Use Box Drills To Make Good Habits Part Of Your Court DNA

The basketball world recently lost a coaching legend. Although not widely known to the casual fan, Tate Lockes is a hallowed name among coaches (not to mention the inspiration for Nick Nolte's character in the movie "Blue Chips").

Beyond his on the court success, Locke was known as a great teacher. He was well-known for designing drills that coaches could use to build fundamentally sound players.

One series of drills that Coach Locke was known for are Box Drills. They have stood the test of time and are a staple of many elite programs and players to this day.

Box Drills are featured in Coach Nick LoGalbo's 12 Skill Development Practice Drills.

Add them to your routine and watch your footwork and finishing improve.

Box Drills for Improving Footwork, Finishing, and Coordination


diagram 1

Line up on the block with a ball. Toss the ball out towards the elbow area.

diagram 2

Chase your ball and catch it. Then execute the footwork prescribed.

After using your footwork to square to the rim, either shoot or attack the basket and finish.

If you're doing this with others, as soon as one player catches the ball, the next player can go.

Here are some of the moves Coach LoGalbo incorporates into his Box Drills series:

Drop step and attack

Front pivot, foot fake and shot

Front pivot, foot fake and rip opposite

Reverse pivot, sweep and go

Reverse pivot, jump shot

Reverse pivot, rip and go back same side

Perform each move 2-3x on each side. For the driving reps, vary the types of finishes you perform.

Simple "King of the Hill" Variations to Enhance Box Drills

Once you've mastered the Box Drill series without defense, add a defender! As with all drills, game application is critical.

Playing 1v1 is a great way to apply what you've been working on. Grab a teammate and get after it!

To do this, play King of the Hill:

diagram 3

Play with up to 3-4 players. The offensive player starts with the ball. They toss it out towards the elbow area.

diagram 1

On the toss, the offensive and defense players are released. When 1 catches the ball, it's live.

They must use the footwork and finishes drilled above to try to score.

Each player keeps their score. Play for a set period of time.

Make sure to play on both sides. Also make sure to use different pivots. This helps you build comfort and confidence playing off either pivot foot.

8 Reasons Why Box Drills Are So Effective

Coach LoGalbo covers a number of benefits of the Box Drill series. Among them are:

Improved footwork

Better at reading the defense

Cuts down on turnovers

Teaches getting north & south

Teaching reading angles

Helps get offensive paint touches

Helps players flow in your offense come game time

Adding a defender helps players get comfortable with the read and simply react come game time

Kobe Bryant + Coach LoGalbo: Why "DNA Drills" Like These Are Critical For Player Development

Coach LoGalbo talks about the importance of DNA drills.

He defines DNA drills as those drills that make your team and its player what they are.

As he points out, practice makes permanent. Thus, you have to consider what habits you want to build when you train.

Every player could benefit from having great footwork and finishing skills.

Box Drills ingrain those habits so come game time you are ready to perform.

Kobe Bryant famously said, "Why do you think I'm the best player in the world? Because I never got bored with the basics."

Fancy drills come and go, but great ones stand the test of time. There's a reason for that!

Box drills are one of those oldies but goodies. Start using them. Coach Locke would approve, and your coach will too!

Related Resources

12 Skill Development Practice Drills From Nick LoGalbo

Progressive Ball Handling & Footwork Workouts

Attack & Counter Skill Development System

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