starting with a good warm up, then spend 20-60 minutes on skills (which includes dribbling, passing, footwork, finishing, and shooting), then you split up the rest of the practice based on your teams identity and what you feel is important. That will include team defense, team offense, rebounding, and special situations (press break, BLOB plays, etc).
So your practice plan format might look something like this:
- Warm up (in the hallway before practice)
- 45 minutes of basketball skill drills
- 15 minutes of defense & rebounding drills
- 15 minutes of team offense drills
- 15 minutes reviewing special situations (inbounds plays and press break)
- 30 minute scrimmage
Note, we suggest utilizing small sided games to enhance skill development, team defense, and team offense sessions. You might do that by alternating “drills” and “small sided games”. Example: start with partner pass & pivot drill and follow it up with 3v2 passing games. Then repeat the cycle with dribbling, defending, shooting, and so on.
By incorporating small sided games you’ll make practice fun, keep players engaged and enhance their skill retention.
You can find 210 drills below to fill in each section of your practice plan. Each category below includes youth basketball drills for kids, advanced drills for older players, progressions, and fun basketball games to incorporate into your practices.
The drills are organized into 13 categories:
Offensive Skill Drills
Team Offense Drills
Defense & Rebounding Drills
Athletic Development Drills
Drills & Games for Kids
If you're a youth coach, here's a collection of 57 youth drills & games specifically for kids (for ages 7 to 14 years old).
How to Run Basketball Drills the Right WayThe first thing to realize is that the great coaches and players focus on the little things.
Too many coaches make the mistake of starting the drill and just running through the motions.
To get better, each drill needs to have a purpose and you really need to watch closely to perform each aspect correctly.
For example, when running a defensive sliding drill, you need too make sure each player continually maintains a wide base, keeps their hands out, maintains good balance, keeps their butt down, and so on. It's the little things that make you a better player.
You CAN'T let them slip!!
Practicing drills is when players get better. In fact, the most important aspect of running your practices and getting better as a player, is how you run those drills.
In order to get better, you need to practice over and over to develop good habits and muscle memory. If you don't practice the RIGHT way, you're just developing bad habits and training yourself to play the wrong way.
So I urge you to take the time to learn the detailed fundamentals of basketball. And then run the drills to train your body to perform those fundamentals without even thinking about it.
Making it Fun
One of the best ways to stay motivated and get better is to keep things fun.
This can be done by adding competitive twists to the drills or simply incorporating fun youth drills.
I've found that most players, especially younger ones, really enjoy fast paced drills that really keep things moving.
You can do a variety of things to keep them moving. You can set up stations, so a group of players work at a station for a few minutes, then you blow the whistle and they run to the next station.
You can also run multifacet drills that have players running, shooting, passing and doing a variety of things.
The trick is to have enough coaches or helpers watching each area, making sure each player is using proper form.
After players run around for a bit, take a few minutes to demonstrate the correct method and slow them down to perform the drill correctly. Then you can crank things up again and start them off. Just keep it mixed up and your players will maintain better focus and listen to you.
Competitive Game-Like Drills For Your Players
In addition to fun drills and fundamental drills, you should also incorporate drills where players can use their skills in game-like situations against defenders. The article The Missing Link To Player Development explains this skill development philosophy in more detail.
If you would like to see more of these competitive skill drills, check out Sanderson's Gamed Based Training System.
More Tips for Running Drills and Practices
5 Tips to Run Your Basketball Drills More Effectively
10 Tips For Getting Your Basketball Team Focused, Motivated, And Playing Hard!
Dealing with Short Practice Time