Basketball Competition Drills: The Ultimate Guide for Coaches

Basketball Competition Drills: The Ultimate Guide


Basketball is a sport that is all about competition. The better you are at competing, the better your team will be. And the best way to improve your basketball skills is to practice competitive drills. There are a number of different basketball competition drills that you can do to help improve your skills and make your team more successful.

This post will highlight five different drills that you can use with your team. With these basketball coaching resources, you can make sure to instill the competitiveness that your team needs to succeed. Also, there are several coaching points and tips for making sure that you get the most out of these basketball drills when you use them.

And, of course, if you want full access to all of our 800+ basketball drills for coaches, make sure to check out the Basketball HQ Coaching App!


Here are a few of the most popular and effective competition basketball drills (skip down to any of these drills):



Basketball Competition Drills for Coaches


Basketball Competition Drills for Coaches

Working on specific skill development drills with your team is great. It is a much-needed part of the game. It is also important, though, that your players are working on these different skills against live competition.

This will allow them to practice what they learned, as well as better learn how to compete. Learning to compete is a skill, just like dribbling or shooting a basketball is. Some players are better off at the start, but every player can become a better competitor by working on it.

Hold each player to a high standard and require their best in everything that they do.

Competition basketball drills will also give you better insight into what players should be playing more minutes. Players who can compete at a high level and raise the team’s competition level should always be given a chance to play.

Also, these basketball competition drills will be able to help you raise the intensity of your practices. If you use one of these competition drills at the beginning of your practice (after everyone is warm), it will really set the tone. If you feel like your team is not competing, break them up into sides and use one of these basketball drills. It will help to refocus practice and get your player’s competitive juices flowing.

As a basketball coach, if your team can compete in every circumstance, no matter what, they will have a chance to win a lot of games. Every player on the team must have the mindset of whatever it takes to get the job done. This is not something that happens on its own, though. You have to be willing to put the time in to develop this winning culture as a basketball coach.



Basketball Competition Drills Teaching Points


Basketball Competition Drills Teaching Points

Creating a culture of competition and toughness with your basketball team is not an exact science, and it will be up to you as a basketball coach to find what works best. You may want to emphasize a more rewards-based initiative or one that has the losing team running. It will be up to you to find what works best for your team. Here are some teaching points that will help you better finalize what will work best for your basketball team.


Controlled Competition

It is important that when doing these basketball drills, you are using controlled competition. As much as players should be giving their all, it needs to be controlled. Players need to make sure that they are not practicing fouling, being out of control, etc. If you watch the best players in any sport, you will see that they make everything look effortless. Players can play their hardest without being out of control or fouling on every possession.


Scoring Rules and Consequences

Another big key for these competition basketball drills is scoring and punishment. As a coach with your team, it will be up to you to find what best motivates your players. Whether it is a reward for the winning team/player or making the losers run, it will be up to you to find what works best.

As far as scoring, most of the drills can be tweaked. You have the ability to reward the defense for stops or make it an offensive-based scoring system. Feel free to alternate or use whatever works best for your team.


Teach and Explain Different Situations to Your Players

This may not be as feasible in practice, but teaching is a must in small-group workouts. As a basketball coach, you must be a teacher as your players are competing.

After a play is over, stop and explain what the player should have done in that situation. It doesn’t have to take a long time, but explaining different situations and moves will be essential in a player’s growth.

It will be hard for younger players to read a defender and make the correct move. The better you can teach them how to think while they play, the better they will be able to use the correct moves while competing. This will also directly translate over to game-play.



Must-Use Basketball Competition Drills

All of these basketball competition drills will allow you to compete in a variety of different situations. Whether it is one on one, at a disadvantage, 2 on 2, etc., these drills will challenge players to get out of their comfort zone and compete. They will also allow players to work on practicing different basketball skills against a live competitor, which will also add a ton of value to a player’s game.


Drill #1

1 on 1 Chasing Cutters Defensive Basketball Drill


1 on 1 Chasing Cutters Defensive Basketball Drill


A big part of being able to guard cutters in basketball is the defender’s body position as the offensive player makes their cut. If the defender is in a poor position, they will get hit by the screen and won’t be there on the catch to square up the defender.

This basketball drill will work on exactly this. The defender will be able to work on taking a great path on the cut and then being able to square up the defender on the catch. It will teach defenders how to not only work hard on defense but also work smart. Rather than fighting with the screen, they will be able to take a good angle and essentially eliminate the screen. After the cut, the players will play one-on-one, benefiting both the offensive and defensive players.




Basketball Drill Overview

Drill Name: 1 on 1 Chasing Cutters Defensive Basketball Drill

Equipment Needed: Basketball, 2+ Players, Screener, and Passer.


Goals of the Drill

  • Work on navigating a down-screen action as a defender and then being able to play defense on the catch.
  • The offensive player will work on using a down screen and then playing against a live defender.


Coaching Points

  • Cuts need to be sharp and game-like from the offensive player.
  • The defender needs to stay locked in and take the right angle as they chase the cutter.
  • The defender needs to be there on the catch and able to square up the offensive player.
  • Both the offensive and defensive players need to treat the one-on-one portion of this competition basketball drill like a live game situation.


Basketball Drill Instructions

  • The players will start under the basket with the defender on the hip of the offensive player.
  • A screener will be just outside the paint, and a passer will be at the top of the key with the ball.
  • When the drill starts, the offensive player sets up their defender and then comes off the down-screen action for a straight-line cut.
  • The defender will jump to the cutter’s outside hip and chase them on the screen.
  • As soon as the defender clears the screen, they must fight back in front to square up the offensive player on the catch.
  • The passer will make the pass to the offensive player, and from here, the drill is live.
  • The drill is completed when there is a basket, foul, or a stop by the defender.
  • To make the drill more realistic, you can set a dribble limit.
  • If you have more than two players, have the next group in line go, offensive player or defensive player stay on, etc.
  • After the desired amount of repetitions, switch the down screen over to the other wing area.



Drill #2

2 on 2 Help and Recover Defensive Basketball Drill


2 on 2 Help and Recover Defensive Basketball Drill


Being able to have a great man to man defensive team in basketball means doing a lot of smaller things well. Whether it is being in the gap, communicating, being in the help, recovering on the pass, etc. You can’t just jump into 5 on 5 man to man defense and expect it to be everything you need to be. That is why basketball drills like this 2-on-2 help and recover drill are so important to your team. They allow you to breakdown your team defensive philosophy so that your players can get reps on specific skills that your defense will need to be successful.

Along with this being a great defensive basketball drill, it is also great for competing and working on offensive skills. These types of basketball competition drills are perfect for allowing players to learn to compete at a high level. The offensive players are getting a lot out of this drill as well, and you can put a punishment on the losing team to turn up the intensity in practice.




Basketball Drill Overview

Drill Name: 2 on 2 Help and Recover Defensive Basketball Drill

Equipment Needed: 4 players, a partner, and a basketball.


Goals of the Drill

  • Work on being in the help on defense and then closing out while the ball is in the air.


Coaching Points

  • Communicate the entire time you are on defense.
  • Don’t let your man get below you while you are in the help, or you will be open for a back cut.
  • Be there on the catch when the ball is in the air; you should be closing out.
  • Offensive players can back cut to the basket if they are over pressured.
  • If they score, then just reset and keep playing.


Basketball Drill Instructions

  • Offensive players are going to start on either block, and the defensive players will be guarding them.
  • The coach will be at the top of the key with the ball.
  • When the drill starts, the offensive players will pop out to the wing, and the coach will pass to either wing.
  • The defender on the ball will close out and guard, and the player on the opposite wing must jump to the help in the paint (seeing both man and ball).
  • The ball will be swung back to the coach, and both defensive players must jump to the gap at this time.
  • When the ball gets swung to the opposite wing, the players will adjust accordingly again.
  • After a few repetitions of this, the coach will say “live” or “play,” and from here, the players will play two on two until there is either a score, foul, or a defensive rebound.
  • You can set the scoring up however you want, but here are a couple of examples.
  • If you score, you stay on offense, and two new defenders come on, and if the defense gets the stop, they go to offense.
  • Another option would be to have your team broken down into 2 teams, and have every group go offense and defense, and then see who scored the most points.
  • Lastly, you could set it up so that the defense must get 3 stops in a row to get out, or something similar to that.



Drill #3

1 on 1 Post Flash Basketball Drill


1 on 1 Post Flash Basketball Drill


Learning to play in the post requires not only different basketball drills to develop moves but also the chance to work on these moves against live competition. Post players need to be able to practice feeling a defender on them and then being able to read that defender before using a specific move.

This basketball post drill is great for working on both offense and defense and will allow both players to get a lot of repetitions in the post and learn to compete on the block. It is a great drill to do with traditional post players or even guards that spend time in the post. It will teach your offensive players to use different offensive moves and your defensive players to battle, wall up, and play defense in the post without fouling. So along with it being a great offensive drill, it is also an excellent basketball defensive drill that will teach your players to wall up and battle in the post on defense.




Basketball Drill Overview

Drill Name: 1 on 1 Post Flash Basketball Drill

Equipment Needed: 1 basketball, 2 players or more, and a passer.


Goals of the Drill

  • Work on finishing in the post and playing defense in the post.


Coaching Points

  • Really work on the technique of the different moves and reading the defender.
  • The defender should practice staying low and wide and walling up the offensive player.
  • You can add different rules to the basketball drill, like saying that the offensive player must face up before attacking; this will allow for working on different types of post moves.


Basketball Drill Instructions

  • The passer will start on the wing, the defensive player will be on the near block, and an offensive player will be on the far block.
  • When the passer slaps the basketball, the offensive player will come across the lane and either fake high and spin low or fake low and spin high (read the defenders positioning) and then post up.
  • The passer will enter the ball, and the game is live.
  • The offensive player only has two dribbles to score.
  • You can set up the scoring so that if the offensive player scores, they stay on offense, you can have it be a defensive game where the defender gets the point if they get a stop and they stay on if they get a stop, or you can rotate through and switch each possession.



Drill #4

Full Court Chaser Basketball Finishing Drill


Full Court Chaser Basketball Finishing Drill


Transition baskets can do so many great things for a team as far as generating momentum and getting easy points. It is important, though, that you spend time working on finishing in transition as a team, especially if your team is younger. Transition finishes are too valuable not to capitalize on.

This finishing basketball drill will be a one on one full-court drill that gives the offensive player a slight advantage to start the drill. It will really help to learn to finish at full speed with the defense trying to back tip/strip the ball, cut them off, or block the finish. Along with this being a great basketball drill to work on finishing, it is also great for working on handling the basketball at full speed and getting up the floor while maximizing your dribbles.

And lastly, it will be the perfect basketball defensive drill for teaching your players to never give up on a play. If you can get this mindset into your players, you will be the team that hustles back to get a big chase-down block or strip.




Basketball Drill Overview

Drill Name: Full Court Chaser Basketball Finishing Drill

Equipment Needed: 1 basketball, a coach, and 2 players.


Goals of the Drill

  • Work on finishing at full speed in transition and maximizing your dribbles as you bring the ball up the floor.


Coaching Points

  • The offensive player needs to push the ball out and cover as much ground as they can on each dribble.
  • When you get to the basket, make sure that you are finishing under control.
  • The defensive basketball player must sprint as hard as possible and look to get a back tip on the offensive player.


Basketball Drill Instructions

  • This basketball drill will start with the offensive player having one foot on the elbow and the defensive player having one foot on the block.
  • The passer will be facing the players out on the opposite wing area.
  • The passer will make a chest pass to the offensive player (slightly lead them forward).
  • As soon as the ball leaves the passer’s hand, the drill is live.
  • At this point, the offensive player is looking to sprint up the floor and get a finish at the basket.
  • The defensive player is looking to sprint their hardest to catch them and get a stop.
  • You can set this drill up in practice with every player having a partner that they switch with each time, or you could set it up as teams so that it is 6 on 6 and the players must match up with who they want, and you keep track of total points.
  • Remember to work on finishing from both the right and the left side of the floor.



Drill #5

1 on 1 Zig Zag Triplets Defensive Basketball Drill


1 on 1 Zig Zag Triplets Defensive Basketball Drill


Being able to play on-ball defense takes good technique and the ability to move quickly laterally in either direction. To be good at these things, you have to be willing to put in the time working on them. This defensive basketball drill will work on guarding a live dribble and will also work on learning to compete.

There is no help defense, so that means the defender will be put under a spotlight. Everyone will see which players can guard the dribble and which ones are not quite there yet. This basketball drill can also accommodate a larger group of players, so it is a great team basketball drill.

Make sure that you are watching the footwork and technique of the defensive player. If they practice bad habits in live defense, you may want to switch to a different defensive drill that works more on the player’s individual technique. Don’t allow bad habits to creep into a player’s defense.




Basketball Drill Overview

Drill Name: 1 on 1 Zig Zag Triplets Defensive Basketball Drill

Equipment Needed: At least 3 players and a basketball.


Goals of the Drill

  • Work on closing out, on-ball defense, and learning to compete.


Coaching Points

  • Don’t practice bad habits, do your best not to foul when playing defense, and cut off the ball handler with your chest.
  • You can do this basketball drill in each corner if you want to help the players get more repetitions, but you need at least 3 players in each group.


Basketball Drill Instructions

  • One player will start with the basketball on the baseline, and the other players will be at half-court in a line.
  • The player with the ball will run out to the free-throw line and then roll the ball out to the first player in line at half court.
  • As the ball is rolling, they will close out the player and then break down into a defensive stance.
  • The offensive player will catch the ball in a triple threat position, and as soon as they do, the basketball drill is live.
  • The offensive player must stay in the 1/3 side of the court, but they are trying to beat the defender off the dribble to the baseline.
  • The defender will try and stay in front of the offensive player and turn them three times before they reach the baseline.
  • Once the players reach the baseline, the offensive player turns around and becomes the defender to the next player in line (the defender gets in the back of the line).



Why Basketball Competition Drills

As a basketball coach, your main goal is to develop the skills and abilities of your players. This can only be achieved through regular practice and training. However, simply running drills without a specific purpose or objective may not effectively improve your team’s performance on the court.

Basketball competition drills are an essential component of any team’s training regimen as they provide numerous benefits. In this section, we will discuss why these drills are important for coaches and how they can benefit your team.


Develops Team Chemistry

One of the most significant benefits of basketball competition drills is that they promote team chemistry. These drills mimic real-game situations, encouraging players to communicate and work together effectively. This helps build trust and camaraderie among teammates, which is crucial for success on the court. When players are familiar with each other’s strengths and weaknesses, they can better anticipate their movements, leading to improved teamwork and coordination during games.


Improves Decision Making

Basketball competition drills also provide players with the opportunity to make quick decisions under pressure. In a game situation, players must think quickly and react accordingly. By incorporating decision-making skills into drills, players can practice making split-second decisions that will ultimately benefit them during games.


Enhances Physical and Mental Endurance

In a competitive game, players must be physically and mentally prepared to withstand the demands of the sport. Basketball competition drills help improve both aspects by challenging players’ physical abilities while also developing their mental toughness. These drills often involve high-intensity movements and require players to think quickly, improving their overall endurance and stamina.


Encourages Healthy Competition

As the name suggests, basketball competition drills are based on a competitive environment. This healthy competition among teammates can motivate players to push themselves harder and strive for improvement. It also creates a sense of accountability as players must perform at their best to benefit the team.


Develops Versatility

Basketball competition drills often involve a variety of movements and scenarios, which can help players develop versatility in their skills. By practicing different techniques and strategies, players can become more well-rounded and adapt to any situation that arises during games.


Basketball Competition Drill Tips

Here are some tips to help coaches effectively incorporate them into their training sessions:

  • Have a clear objective: Before running any drill, make sure you have a specific goal or objective in mind. This will help keep your players focused and motivated.
  • Create game-like scenarios: Basketball competition drills should mimic real-game situations as closely as possible. This will better prepare your players for in-game scenarios and improve their decision-making abilities.
  • Emphasize communication: Communication is key in basketball, and competition drills provide the perfect opportunity to practice it. Encourage your players to communicate with each other during drills, improving their teamwork and chemistry.
  • Incorporate variety: To keep your players engaged and challenged, incorporate a variety of drills that focus on different skills and scenarios.
  • Provide feedback: As a coach, it is crucial to provide constructive feedback to your players during and after drills. This will help them understand their strengths and areas for improvement.

By implementing these tips, coaches can effectively utilize basketball competition drills in their training sessions and ultimately improve their team’s performance on the court. Remember, regular practice and training are essential for any team’s success, and basketball competition drills are a valuable tool to help achieve this goal.

So, it is important for coaches to prioritize these drills in their training regimen. With consistency and dedication, both coaches and players can reap the benefits of incorporating basketball competition drills into their routines.



Basketball Competition Drills Frequently Asked Questions

Whether you are new to basketball coaching or have been doing it for years, you may have some questions about basketball competition drills. This section will highlight some frequently asked questions, and then also provide the answers for them.


How do you make basketball practice more fun?

Basketball competition drills can make practices more enjoyable for players as they provide a competitive and engaging environment. Additionally, coaches can also incorporate fun games and challenges into their training sessions to keep players motivated and excited to practice. Another way to make practice more enjoyable is by involving players in decision-making and incorporating their ideas into drills or game strategies.


Can basketball competition drills be used for players of all levels?

Yes, basketball competition drills can be modified to accommodate players of different skill levels. Coaches can adjust the difficulty level or add variations to the drills to challenge more experienced players while also providing a learning opportunity for beginners.


Do basketball competition drills only focus on individual skills?

No, while some drills may focus on individual skills like shooting or ball-handling, many competition drills also emphasize teamwork, communication, and decision-making. These skills are crucial for success in a team sport like basketball.


How often should coaches incorporate basketball competition drills into their training sessions?

Basketball competition drills can be incorporated into practice sessions at least once or twice a week, depending on the coach’s preference and the team’s schedule. However, it is essential to strike a balance between competition drills and other types of training to avoid burnout and keep players engaged.


Are there any specific safety measures coaches should take during basketball competition drills?

Coaches should always prioritize the safety of their players during practice, including during competitive drills. They should ensure that players are wearing appropriate gear and equipment, stay hydrated, and follow proper warm-up and cool-down routines. Coaches should also monitor players’ form and technique to prevent injuries.


How do I make my basketball team tougher?

Incorporating basketball competition drills into practice is an excellent way to make your team tougher. These drills challenge players physically, mentally, and emotionally, helping them develop toughness on all levels. Additionally, coaches can also focus on building mental resilience and positive attitudes within the team through effective communication and reinforcement of a growth mindset.

Encouraging healthy competition among teammates can also foster toughness and determination within the team. Ultimately, a combination of physical training, mental preparation, and a positive team culture can make your basketball team tougher on the court. So do not hesitate to push your players out of their comfort zone with challenging competition drills – it will ultimately benefit them in the long run.


What is breakdown drills in basketball?

Breakdown drills in basketball are designed to break down a particular skill or movement into smaller, more manageable parts for players to practice. These drills can help improve technique and muscle memory and facilitate better understanding of complex skills. Breakdown drills are commonly used for shooting, ball-handling, and defensive footwork.

They can also be incorporated into competition drills to focus on specific aspects of the game. However, coaches should ensure that these drills are used in moderation and not at the expense of full-game simulation drills. Balancing both types of drills is crucial for well-rounded development in basketball.


How can I create effective competition drills for my team?

Creating effective competition drills requires a good understanding of your team’s needs and goals. Start by identifying areas of improvement and desired outcomes, then design drills that target those skills. Additionally, consider the age and skill level of your players and adjust the difficulty level accordingly.

Incorporate variations to challenge your players and keep things interesting. Finally, provide clear instructions and objectives for each drill and allow time for feedback and reflection after each session. With proper planning and execution, coaches can create effective competition drills that will benefit their team’s overall performance.


What are basketball skill drills?

Basketball skill drills are specific exercises designed to improve fundamental skills such as shooting, passing, dribbling, and rebounding. These drills can be modified for players of different levels and catered toward specific areas of improvement. By regularly incorporating skill drills into practice, players can develop muscle memory and consistency in their techniques, leading to improved performance on the court.

However, coaches should also combine skill drills with game simulation and competition drills to ensure a well-rounded training program. Continuous improvement in these fundamental skills is essential for players’ success in basketball.


How do you motivate a basketball team?

Motivating a basketball team requires a combination of factors, including effective communication, fostering a positive team culture, and setting achievable goals. Coaches can also motivate their team through competition drills that challenge players to push themselves and improve their skills. Additionally, acknowledging and celebrating individual and team achievements can boost motivation levels within the team.

Ultimately, understanding each player’s needs and providing support and encouragement can go a long way in keeping the team motivated and focused on their goals. So, as a coach, make sure to create an environment that motivates and inspires your players to be their best selves both on and off the court.


How do basketball competition drills improve teamwork?

Basketball competition drills require players to work together, communicate effectively, and make quick decisions as a team. These drills can simulate game-like situations and challenges, helping players develop trust in their teammates and build chemistry on the court. Additionally, competition drills can also create a healthy sense of competition among teammates, motivating them to work harder and support each other for the greater good of the team.

With regular practice of basketball competition drills, teams can improve their teamwork, leading to better performance and results during games. So, coaches should make sure to incorporate these drills into their training program for a well-rounded and cohesive team.



More Basketball Competition Drills

If you are looking for more basketball competition drills to add to your training sessions, here are a few suggestions:

  • 1v1 Defense Drill: This drill focuses on improving individual defensive skills by simulating one-on-one game scenarios.
  • Fast Break Drill: This high-intensity drill works on quick transitions and decision-making in fast break situations.
  • Shooting Competition Drill: This competitive shooting drill helps players improve their accuracy and consistency.
  • 3-on-3 Scrimmage: A small-sided game that focuses on teamwork and communication while incorporating competition elements.

Remember, the key is to choose basketball drills that align with your team’s specific needs and goals. Additionally, it is essential to continually assess your team’s progress and make necessary adjustments to ensure you are getting the most out of your training sessions.

With these tips and drills in mind, you can help your team reach their full potential on the court. So, keep practicing and pushing each other to be the best players and team possible! Keep striving for improvement, and success will follow.



Basketball Competition Drills Conclusion

Basketball competition drills are an essential aspect of training for any basketball team. They not only improve teamwork and decision-making skills but also enhance physical and mental endurance, encourage healthy competition, and develop versatility in players’ abilities.

With the right approach and consistency, these drills can significantly benefit a team’s overall performance on the court. As basketball coaches, it is important to prioritize these drills and continually assess and adjust to ensure maximum effectiveness. By doing so, we can help our players reach their full potential and achieve success on the court.

So, let’s keep incorporating basketball competition drills into our training sessions and watch our teams thrive!




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