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2 Competitive Drills To Improve Perimeter Play

  • Author:
    By Joe Haefner
  • Date:
    Apr 28, 2015

When teaching skills, I'm a big believer in developing confidence and mentality. That's why at our Attack and Counter clinics, you will hear phrases such as:

  • "Think shot."
  • "Get balanced. Then attack immediately."
  • "Do what you're good at."
  • "Do what you want to do. Not what your defender wants you to do."

Sometimes, coaches will introduce competitive basketball drills before the player has developed the confidence and mentality needed to succeed. If you try to teach something new and the player has no success with it due to a defender being present, the player will question and lose faith in what you are trying to teach them and worst of all, they will also lose confidence in themselves. Don Kelbick has been a big influence on me in regards to this approach.

Now this article isn't solely about our teaching philosophy, it's about using appropriate drills once you have developed the skill and confidence in your players. Once this has occurred, I like to introduce 1x1 competitive drills. I enjoy these drills because they simulate game-like situations, get high amount of game-like repetitions in a short amount of time compared to 3x3, 4x4, and 5x5, and the players enjoy them.

Here are two great 1x1 competitive drills that I use to improve perimeter play. Another great bonus is that they also improve first step speed, running speed, quickness, and agility.

1x1: Corner to Wing

This simulates an action where the player cuts from the corner to the wing whether it's via a screen or a cut. Typically, you will see a forward pivot or sometimes a drop step utilized when the defender over-commits. You can always adjust the cones based on how you want the player to approach the wing or the pass based on your offense or actions in your plays.

• Form a defense line where x1 starts and form an offense line where 1 starts.

• On go, both players sprint around their selected cones. As the offense approaches the wing, coach passes the ball.

• Offense looks to score. Only one shot is attempted and next group goes.



1x1: Basket to Wing

This drill simulates a game-like action where the player cuts from the basket area to the wing. This could be done via a l-cut, a v-cut, or a down screen. During this drill, you will see the players typically utilize a reverse pivot or drop step. Some players who prefer the front pivot will also do that.

• On go, both players sprint to the cone under the basket and must touch it. The first player to approach the wing is on offense. The second player to approach the wing is on defense.

Offense looks to score. Only one shot is attempted and next group goes.



Points of Emphasis

  • Think Shot: If you are within your shooting range, if you are open, and you are under control, shoot it.
  • Sprint to Ball: Once the player rounds the cone, they need to sprint to the basketball or spot. This will simulate the game situation with game-like speed.
  • Counter: If the defense covers your shot, instantly go to your counter.
  • Limit Dribbles: So players learn how to properly use the dribble, we will set a 2 or 3 dribble limit.


"Joe Haefner is a basketball coach and co-owner of Breakthrough Basketball. Visit www.breakthroughbasketball.com for basketball drills, tips, videos, camps, training aids, and more."

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