Warming up properly is one of the most important things in sports. It helps prevent injury and gets them prepared to play. Players need to sharpen up their skills and get into good habits for the game ahead, as well as raise their heart rates and begin to focus mentally on the game. Routines do not need to be long, in terms of time, and you don’t need to cover every skill. Instead, routines need to short and snappy. Players need to feel physically and mentally sharp before the game begins, not sapped and tired. Here, we will take a closer look at some basketball drills which can be used by coaches at every level of the game. These routines will get your players’ hearts pumping, raise their enthusiasm levels, and sharpen their minds and get physically ready to play. Preparation is key to success in sports, and having these drills to hand will help your immediate pre-game preparation go well.
Drill One: Three on Two
One of the things many people involved in youth basketball coaching seem to forget sometimes is that the sport is meant to be fun. This drill works to sharpen up skills, and get the players’ brains and communication skill working at the same time. It is also good fun. Start by dividing your squad up into groups of five. You only need half a court for this drill. To start, line up five players spread out on the baseline of the court. One player should have the ball, standing under the basket, two more should be lined up just outside of the lane, and the last two should start out by the three-point line. When you, as coach, give the signal, all five players should sprint to the half court line, while the middle player dribbles the ball. Once the players have reached half court, they should race back to the basket. The ball handler and the two players on the three-point line are now playing offense, while the other two players are on defense. As soon as a basket is scored, or the team playing offense is stopped, then the next group of five players starts the next mini game. If there are less than 10 players on the squad, then players will need to fill different groups for each round. Every player should get at least one turn in every position, ideally.
Drill Two: 3Ball
Again, you only need half a court to run this drill. Get your squad to form three lines at the half court line, facing the basket – one line should be in the middle of the court, one on the left, and one on the right. You also need to place two players under the basket – one on the left side of the lane, and one on the right. Both of these players need a ball, as does the player at the head of the middle line. The drill begins with the player leading the middle line passing right or left, to the player at the head of one of the adjacent lines. The three players at the head of their respective lines then run a three-man weave. When the player who started with the ball gets it back at the end of the weave, he shoots a layup. The other two players in the weave run to the elbows and are passed the balls from the two players under the basket. The players that passed the balls close out on the two at the elbow, who then shoot a jumper. The drill ends with the players who shot recovering their rebounds, and then taking the place of the two players who started the drill under the basket. The middle player passes his rebound to the player now leading the middle line on the half court line. The drill is repeated until you, as coach, are satisfied.
Drill Three: Hot Potato
This routine gets the players arms moving and switches their minds on. You need five players for this drill. The ball starts with a player on the baseline, who passes to one of the players in the corner, then the moves to that spot. When the second player in the corner receives the ball, they should pass to the player on the opposite wing, then move to take their position. The player on the wing will then pass to the player on the other. That player cuts in to the basket to make an easy layup. Repeat the drill. You can build up the pace with more repetitions. The idea of the ball as a ‘hot potato’ which needs to be moved is a good way of building pace up.