Every coach has his or her favorite drills they like to do everyday in their basketball practice. Over the years I have experimented with several drills to start practice off and I have put together a short routine that seems to be working well. We have found that a simple aggressive approach to the start each practice helps get our players and coaches ready every day.
Pass -n- Cut is a very simple drill that we start every practice with. The idea behind this drill is to get our players warmed up very quickly while working on a basic chest pass. We start with two lines facing each other on each of the power blocks under the basket. We use one ball that starts in one of the lines. The first player with the ball simply passes to the first player in the next line. That player then cuts to his or her right and sprints to the sideline before getting back in the opposite line. The next player continues the motion going the other direction and so on. We will run this for sixty seconds and then we move to a bounce pass for another sixty seconds.
Full Court Chest Passing is the second drill we do every practice. We run this immediately after Pass -n- Cut. When our players have ran Pass -n- Cut for approximately two minutes a coach will be on the baseline with our ball rack. The coach will tell the players to break out. The players who are at the front of the line will begin to defensive slide to the other baseline making solid chest passes. The coach will then begin to flip balls to the next groups so they can follow. When a group reaches the other baseline, they fan out so the rest of the groups can finish before coming back with the same movement. We normally run this drill three or four drips down and back.
Zig-Zags come next. When the players have finished with Full Court Chest Passing, the coach will point to a corner and yell Zig Zags. The players will then transition into the drill with no hesitation. We run a basic Zig Zag down one side of the floor making sure that the players give each other an adequate amount of space. When a group reaches the baseline they sprint across the baseline to the other sideline. The players switch offense for defense and make the return trip. We normally have our players make three trips around the gym with this drill.
Lay-Ins come immediately after Zig Zags. The coach will have moved the ball rack to the corner of the court where the players will finish up the Zig Zag drill. As the players reach the ball rack the put their ball up and sprint to the lay-in lines. When the last group has finished the lay-in drill begins. We do a basic lay-in drill but we have our players sprint to the opposite baseline before switching lines. We will run this drill until we have made twenty to thirty lay-ins before switching sides.
Free Throws With Running round out our warm up drills. While the players are finishing up with the lay-ins, a coach will place a ball at each free throw line. We use all baskets in this drill. As soon as the players finish their lay-ins they sprint to a basket making sure the same amount of players are at each hoop. The first player shoots their free throw. If they make it they shoot again. If they miss they sprint down and back twice while the next player begins. If they make their first free throw and miss their second they sprint down and back once. If the player makes both free throws they do not have to run. We normally have the players get water after they make their second free throw then return to the drill. This drill is ran for approximately six minutes.
These drills start every practice in our program. On a normal day we can get through these drills in about twenty minutes. We have found this routine a great way for our players to get focused and warmed up each day so we can then get into the rest of our practice plan. We do adjust the time on pre-game practice days but we always keep the same tempo. This is what has worked for us. Good luck to you.