There are as many basketball drills out there as there are basketball coaches, and everyone has their favorite drills. But there are some drills – top basketball drills – that add so much to practice that every coach should have them in their repertoire of basketball knowledge.

Most drills focus on a specific aspect of the game – we have shooting drills, dribbling drills, passing drills, rebounding drills, defense drills. Drills to develop the jump shot, drills to improve the chest pass, drills to teach man to man defense. But top basketball drills go beyond this; they require the use of most, maybe all these skills, and they require much more.

Here's three reasons why top basketball drills are so important:

1. They simulate game-like situationsNot only are many skills required in order to run the drill properly, these skills need to mesh together – maybe players need to pass, run, receive a pass, pass again immediately, run, receive the pass again and then take the ball in to the hoop, all without traveling (the zipper drill); or fast break down the court to play hard three on two basketball, and then fast break in the opposite direction to play hard two on one basketball (the 3-on-2 to 2-on-2 drill)

2. They will be controlled and offer excellent teaching opportunities It’s not a free-for-all, not a pick-up game. The coach is able to stop play to make changes, adjust what is happening, explain why certain movements are being performed and why others won't work, so players become better players. Not better technicians but better players. Because this is a game simulation, and we don’t deal with how to perfect skills, but how to use them in a game.

3. They are excellent conditioning drillsMost top drills are fast break drills, or have an aspect of fast break to them, and require players to sprint as in game situations and execute various skills as in game situations. Again, remember the focus of these drills – unlike skills drills, these top basketball drills are designed to simulate game play and provide practice in integrating all the skills players have learned into the game. Maybe players will be sprinting to catch up on defense against a fast break, playing hustle defense, rebounding and then fast breaking themselves down the other end of the court (the 2 on 1 fill in); or fighting for a rebound, outletting the ball and filling the far lane on a fast break, so they can shoot and rebound again at the other end of the court (the 11 man drill – my favorite). Learning skills in stand-alone teaching sessions, or in skill-specific drills, is a necessity. Players can’t learn a basic skill or perfect their techniques in a game – they need the focus and individual attention that comes from skills drills to do this.

But once they have gained some measure of adequacy with the skill, it becomes time to try it out in the game - that is our end goal, after all - and the best step towards that is to use these top basketball drills to prepare your team for game time.

Top basketball drills are great drills for pulling together everything players have learned. They aren’t drills you will use much at the beginning of the pre-season, when you are teaching and reinforcing basic skills. But you will need them later on, as the season grows nearer and as your players’ skills have improved to the point where it is time to teach them how to use those skills in game situations.

To read more about these great drills, visit Top Basketball Drills on the Better Basketball Coaching website.

Gary Donovan has been coaching varsity basketball for over fifteen years, and playing the game for many years more that that. Read more of his coaching advice on his website Better Basketball Coaching.

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