Basketball Dribbling Drill for Fast Break and Off-Season
While a fast break in basketball may look like an unorganized play, teams that fast break efficiently are ones who follow a disciplined set of rules. Those rules include staying in the proper lanes, finding guards on outlet passes and knowing when to pass the ball.
One way to teach these skills to players is through the 11-man drill. The drill, which requires a minimum of 11 players, works on all these aspects of the fast break along with providing the team with a chance for conditioning due to its fast paced nature.
Setting up the 11-man fast break drill
The set up of the 11-man fast break drill starts with two players in one key and two players in the other key. They will serve as defenders to start the drill.
Three players should be lined up along the center court line spread out. Before the drill, players should be instructed to visualize the court cut into thirds. Since the drill will always have three players on offense and two on defense, those will serve as the lanes for running the fast break.
The remaining four players will be divided up, each standing off the court even with the free throw line. They will be the players receiving the outlet pass.
Putting the 11-man fast break drill into motion
The drill starts with the three offensive players at midcourt, taking the ball and going on offense against one set of the two defenders in the key. The offensive players can dribble, pass or shoot just like it was a regular fast break.
Once a shot goes up and the defense gets the ball either through a rebound or grabbing the ball through the net, the player with the ball outlets to one of the outlet players near the sideline.
The player who rebounded the ball will then transfer to offense while the other defender will remain on defense along with the player that took the shot. The two other offensive players will take the spots of the two outlet players.
The player who rebounded the ball will fill one of the two outside lanes depending on which outlet player is leading the break. This is an area where coaches can modify the drill. Either the fast break leader can be anyone who gets the ball, or the fast break leader must be a guard. However the coach decides to set up the drill will affect the player that rebounded the ball. That player must fill the side that is vacated by the fast break leader.
This “second” fast break is more like a regular fast break with players transitioning from defense to offense and having to hustle up the floor.
Just like on the other end, the offensive group attempts to score by dribbling, passing or shooting. The defender who gets the rebound will outlet the ball and fill the lane just like the rebounder on the other end of the court did.
The shooter will stay on defense along with the non-rebounding defender, while the other two offensive players move to the outside to become the outlet players.
The drill continues like that until the coach calls for it to halt.
Modifying the 11-man fast break drill
One way to speed up the drill and try to get players to work with more efficiency is to limit the number of passes an offensive team can make.
Since most fast breaks work best with one or two passes on the offensive end, limiting the offensive team to two or three passes will force the offense to find shots quickly.
Also, limiting the number of passes keeps the drill moving giving players less time to rest if the drill is doubling as a way to condition players.
Who should run the 11-man fast break drill
Fast breaks are a part of basketball and even teams that run slow down offenses can at times find themselves on fast breaks.
Teams that run high-tempo offense or a secondary fast break type offense will definitely find a need to run the 11-man fast break drill.
But for other teams, the great thing about the 11-man fast break drill is that it not only teaches teams how to fast break, it teaches teams how to defend against the fast break. By putting players in a situation where they outnumbered, they start to read passing lanes and get a feel for tendencies players have when passing making them better all around defenders.
When the basketball season ends, athletes look forward to the spring and usually for most high school students a different sport including online betting. There obviously is nothing wrong with that as participating in other disciplines keeps athletes fit and limber.
But for the basketball player, the danger lies in forgetting to handle a ball until next November when practice begins.
All of us have what is called muscle memory. Our muscles are able to “remember” repeated movements and most professional athletes have perfected the muscle memory needed for their sport. Think Tiger Woods spending hours on the driving range or a place kicker putting up field goal try after field goal try in warm up.
Basketball is no different. Without picking up a basketball in the off season, the muscles used to execute these skills will lose their memory. That is why many players when practice rolls around find it a slow going process and find they do not have the refined skills they had at the end of last season.
But by instituting a few simple ball handling drills into their summer vacation, athletes can help retain that muscle memory and build on last season rather than starting over.
Around the World Drill
One of the basic tenets of ball handling is simply being able to control the ball while moving at a high speed. The around the world drill, teaches players to hold on to the ball in an unstable situation.
Stand with your feet shoulders width apart. Start by circling the ball around your head. Keep the ball moving around your body as you move it around your waist and then your knees. Keep raising and lowering the ball up and down your body, keeping your eyes forward as you circle the ball.
After a minute of circling the ball in one direction, stop and circle the ball around your body in the opposite direction but still moving up and down your body.
Figure Eight Drill
Another great way to increase ball-handling skills is with the figure eight drill. Put your feet more than shoulder with apart and bend at the waist.
Put the ball through the front of your legs with one hand, catching the ball behind the legs with your other hand. Wrap the ball around the leg on the same side that of the hand that you caught the ball with (i.e. if you caught the ball with your left hand, wrap the ball around the outside of your left leg). Then send the ball through the front of the legs again catching the ball with the opposite hand.
Keep your eyes up and again try to do it for a minute or so and then switch directions. Variations of the figure eight drill include dribbling the ball through your legs or bouncing the ball from hand to hand.
The Ladder Drill
The Ladder drill may be one of the more underrated drills in basketball. The drill will benefit any player from guards to post players.
The drill focuses on developing nimbleness in your fingers and teaches you to keep the ball on your fingertips. Whether you are dribbling, rebounding or shooting, the basketball should always be on your fingertips and never touching the palm of the hand.
For the Ladder, stand with the ball out in front of you and your arms complete extended. Quickly pass the ball back and forth from hand to hand keeping it on your fingertips.
As you pass the ball back and forth, raise and lower your arms so that you have the ball over your head and then bring it all the way down so that it nearly touches the ground.
Like the other drills, try to do this drill without watching the ball and see if you can do it for a minute or so. As you get better at the ladder drill, you can move the ball back and forth on your fingertips faster and faster.