3 Competitive Dribble Penetration Shooting Drills That Improve Spacing, Ball Handling, Passing, and Team Offense

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You just made a great move to blow by your defender on the perimeter. But as soon as you get near the lane, you have a swarm of defenders. Obviously, you should pass the ball!

But what if no one is open because nobody moved to an open spot and youíre in a terrible offensive position. A great move results in a poor outcome due to lack of understanding. And itís something thatís relatively easy to fix.

The first thing we do is cover our dribble penetration rules. Ours are quite simple:

  1. Move to an open spot. Sometimes, this requires no movement at all.
  2. If youíre overplayed, go backdoor.

Next, we incorporate some shooting drills that practice these dribble penetration situations and offer some options for the playerís off the ball.

And once the offense has built confidence in the dribble penetration situations, you can start to incorporate game-like situations with competitive skill-building drills.

If youíve been following Breakthrough for awhile, youíll know that weíre huge fans of competitive skill-building drills because you develop multi-threat scorers and everybody is forced to game-like touches in the particular situation you trying to practice which rarely occurs in scrimmages.

Below is a series of dribble penetration shooting drills that you can use to improve shooting, passing, spacing, and movement off the ball.

Dribble Penetration Shooting Drill #1 - Wing Movements

For simplicity reasons, we will just look at the situation where the ball handler attacks the middle of the floor and another offensive player is positioned on the wing. We will present you different options to attack from the wing position.

In this situation, I would teach 4 options for attacking the defense:

  1. Stay
  2. Curl Up
  3. Fade Down
  4. Backdoor

The diagram to the right simulates a situation where 1's defender steps UP to stop dribble penetration. Most coaches would tell you the best option is to fade to the corner or go backdoor in order to keep proper spacing.

I teach differently because I believe you present the different options and you let the player choose. I want you to do the movement where you have the highest amount of confidence because I believe the overall results will tend to be better and that doesn't always result in "PROPER" spacing. At the same time, if a player keeps making a choice that ends in a poor result, we will suggest they do something different. However, these philosophies would require more in-depth conversations.

Also, the "wrong" read of curl up in this situation allowed me to assist a teammate in 6 straight 3-pointers during the 2nd half of a game.

Option 1: Stay

4 makes dribble move at first cone, comes to a quick stop at second cone.

As 4 reaches 2nd cone, 4 passes to 1 who STAYed on the wing.

Option 2: Curl Up

As 4 reaches 2nd cone, 4 passes to 1 who CURLed UP to the top.

Option 3: Fade Down

As 4 reaches 2nd cone, 4 passes to 1 who FADEd DOWN to the corner.

Option 4: Backdoor

As 4 reaches 2nd cone, 4 passes to 1 who cut BACKDOOR to the basket.

On this drill, you'll want fake high, then pass low to simulate what would happen in a game. Or if you have elite athletes, you could work on lob passes.

Points of Emphasis

Passer uses outside hand - In these diagrams, player would pass with right hand. On left side of the floor, player would pass with left hand.

Fake opposite before cutting - It is good to form a habit of faking opposite before cutting as this will take your defender out of position to open up the cut. However, it may not always be needed in this situation.

Cut at full speed - This helps you create separation from the defense.

Hands and feet ready - Stick your feet with hands up where you want the pass, so you can get the shot off as quickly as possible.

Dribble Penetration Shooting Drill #2 - 2 on 1

Now to get some reps with the game-like situations, you can add a defender to incorporate decision-making and increase difficulty.

4 makes the dribble move and looks to score.

There is one pass limit.

Dribble Penetration Shooting Drill #3 - 2 on 1 with Chaser

This is the same as the situation before, except now you add a chaser.

There is a two pass limit.

You can also add dribble limits if you would like.

As I was writing up this drill I thought of adding multiple chasers from different positions to elevate the difficulty even more. I have not done this yet so this may completely bomb. Let me know how it goes if you try it.


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#Mynamejeff says:
3/27/2019 at 6:48:58 PM

I think these drills will help my old domestic team with shooting ,passing and defence. So thank you for the help.


charlie says:
4/1/2017 at 4:19:44 AM

It would appear that adding that second chaser forces the wing player to have to decide which move he needs in order to get the ball.


CR says:
11/3/2013 at 3:08:25 PM

Thanks for the drill. In the 2 v 1 series is x2 intended to be the defender of the wing player (1) who has presumably helped on dribble penetration by 4? If so, does he (x2) start on the elbow (as in your diagram) or in ball denial position against wing player (1) as would be the case in a real game? Please advise. Thanks.


John says:
8/29/2013 at 8:55:03 AM

Correct option relative to my rules: fade! Create furthest close out possible & pass where help comes from! Hope this helps simplify reaction process.


John says:
8/29/2013 at 8:55:02 AM

Correct option relative to my rules: fade! Create furthest close out possible & pass where help comes from! Hope this helps simplify reaction process.


John says:
8/29/2013 at 8:55:02 AM

Correct option relative to my rules: fade! Create furthest close out possible & pass where help comes from! Hope this helps simplify reaction process.


Thissa says:
8/29/2013 at 5:58:07 AM

I'm glad that coaches like you look to develope the Game, there are many coaches that look to develope there own HIP pocket with personal 1on1 coaching clinics etc... I'm a Coaching in Melbourne, Australia and many here are all about that..

Thank you for these tips, i think the competitive side of these drills can only speed up the learning process..

Thanks again


ugyen says:
8/9/2013 at 12:01:20 AM

The drill is super perfect in which i need to make the players work a little harder as they lack co-ordination. Thanks.

Now, i would like to request what advice would you have on the diet program for the mountain terrain areas?


Krystal S says:
7/24/2013 at 11:03:31 PM

I like the idea of adding multiple chasers to the 3rd drill. I feel like it would simulate a fast break situation better (defender sprinting back from the opposite wing or the different positions from transition). It could also simulate help and teach players to start reading help defense/other defenders on the court that may be scrambling to pick them up.


Troy Culley says:
7/24/2013 at 5:42:34 AM

Love the look of these drills especially the progression adding in the extra defenders, will give it a go at the next practice I have and let you know how we get on.


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