These 1v1 Drills Create Better Passing!?

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When it comes to developing individual offense, 1v1 drills should be a vital component of your skill development. I believe that 1v1 drills should be included in almost every single practice.

In the past, we've talked ad naseum on the core reasons why you should use 1v1 drills. Here's a brief review for those new to our website and newsletter:

  • The player is forced to improve their individual offense skills (shooting, footwork, finishing, dribbling).

    They can't pass. They can't avoid the situation. They are in isolation. Teams that have more players that can shoot, execute proper footwork, score at the basket, and handle the ball tend to do well.

  • The player develops an attacking mindset.

    Even the timid players who might normally pass in a 2v2, 3v3, 4v4, or 5v5 situation are forced to attack. From my experience, skilled players with an aggressive mindset tend to do well, and so do the teams.

  • Decision-making is improved.

    When you practice 1v0 drills, a game-like decision is not made. With 1v1 drills, you have a decision to make, shoot or drive. You also get accustomed to sensing space and knowing when you get a high percentage shot off.

  • It's a fun way to get better.

    Players like to do these drills. Motivated players tend to engage on every repetition which leads to quicker and more improvement. Simple enough.

It's also important to make sure the 1v1 drills are game like with shot clocks, dribble limits, and usually replicate game-like situations to create good habits.

But there is no passing!?!

In the past, I've received some criticism for the emphasis on 1v1 drills. This includes statements like...

    I don't like 1v1 drills. It doesn't include passing! Every decision on the game includes an option to pass.

    It doesn't include help defense. You have to learn how to score and pass against help defense.

    These drills create ball hogs!

First off, I've never had these issues. Of course, I've had to address some individual issues, but every team does.

Second, I didn't say to abandon 2v2 drills, 3v3 drills, and other small-sided games. 1v1 drills are just a piece of the pie.

You should still do plenty of drills that emphasize passing which includes drills that do not allow dribbles.

You can also take these 1v1 drills and add offensive players and defensive players as a progression. Now, you create the same situation with help defense and passing options in 2v2, 3v3, and other formats.

In fact, I believe 1v1 drills create better passers!

Why 1v1 Drills Create Better Passing

It makes them better at passing!? Yes. You read that right. Even though there is no passing involved in the drill, it makes your team's passing better.

Think about it... if you have a player with the confidence and skill set to score in 1v1 situations, the defense has to commit to stopping that player. This goes for both the defender on the ball and the help defense.

The defender guarding the ball has to focus on defending the player's shot, stopping the player from driving to the basket, and contesting shots at the basket. If the defender's concentration is on that, they are less likely to position themselves to deflect passes.

The same goes for the help defense. Rather than stunting/faking and sliding back into the passing lanes, they have to commit to stopping the offensive player. Due to the help defense's position, the passing lanes to open teammates get bigger.

Fewer defenders in the passing lanes and bigger passing lanes result in fewer turnovers. Thus, you have better passing.

In contrast, if you have timid players or players that have not developed a 1v1 skill set, defenders can more easily play the passing lanes. This results in more turnovers.

5 Examples Of 1v1 Drills:

To help with understanding, here are a few examples below of 1v1 drills below.

1v1 Finishing - Inside Hip

1v1 Foster Drill

1v1 Multi-Spot Drill

1v1 Overlap Drill

1v1 Shooting Drill - Curl or Fades

If you haven't already implemented 1v1 drills into your practice, hopefully, this helps you decide if you want to add them into your practice.

If you already use 1v1 drills, hopefully, the information and drills provided give you some ideas for drills and even new ideas for practice.

Basketball Camps and Videos with These Drills

If you believe in this concept of developing skills that apply directly to the game, our Breakthrough Basketball Camps include many 1v1, 2v2, and other small-sided games that complement skill drills against no defenders.

If you're looking for a video with tons of great 1v1, 2v1, 1v2, and 2v2 drills, check out Nate Sanderson's Game-Based Training System with Drills for 2 to 4 Players.

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


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