3-on-3 No-Dribble Keep Away

Purpose of the Drill

This drill provides a fun way to teach kids to move without the ball to get open for a pass and provides a context for developing an understanding of effective spacing. For the passer, it provides practice in pivoting and protecting the ball from a defender. Obviously, it helps kids overcome dribble mania and to see the court.


No Dribble 1
  1. The team on offense keeps the ball for two minutes, which is one round. Depending on the age range, you might consider finding a fun piece of music that lasts about two minutes to make the drill more engaging.

  2. The team with the ball gets one point every time they complete a pass to a teammate.

  3. There has to be a pass every five seconds. If the team does not pass within the five seconds, they lose a point and the counting starts over. They can get negative points, but this isn't likely (In fact, if this is happening, you should stop the drill and teach the prerequisite cutting skills more thoroughly). The coach will count each five second sequence out loud.

  4. A steal taking more than five seconds to pass, dribbling, or a pass that goes out of bounds erases a point, but the 'offense' gets the ball back for the remainder of the round.

  5. After one round, the offense and defense change roles and you play round two.

  6. Play for two or three complete cycles and provide the kids with positive rewards for their total completed passes. For instance, you could give kids some skittles or the like.

  7. Feel free to adjust the time parameters to suit the age and abilities of your kids.
Points of Emphasis:

  • Teach kids simple pivoting principles before turning them loose in this drill.
  • Teach kids how to v-cut and backdoor cut.
  • As the skill level of the kids advance, introduce screens away from the ball to free cutters.
  • Provide defenders with the basics of defending the passing lanes effectively. This is a foundational drill for denial defensive techniques.

You can find over 60 youth drills in Jim Huber's The Youth Coaching System.


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Not a zone fan says:
1/30/2018 at 3:37:03 PM

We have used this with 4th grade girls. They have trouble recognizing passing opportunities quickly enough. This has helped. It has also helped to get them to use the pivot in different directions. Although not mentioned it has also helped improve defensive girl to girl skills. We only play girl to girl and often lose to teams that compact their tall statues in a zone in the the lane forcing 15 ft shots. Finally although full court press is limited in our league it is allowed the latter part of game if the score is within 15 points. This drill has in effect become a press drill which in our case is pretty much full court girl to girl. The resulting chaos has helped us be competitive against almost all of the other teams in the league that have multiple tall girls that camp out in the lane and collect baskets. Fewer teams have girls of any size that can handle the ball when pressed. Spare me negative comments about full court press if you do not also oppose zone defenses for grades K thru 6.


Evan Worthing says:
12/15/2016 at 10:06:03 AM

I used a similar game with my 2nd-3rd graders but with uneven numbers to make it easier. I have 2 players that have a far better understanding of the game and are more talented. I put the 2 of them against 4 and made it a full court game to spread them out. You could do 3 on 5. The larger team always had an open man, they just had to find him.


Ben Sheppard says:
2/4/2016 at 12:23:35 PM

I used this with my 6-7 year old boys team. It was hard to get to understand, but once they caught on it was highly effective.


Ken Sartini says:
9/6/2014 at 9:57:08 AM

We ran a simlar game called "50" Make up your own rules... 2 point shot, 3 point shot, lay ups, passes, rebounds etc.


Mike says:
9/5/2014 at 11:48:39 PM

I use a similar drill called 50 passes.

A steal results in the defensive team getting posession. No dribbling and the only time the ball can hit the floor is on a bounce pass. At any other time, a ball on the floor is a turnover.

The first team to fifty passes wins.

Make sure you have your defense play proper defense. Hands up, no slapping, etc.

We tell the defense to treat it like a game or it turns into a slap fest.

If you have to, call fouls and award/subtract points, etc.


Ken Sartini says:
11/20/2013 at 8:37:38 AM

Chris -

Here is another twist to that game...

with 5 players, game is to 6 & everyone must score before any player can hit the game winner.

Might work better for the older kids but it works well, gets everyone involved.


Chris Kremski says:
11/20/2013 at 8:27:28 AM

I use a minimum of 5 passes before a shot at practice with my 1st and 2nd grade team. and the 3rd and 4th grade team I tell them everyone must get a pass before they can shoot.


dimeji says:
2/14/2013 at 5:51:31 AM

please what are the passing lanes?


Joe Haefner says:
12/13/2012 at 11:57:13 AM

Thanks for the drill, Mike!

Here is another great drill to teach how to use footwork to create space:



Mike says:
12/11/2012 at 11:54:47 AM

I have 3rd grade team and developed this drill: I have 5 pieces of rope 15 ft. long and put them in circles around the lane where each position is to show spacing. Offensive players cant leave their circle and cant dribble. They must pass in 2-3 seconds to another player. Start with 2 defensive players who are allowed to go anywhere to try to steal the ball, then put 3 players on defense. I make it fun by yelling "shoot" after 4-5 passes to whoever has the ball. Encourage offensive players to move around in their circle and pivot if a def player is on them. Also, teach them to fake pass one way and pass the other way.My kids love it everytime we play.


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