Become a Better Basketball Playmaker With These Practice Drills

These drills will help you see the floor better and become a better playmaker.

The ability to read defenders and quickly make plays is a universal skill set for basketball. Players at every position on the floor need to work on developing this skill. Top players can read defenders instantly, recognize the right play and execute within seconds.

The following basketball workout, which I call the Playmakers Program, focuses on breaking down plays to hone your playmaking instincts.

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Jump Rope Warm-Up Circuit

Equipment required: Jump rope and stopwatch

Perform each sequence for 30 seconds, transitioning to the next one with no rest. Rest for three minutes and repeat

  • Two feet - Quick Hops
  • Alternating Feet - High Knees
  • Alternating Feet - Quick Hops
  • Two Feet - Double

Skillwork - Attack Lines

Attack Lines

Equipment required: 4 cones and a basketball

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How to:

  • Player begins at half court with the basketball.
  • To begin, push the ball out and speed dribble to cone 1.
  • At the cone, transition your stance and rotate 90 degrees from a forward attack to a pressure protection stance (shoulders facing the sideline, inside clip hand up, dribbling with outside hand, chin on your inside shoulder, eyes facing the baseline and scanning the floor.)
  • Perform the specified move progression and repeat at each cone until you get past cone 4.
  • Speed dribble back to cone 1. Repeat three more times.
  • Perform each move progression 4 times with each hand before moving on to the next move progression.

Progressions

  1. 2 retreat dribbles backwards and dribble to the next cone.
  2. 1 retreat dribble backwards, in and out move, and dribble to the next cone.
  3. 1 retreat dribble backwards,double crossover, and dribble to the next cone.
  4. 1 retreat dribble backwards, crossover, between the legs, and dribble to the next cone.

Coaching Points:

  • Stay low and maintain balance in pressure protection.
  • Keep your eyes up and maintain floor vision.
  • Dribble the ball with force and keep it in your pocket.

Skillwork - High Ball Screen and Flip the Screen Scoring Options

High Ball Screen

Equipment required: 2 cones and a basketball

Focus: Simulating the scoring reads off a screen flip

How to:

  • Player begins at half court with the basketball.
  • To begin, dribble to the first cone under control and make a move to sell like you're going off the first screen, then counter with a quick change of direction and attack off the second cone into the paint.

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Shot progressions:

  1. Pull-up jumper at spot #1 (on-ball defender is hit by the screen and late to recover).
  2. Step-back jumper at spot #2 (on-ball defender is hit by the screen but is able to recover to your inside hip / strong wing defender is attached to shooter who lifts).
  3. Runner at spot #3 (on-ball defender is hit by the screen and can't recover / low big is late on rotation to protection).
  4. Finish at the rim at spot #4 (on-ball defender is hit by the screen and can't recover / low big is late on rotation to protection).
  5. Shoot 8 shots at each spot, per side.

Coaching points:

  • Sell the first screen and keep the change of direction quick and controlled
  • Change speeds and get your eyes to the rim early in the attack.

Game Action - High Ball Screen Attack and Flip The Screen Passing Options With Relocation

High Ball Screen Passing Options

Equipment required: one screener, one passer, two basketballs

Focus: Simulating passing options out off a screen flip

How to:

  • Player begins at half court with a basketball.
  • Dribble to the first cone under control and make a move to sell like you're going off the first screen, then counter with a quick change of direction and attack off the second cone into the paint.

Passing progressions:

  1. Pocket pass to big rolling / relocate to corner for catch and shoot 3-pointer from passer.
  2. Lob pass at rim to big rolling / relocate to corner for rip, 1 dribble baseline pull up jumper from passer.
  3. Pitch back to strong side wing filling behind / relocate outside 3-point line for rip, 1 dribble middle pull-up jumper from passer.
  4. Kick pass to strong side short corner / relocate to weak side corner for catch-and-shoot 3-pointer from passer
  5. Perform 4 repetitions per progression, per side.

Coaching Points:

  • Relocate and be in a ready position with balance and control.
  • Prepare for the shot with your hands up in your shot pocket.

Finisher - Free Throws

  • Shoot 10 free throws
  • You must make 5 perfect shots (all net or back rim only) out of 10 to end the workout.


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock

Topics: BASKETBALL TRAINING | BASKETBALL DRILLS