Top 10 Basketball Drills To Improve Your Game

We are all familiar with the famous proverb, “Practice makes perfect.” The more you practice, the better you become at something. No professional in any sport has ever attained greatness by merely knowing how a sport works or by simply learning about what to do in theory. If you take a good look at all the successful professional athletes, the one thing that you would find common among them is tons of practice.

Even science backs this theory; when you do a particular task repetitively, you are training your brain to respond in a particular way. Over time, what this essentially does is, it reduces the response times considerably and at the same time improves your physical and motor skills in order to effectively perform that particular task as quickly and efficiently as possible. This applies to almost all of the sports, including basketball. In this article, you will learn soem of the best basketball drills, and how you can use them effectively to condition yourself mentally and physically, in order to get ahead in your game.

What Are Basketball Drills?

A drill exercise (more commonly known simply as a drill) is a repetitive and disciplined exercise that focuses on training a skill over and over again in order to perfect it. Basketball drills are often intense, rigorous, and taxing, and are designed to train the muscles in your body and your brain to increase your performance and focus. When it comes to basketball, there are so many different kinds of drills that you can use to improve your on-court skills. Some of these basketball drills and the skills they improve are explained below.

Defense Drills 

While some may consider offense to be the best defense, it is unfortunately not true when it comes to most sporting events, particularly basketball. Defense drills focus on developing your blocking and intercepting skills, so you can make your opponent’s job of scoring against you a lot tougher. Preventing your opponent from scoring will give your team more confidence and boost their morale.  

Offense Drills

A good set of offensive basketball drills focuses on the right floor spacing, passing, and cutting. They also focus on fast dribbling and shooting. Practicing offense through drills will let your team penetrate the defense of your opponents and create more chances for you to score.

Shooting Drills

The shooting drill routine is arguably the most fun drill routine you’ll experience. Almost everybody on the team wants to shoot a goal. And ultimately, scoring goals is the way to win a game. These drills focus on the different shooting techniques such as shooting along with a partner, or shooting a goal from mid-court.

Rebounding Drills 

Basketball is not just about dribbling, going through opponents, and shooting goals. Being able to collect rebounds helps with turning the tables against your opponent. It creates a major and significant advantage as it carries with it a surprise element. Rebounding basketball drills focus more on developing team awareness, speed, and attentiveness of the ball’s location in general.

Passing Drills

You can’t hope to carry the ball and score a goal on your own. As basketball is a team game, you’ll need to work with your teammates to score a goal, and this involves passing of the ball. Short and fast passes minimize the chance of being intercepted while long passes can help with moving the ball quickly across the court. Passing drills focus on speed and awareness of the position of your teammates.

Apart from the ones mentioned above, basketball players should focus on agility drills and strength and conditioning drills as well. These two routines help improve strength and speed and enable you to change direction in an instant.

Is There a Need for Basketball Drills?

As we have already established, basketball drills offer immense benefits to the players. Drills help them get better at their game and offer a significant competitive advantage over their opponents. Some of the benefits that basketball drills offer are listed below.

Increase in Flexibility, Endurance, and Strength  

Basketball drills help increase the range of motion of your muscles, thereby helping you be more flexible. Similar to weight training, indulging regularly in a healthy dose of drill routines strengthens the muscles and allows you to perform better for a lot longer.

Improvement in Skills

This is the most important benefit that basketball drills have on you as a player. The drill routines ultimately improve your ball-handling, shooting, and passing skills. In addition to that, they also improve your mental state and increase your game awareness, so you can quickly create or spot opportunities to score a goal.  

Increase in Confidence

With adequate training and hard work, you gain the much-needed confidence to tackle all sorts of obstacles during the game.

Prevention of Injury 

When you utilize all your muscles and joints regularly, you decrease the chances of them getting injured as your body is already accustomed to plenty of different movements and ranges of motion.

Apart from these obvious benefits, basketball drills also improve the fitness levels of the players, the balance and awareness of their bodies, and their ability to quickly recover from training and games.  

Top 10 Basketball Drills To Improve Your Game

Some of the basketball drills that you can incorporate into your basketball training regimen to improve your skills and your game are discussed below.

Two-Ball Dribbling 

Anyone can dribble a basketball with one hand. But learning how to simultaneously dribble two basketballs can vastly improve your ball-handling skills as it also forces you to utilize your non-dominant hand. This trains you to use both hands for dribbling, which can open up new avenues while on court. Also, dribbling with two balls not only develops your dribbling skills, but also makes you focus on learning the location of the ball and on keeping track of it. This allows you to multi-task and effectively balance placement as well as passing. You can also do different variations of two-ball dribbling to challenge and push yourself. For instance, you could go from stationary two-ball dribbling to dribbling while on the move. Or, you could also try alternating or uneven dribbling.

Speed Shooting

This drill helps forwards shoot accurately while on the move, thereby enabling them to quickly go past the defenders. In order to do this, you’ll need a partner to throw the ball at you. Stand at the half-court area and run at full-speed toward the hoop. Ask your partner to pass you the ball when you are near the arch or right inside it. Once you’ve gotten hold of the ball, quickly jump up and shoot it through the hoop. Once you’re done, backpedal to the starting position and do it again. Keep this up for around 20 shots before you take a break. The first ten might be easy but you’ll quickly feel your legs and arms getting tired.

3-Man Weave Drill

This is a great drill to improve team bonding and gelling as well as to increase the speed of the ball movement. The drill is based on the premise that passing is always faster than dribbling. As the title suggests, you’ll need three men on the court for this drill. The main aim of this drill is to move the ball down the court as quickly as possible, without letting the ball touch the ground. To perform this drill, you’ll need to line three people up at one end of the court. The player in the middle starts off with the ball, passes it to the person to his right, and then runs behind the receiver. This process is then repeated all the way to the end of the court.

Zig-Zag Drill 

You’ll need a partner for this drill. Start off from the baseline and dribble against your partner in a zig-zag manner from the sideline to the foul line and back, while your partner acts as a strong defense. This drill will allow you to develop control over the ball and help you hold on to it even under pressure. Once you’ve reached the end of the court, switch it up so that you become the defensive player and your partner becomes the offensive player.

Mikan Drill 

Named after the legendary basketball player George Mikan, this drill helps with improving your shooting and rebounding skills. Start off by standing on either the left of the right side of the basket. Jump up and use the backboard to shoot a lay-up through the hoop. You’ll have to time and place the jump in a way that you land on the opposite side of the hoop. For instance, if you are jumping up on the right side of the basket, you should land on its left. The landing should correspond to the ball dropping down from the basket. Once you land, get the ball, jump up and shoot a lay-up through the hoop again and land on the other side. Do this continuously back and forth for around 10 to 20 shots.

Defensive Lane Slides   

This might sound pretty easy, but it is one of the hardest moves to perfect. In real time game situations, most defenders resort to freestyle moves. Knowing how to lane slide can help you learn how to keep low, keep your feet apart, and pivot. These three things are important even for freestyle defense moves. Start off on one side of the lane and move horizontally to the other side as quickly as possible while keeping your feet apart and your body low. You can also practice front to back and back to front lane sliding as well.

Box-Out Drill

This drill is all about restricting the other player from getting to the ball. Two players stand a few feet away from each other, with neither of them possessing the ball. When the whistle is blown, one of the players should move up and try to box the other player out using his forearm, thereby preventing him from moving around to get to the ball. If the other player tries to get out of the box by moving, the defending player needs to quickly pivot and follow him around.

Star Drill   

The star drill focuses on speed and accuracy while passing the ball. In order to do this, five players need to stand at the points of a star. Player 1 makes a quick chest pass to player 5, player 5 then passes to player 3, player 3 passes to player 2, player 2 passes to player 4, and then finally the ball gets passed on to player 1 again. The players shouldn’t waste any time holding onto the ball and should pass it off as soon as they get it.

Dribble Up, Dribble Down Drill  

In this drill, a player gets the ball, dribbles it quickly up to the baseline, then back dribbles down, and takes the shot. Apart from teaching the player how to back dribble, this drill also ensures that the player does not lose the ball while back dribbling, and is still able to accurately take the shot.  

Speed Dribble and Pass

This drill focuses on offensive dribbling and passing. Stand at one end of the court with the other player standing either to your left or to your right. The first player quickly dribbles up the court and passes to the second player, who catches the ball and does the same. Once you reach the other end of the court, turn back and do the drill again.

In addition to the above, you can also perform some general drills to work on your agility, strength, and conditioning. For instance, you could do some plyometric pushups, ankle rotations, butt kicks, high knees, and power skips, among others, as a part of your warm up or cool down routines.


Consistency is the key here, as merely practicing these basketball drills once in a while will not be of much help. You will have to make sure that you incorporate these drills into your lifestyle and stick to them. You could also get creative and come up with different variations of these basketball drills to continuously keep yourself on top of your game. Additionally, it’s advisable to switch up your routine once every 12 weeks in order to prevent your body from getting used to these drills.    


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