2 Competitive Drills To Improve Passing For Youth Basketball Teams

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In the video clip from Bob Bigelow's Coaching Youth Basketball The Right Way, Bob demonstrates two great drills that you can use with your teams to improve passing.

Monkey In The Middle

Two players are on offense. One player in the middle is the monkey and is on defense.

Offensive players pass the ball back and forth. They use fakes to get the ball past the defender. No lob passes are allowed. Wait for the defender to recover to the offense before throwing the next pass.

When the defender tips a pass, the passer goes to be the monkey in the middle.

Bull In The Ring

Four to five players form a circle around a defender which is the bull in the ring.

Offensive players cannot pass the ball to the person next to them.

When the ball is tipped, the passer turns into the bull in the ring.

Related Pages and Helpful Resources:

Passing Fundamentals, Drills, & Tips
6 Tips to Improve Passing and Reduce Turnovers
A Little Known Secret to Improve Team Passing and Dramatically Reduce Turnovers
Steve Nash Passing Series Drill with Bob Bigelow

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


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12/1/2020 at 6:38:08 AM

piggy in the middle !!!!!!!


David Mirman says:
1/11/2013 at 1:54:17 AM

Steve, I just used that four corners monkey-in-the-middle drill today for my 6-7 year old boys team and it was great! Some of the boys started doing pass fakes spontaneously and I have not taught that to them yet. And I really like how it teaches them to move to get into a better position to receive a pass. When we did some half court scrimages at the end of practice they did a better job of moving to get open already. I highly recommend this drill to anyone coaching younger kids.


Steve says:
1/10/2013 at 11:15:50 AM

Yeah, I actually got it from soccer originally.


Pete says:
1/10/2013 at 10:20:01 AM

We use that same drill in soccer practice.


Joe Haefner says:
1/10/2013 at 10:18:48 AM

That's a great idea, Steve. Thanks for sharing.

We plan to include a few progressions that lead to more game-like situations in future newsletters.


Steve says:
1/10/2013 at 9:53:54 AM

Another variation on the monkey in the middle drill is to set up on a square with 3 corners occupied by the "offense" and 1 defender in the middle. The player with the ball can only pass to an adjacent corner, so his teammates will need to occupy the corners to his left and right. If he passes to his right, the person who was to his left will need to run to the open corner to give the new passer 2 options. The drill is relatively simple for young kids by only giving them 2 options but also requires some movement rather than many of these types of passing drills where the offensive players are stationary.


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