Basketball speed drills for offense are difficult to put together. One of the most challenging aspects of coaching basketball is teaching the concept of awareness on offense. Young players understand they need to execute their skills; they understand the need to position themselves where the coach wants them; and they may even understand they have a role in the offense. What they often don’t understand is how to take advantage of situations that present themselves during a game. Often they rely on their team star to do this, but when the entire team understands it, then you have an extremely effective team.
This article presents several drills to teach these concepts.
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Move the Ball Drill
This drill is meant to reinforce the fact that just because a player passes or catches the ball, he isn’t done. The drill requires five players. The team throws in the ball, moves down court and sets up according to the coach’s offensive philosophy. The image below shows one example of how this can be done.
In this example, the point guard (No. 1) brings the ball down. As he/she reaches his/her position, either the No. 2 or No. 3 player executes a V-cut into the paint. As No. 2 moves back out of the paint, No. 1 passes the ball to No. 2. After passing the ball, No. 1 runs into the paint and executes an L-cut to end up in the low post on the weak side. As he/she does this, No. 2 passes the ball to No. 1, who attempts a lay-up from the low post.
The other players attempt to get open as they normally would.
The players rotate, so each player practices each position.
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Exploit the Defense
For this drill, you need five players and five cones. The cones can be set up in any of the common zone defenses. Each zone defense has weaknesses. Players need to recognize the defense, understand its weaknesses, and attack it without hesitation.
For this exercise, the coach places the cones to represent the defense he/she wants to train against. The players begin at the opposite end of the court, execute an inbounds pass, and the No. 1 player (the point guard) brings the ball up. The other players set up in their standard offense.
In the example below, the cones are set up in a 2-3 zone, which is weak at the middle post and out to the 3-point line. With this in mind, No. 1 can pass the ball around so that it can get to No. 5, or 3-point attempts can be made by No. 2 or 3. While this is going on, No. 4 moves up to the middle post.
Open Teammate Drill
This drill teaches players to recognize when the defense makes a mistake and exploit it. The coach sets up a defense; the players bring the ball down. From that point, once the ball is passed to the first player, the coach moves the cones to simulate the defense reacting to what the offense is doing.
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In the example below, the coach has set up a 2-3 zone defense. The No. 1 player passes the ball to No. 2. The defense reacts in the manner shown, trying to box in No. 2. The rest of the defense shifts to the strong side, which leaves gaps for Nos. 1, 3 and 5 to exploit.
All three of these drills can be practiced with lots of variety. The point is to use a slow, noncompetitive situation to teach the concepts of recognizing opportunity and reacting to it quickly. Once the players are comfortable with this, replace the cones with real players on defense.