5 Drills To Improve Ball Security - Advanced Sweep Stick Progression
Drill Purpose This progression is for older, more advanced players, and demonstrates how to use the sweep stick correctly. The sweep stick helps your players learn how to rip through low and quick.  It helps players learn to protect the ball, step through, and drive past defenders to get to the rim.
Instructions Drill 1: Stationary Sweep on Demand. The flags on the right demonstrate sweep sticks. The ball should go half way through the sweep stick, keeping the ball about 6 inches off the floor as you sweep through. Coach yells, "Sweep!" Players will then sweep the ball from the left hip to the right hip and hold it.
Frame 1
Drill 2: Stationary Sweep to Pound - Direct Step (Open) The players will start in triple threat position. Coach yells "Sweep!" The players sweep through just like step 1. Then when Coach yells "Pound!" the players take one dribble and step with their Open Step also known as their Strong-Side Step, which is with their dominant foot.  The ball and their foot should hit the floor at the same time. Coaches should then progress to one command.  Now when the coach yells "Sweep!" the players will combine the sweep and the pound with their Open Step.
Frame 2
Drill3: Stationary Sweep and Pound - Step through (Closed) The players again will start in triple threat position. Coach yells "Sweep!" The players sweep through just like step 1. Then when Coach yells "Pound!" the players take one dribble and step with their Closed Step also known as their Crossover Step, which is with their non-dominant foot. The ball and their foot should hit the floor at the same time. Coaches should then progress to one command.  Now when the coach yells "Sweep!" the players will combine the sweep and the pound with their Closed Step.
Frame 3
Drill 4: Sweep and Attack Dribble The players start in triple threat position.  Coach yells "Sweep!" The players sweep through, use an open step, then push dribble three times  Players go back to the baseline, Coach yells "Sweep!" The players sweep through, use a closed step, then push dribble three times Be sure to have your players get reps in on both the right and left hand.
Frame 4
Drill 5: Sweep to Attack the Rim Player 1 is staying low, using the sweep, and attacking the rim while finishing with one dribble. After attacking the rim, player 1 goes over to where player 2 started. Player 2 is working on skill development on the other side of the floor. The coach tells the players a specific skill he or she wants them to practice, like between the legs, behind the back, etc...  Player 2 then goes to where Player 1 started. The cones are spaced roughly three feet apart, emphasize players getting their feet set before they get to the cones.  A lot of players will try to rush through and that could create bad traveling habits.
Frame 5
Points of Emphasis Continually tell your players to...
  • Sweep the ball in a U shape.
  • Get their feet set before attacking from the sweep stick.  
  • Depending on their age, challenge players to get to the rim in one dribble. Younger players might need two dribbles, but stress the importance of being able to get to the rim in one dribble.
  • Align Sweep Sticks on a line so players work to attack back to the line.
  • Players must get their feet set before attacking the Sweep Stick or cone.
  • Challenge your players to stay low, and get their chest to the floor.
Learn More About the Sweep Stick





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Scott von Stade says:
5/30/2015 at 12:34:48 PM

Great pace and demonstration. Love the focus claps and explanations. For coaches with limited movement, use a player to be lead demonstrator.

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John says:
5/30/2015 at 4:42:34 PM

Good fundamental drills from the triple threat position. And I agree, good way to get kids to have control of the ball as well as avoid traveling.
But I would like to add one thing.... After the 'Sweep & Attack Dribble' and the 'Sweep to Attack the Rim' drills, I would remind the players to place the ball out in front of them if they beat their man so as not to allow the defender to poke at the ball from behind. In other words, use the body to protect the ball from the defender as you attack. This is a good tip for young players as they develop in their skills.

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Joe Haefner says:
6/1/2015 at 8:24:16 AM

Absolutely. Great point, John.

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Coburn says:
1/26/2017 at 1:15:13 AM

So often I see coaches - who played as guards - make the assumption that good practice for ball handlers at the perimeter, or in broken play can apply equally to tall players operating near the post in congested play. In the junior ranks, having tall post players, who having received the ball at high or low post, then attempt to "face up" meaning they drop the hands and attempt to assume triple threat position is an invitation for quality small defenders to strip the ball. I see this again and again and again. I know that triple threat has been the fashion for some years but asking a big player operating in congestion at a post position to "face up" and "triple threat" is an invitation to guards to dislodge the ball. Happy to be proven wrong

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