Ultimate Passing

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This fun drill improves passing, spacing, footwork, decision making, cutting and moving without the ball.
In this drill, you can play 3on3, 4on4, 5on5, or 6on6.  In this example we'll play 5on5. No player is allowed to dribble or run with the ball. A player can only catch a pass, pivot with the ball and make a pass. The ball is not allowed to hit the floor. Any time the ball touches the floor, it is a turnover and the ball changes possession.
Frame 1
The goal is to pass the ball up the court past the opposite baseline. This counts as one point. Once the ball has crossed the baseline, the ball changes possession. The defense becomes offense and must try to pass the ball across the other baseline. 
Frame 2
Drill Variations
  • Change the goal from passing the end-line to scoring a basket.
  • Allow one player to dribble (ex: point guard) until first pass is made.
  • Allow bounce passes and coach calls out turnovers.
  • No screens allowed (cuts only)
  • Screens allowed
  • Must screen after every pass
  • Specify types of passes allowed (ex: overhead passes only -- or no baseball passes allowed)
Coaching / Teaching Points
  • Meet your pass
  • Maintain good spacing
  • Move to get open -- change speeds and change directions
  • Screening concepts
  • Use your pivot to protect the ball and improving passing angles
  • Rip the ball high and low to protect from defender
  • Triple threat concepts
  • Pass away from defense
  • Look for ball reversals
  • Keep your eyes up
  • Make the easy pass
Related Resources 21 Passing Drills for Coaches


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PlaymakerMo says:
10/16/2015 at 12:17:20 AM

I used this drill periodically throughout the year for a group of 9-11 year olds. 5-10mins every couple of practices was enough to see a massive improvement. We mostly played 3v2 or 3v3 one-way to increase the number of touches and reps, but with smaller groups I loved running it both ways (i.e. transitioning from off-def/def-off).

For this age group, not being able to dribble made scoring down the opposite end very difficult for them, so we just played to the opposite baseline. I called it the 'Touchdown Drill', and the players loved getting the ball to the other end and yelling "TOUCHDOWN!". I didn't explicitly instruct them to do this, but it was a simple, great way to keep them engaged.

Once the defenders started getting smarter and smothering the offense on-ball and in the passing lanes we added a 2-3 dribble maximum which helped make it a little more game-like for both sides.

Their ability to pivot to see the floor and find passing angles, make decisions, and of course pass really improved. Most notably: the casual travels from lifting the pivot foot - a very bad habit - almost completely vanished from the start to end of year.

This is a fantastic small-sided game to improve fundamentals - especially for youth players. I highly recommend it.

  1 person liked this.  

Guinness Rider says:
10/15/2015 at 8:06:46 AM

We play this every practice, along with Exchange and 5-pass. The 7-8 year old beginners love it, getting more athletic, and developing an amazing sense of spatial awareness and cutting after only 4 weeks.

Canada Basketball Coaches Schepp and Mackay are brilliant, I encourage all coaches and parents to check out their full videos.

  1 reply  

Coach Laurence J. MacDonald says:
10/15/2015 at 10:47:37 PM

I was instrumental in helping develop the Ontario Basketball Association. Following that, I coached Pro basketball in many asian countries. this after coaching High School and college in both Canada and the US. I now am retired in China but still involved in the game. Would love to see some of the videos..as I work with many many middle school players. My training in Canada was wonderful...I learned from coaches such as Bob Bain, Olynik, tim Darling, Billy Pangos and Bob Delany...I am certified to Level three as both an instructor and a coach. Canada has a great system...Coach Mac


Austin Basketball Trainer says:
5/12/2015 at 8:14:38 AM

We used this drill last night in our training then went to 3 on 3 full court re-emphasizing the same principles. Very fun...and very productive.


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