Passing Drill: Find the Open Man

Drill Purpose (All Ages)

This is a fun passing drill that will improve passing accuracy, reduce turnovers, stimulate quick thinking, and help players anticipate their opponent's actions.


findopenman1 (5K)
  1. Divide your team up into two groups and line them up in three opposing rows.

  2. The player in the first column must pass the ball to a teammate in the next column. The ball may be passed to the player either straight across or diagonal from them.

  3. The opposing player in the middle will guard a player and try to block or intercept the pass.

  4. The ball may not be held on to for more than two seconds.

findopenman2 (5K)
  1. Once the ball is caught, they must turn and pass the ball to a teammate in the column behind them.

  2. The goal is to get the ball from one end of the court to the other, without committing a turnover. It's considered a turnover if the ball is held for more than two seconds.
Points of Emphasis

Continually tell your players...

  • Use pass fakes!
  • Use your pivot to create space between you and your defender.
  • Make accurate passes.
  • Pass away from the defender.

Motivation / Teaching Tips

Tip #1 - Call out different types of passes that they are required to make (bounce, chest, one-hand step through, etc). You'll find that most players tend to stick with one or two types of passes. By calling out different types of passing, you force them to improve all types of passing skills.

Tip #2 - Add competition to the drill by timing how long it takes to get the ball to the other end. See which team can do it the quickest without committing a turnover.

Do you have any suggestions for this drill? Let us know by leaving your comments and questions...


Most Likes First   Oldest First   Newest First

Gus Garcia says:
5/13/2014 at 1:33:14 PM

how much apart the need to be from one onather?


Peter says:
9/19/2013 at 8:26:40 AM

Hi, Sorry I must be a little stupid. does this drill mean that each group consists of ten players.
What I mean, is that 5 players are on the base line and 5 opposite. Or does it mean that there are only five in a group and they move along the base and opposite side themselves trying to get to the end. Thanks a million
Great website


dr.wisam says:
10/8/2011 at 8:33:52 AM

i hope drill better than


Coach Jim says:
3/24/2011 at 1:17:51 AM

According to the rules wouldnt be ok to pass the ball just straight down the line or is it once you pass to a player next to you you then have to pass it across.? #5 is confusing, because a plaer next to you would be defendable unless the defender can move? Please help.


Red Auerbach says:
3/22/2011 at 5:28:15 PM

This is an awesome drill i use it all the time


Joe Haefner says:
12/10/2008 at 1:16:13 PM

As long as the court is wide enough, it really wouldn't matter, because only 1 defender can defend the next pass which is the defender that is asigned to the column. For example, in the first diagram, Triangle 1 is the defender and he's defending the pass made to one of the players in the next column.

The receivers are standing still.

"Pass behind them" might worded funny. It means pass to the one of the two players in the line next to them.


Scott P says:
12/10/2008 at 9:48:58 AM

Wouldn''t it be better to have 4 defenders rather than 5? Makes defenders work harder, and gives a bit more passing opportunity for passers (especially young ones) to find the opening, especially if they are restricted to a simple pivot.

I assume that the receivers are standing still as well or are they cutting?

In step 5 you say "Once the ball is caught, they must turn and pass the ball to a teammate in the column behind them." Don''t you mean "... they must hand the ball the a teammate standing next to them."?? I''m not sure I''m understanding that step.

Thanks! Great site - great advice for us newbie coaches.


Joe Haefner says:
7/20/2008 at 9:55:45 AM


You are correct. There is no dribbling allowed.


Chuck says:
7/19/2008 at 3:21:32 PM

There is no dribbling allowed ... correct?


Marlon says:
11/24/2007 at 9:28:14 AM

A nice creative drill that makes practice fun.


Show More

Leave a Comment
Email (not published)
Two times two is equal to?  (Prevents Spam)
 Load New Question
Leave this Blank
    Check this box to receive an email notification when someone else comments on this page.