New Passing Drills - How I Beat Trapping Defenses

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These two drill variations from Don Kelbick's Motion Offense video will help you beat trapping defenses.

I really like to use this drill because it forces your players to practice passing out of traps.

In practice, I found that my guards knew the trap was coming. So they often dribbled to a spot on the floor that made it difficult to trap them or they would pass before the trap would be set.

Don't get me wrong. I think these are great habits to develop. However, it's unrealistic to think that your players will never get trapped during a game.

And what happens if they never have to truly pass out of trap during practice? Well, in a game, it can often result in turnovers.

This drill can help fix that issue for you.


In the first drill, the ball starts just past half court in the trap.

Before a jump shot can be taken, you must have three ball reversals.

However, you can shoot lay ups at any time.

The second drill is similar. However, you start with the ball in the corner.

3 Practice Tips For Passing Out Of Traps

Since it can be difficult to simulate game-like traps during practice, I like to do a few different things.

1 - Start possession or drill in a trap.

As seen above, you start the possession or drill stationary and in a trap. Another variation is to have your players purposely dribble into the trap and immediately pick up their dribble.

2 - Practice in full court controlled scrimmages.

By practicing a full court controlled scrimmage, your players still get to practice the good habits of avoiding trapping locations and finding open teammates before the trap can be set. Also, if they get caught in the trap, they get to practice passing out of the trap.

3 - Surprise traps during scrimmages.

Often during the scrimmage, I don't want the offense to know a trap is coming. I want to surprise them because this is similar to what might happen during a game. I will communicate with the defense about possible surprise traps.

Here are some ideas for implementing surprise traps

  • Trap after every dead ball.
  • Trap after the first pass.
  • Trap after you score.
  • Trap after a foul.
  • Trap when "Jimmy" or "Sarah" catches the ball.
  • Trap on a signal or verbal command.

However, you have to be clever. For example, if the offense hears you give a verbal command or sees you give a signal, they might quickly figure out that something is coming.

So you might use verbal or signal decoys.

For example, let's say that you trap whenever you say the color red. However, you might randomly call other colors and numbers to keep the offense off guard.

You might even mix up the tactics during the controlled scrimmage. You might start with a color. Then later on, you might trap every time you say any number in the 20s.

You might only trap after dead balls at first. Then halfway through, you switch to trapping after you score.

Well, we hope that these tips help you reduce turnovers and ultimately have a better offense. Let us know if you have any questions or ideas that might help.

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


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Chris says:
12/29/2016 at 12:05:21 PM

The one issue I see with this drill is that the outlet player is always open and no one is trying to steal the first pass making the pass out of the trap easy.

  1 reply  

Mike says:
12/29/2016 at 7:34:54 PM

I agree, Chris. That was my criticism, but I would rotate a defensive player to pick the outlet player or player at the top of the key and vary their tactics to make this more realistic. Otherwise, I think it's great for kids to work through.

  1 reply  

Chris says:
12/30/2016 at 8:58:45 PM

Thanks Mike, I just did this drill at practice doing the rotation that you suggested and it worked pretty well. The biggest thing was to get the players to realize that they don't need to panic and that help is coming eventually.


Anthony says:
12/29/2016 at 10:08:04 PM

Great drill. We need to work against those traps. Too many turn overs for us.


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