Combining Skills & Drills

One of the biggest problems coaches have nowadays is limited time with their teams.  Some teams only have a few weeks of practice before they have their first game.

The limited time negatively affects the player’s fundamentals and puts a major strain on the coach.  Coaches have to be able to teach and practice the required fundamentals of the game, but also get their team prepared for their first game.

Therefore, coaches must make the most out of the time they have with their team.  One effective way to teach fundamentals is to develop drills that incorporate multiple skills.  Instead of having one ball-handling drill, then another passing drill, and then another shooting drill try to combine those skills into one drill.

You can get the same repetition of skills but spend less practice time.  It will allow you more time to spend on other aspects of the game in order to prepare your team.

It’s important to understand that the separate skills must be taught and drilled first before combining them into one drill.  It’s best to first teach the skills separate then when you feel they know how to perform each skill then start to combine them into one drill.

Drills should be designed with the offense in mind and where players may perform skills in a game.  For example, players need to shoot from spots on the floor where they may get shots.

If post players will never be on the perimeter then they should not practice shots from the perimeter.  The following are two examples of drills that combine skills:

Stationary Two-Ball Dribbling & Passing

This drill is a progression from stationary two-ball dribbling and stationary passing.  It can be performed as a team but is more effective in groups of 4 or 5 because it will allow each player more repetitions.

In groups of 4 the players will form a diamond and with groups of 5 each player will form a star pattern.  One player starts with two balls and on the whistle begins to stationary dribble with both balls.

On the next whistle the dribbler will pass to the player beside them.  The player will first make a right-handed pass with their right hand while still dribbling with the left-hand and then make a left-handed pass to the left.

Repeat the drill twice for each player.  The drill can be used with different two-ball dribbling skills as well as having the dribbler pass to different players.

On the Move Two-Ball Dribbling, Passing, and Shooting

This is a progressive drill from the “Stationary Two-Ball Dribbling & Passing” drill.  It begins with two lines that players will be based on your offense.  For example, in a 5-out offense you may want to start with a line at the top and a line on the right wing.

Have the line at the top start at half-court with two balls.  They begin with a stationary two-ball dribble and on the whistle will continue to dribble to the top of the key.  The dribbler will then make a right-handed pass to the right wing and perform a dribble move to the rim with the ball in the left-hand.

The player on the right wing will make a move to the rim and shoot a pull-up jump shot.  This a great drill that involves on the move dribbling, passing, one-on-one moves, and two players shooting at the same time.

It can be used from different spots on the floor, include a variety of one-on-one moves, and incorporate multiple players.  If you can design the drill to fit your offense then it makes this drill much more effective.

One skill drills must be done at the beginning, but drills that only include one skill often can get boring and monotonous for players.  Having drills that include multiple skills will keep the attention of players and help you maintain the intensity in practice.  It saves time in practice as well as help players better understand how the skills are used together and when they will be used.