Matthew in Santa Fe wrote to ask if I could suggest any ideas for [tag]basketball conditioning drills[/tag]. I sent him this idea that one of my subscribers sent in.
The best [tag]basketball drill[/tag] I ran with my boys was a John Wooden drill that I learned. There are 2 main parts of the drill that you focus on, and I will explain as I demonstrate the drill. The boys loved the drill and it was originally called a [tag]basketball conditioning drill[/tag] by Wooden because it is constant running. Any time a kid hears conditioning at practice they tend to groan so he renamed it the 3-on-2-on-1 drill. Here is how it goes.
You start by having 3 players on offense and 2 on defense (full court). The rest of the players line up at the 1/2 court line out of bounds.
The offense throws the [tag]basketball[/tag] off the backboard, rebounds, and then runs a 3 man weave down court, looking to keep spacing around 10-15 ft apart once they cross 1/2 court. Two things happen on defense, the players line up one high (a little past the foul line) and one low (between the foul line & basket).
The object on defense is to have the high man stop ball. As the offense crosses 1/2 court, 1 sideline player runs onto the court toward 1/2 court circle and then joins the defense (he has to run to 1/2 court circle). When he joins the defense (which starts a s a 2 man zone), he yells who he will guard and the other 2 defensive players then man up by yelling who they have. The defense either steals the ball, rebounds a missed shot, or the shot goes in and they rebound. The 3 defensive players are now on offense looking to weave down the court, the passer and the shooter who were on offense must hustle back on defense and the drill starts all over again with the 3rd defensive player joining after the offense crosses 1/2 court.
It is a constant motion drill, with players filing back to the 1/2 court line when their portion of the drill is over. It took a little time for the boys to remember to fill in as the 3rd guy on defense, but other than that it worked great.
I was having trouble explaining how to defensively stop ball while the rest of the defense played zone until all the players recovered defensively on a break and this drill helped to make it an automatic response. The boys loved the drill (especially if 2 defensive players stopped the offense before their 3rd man came onto the court). They challenged one another, they didn’t realize it but it was great conditioning, and the 3rd thing it did was to help my big guys to become better passers. I explained to them that on offense, once they were crossing 1/2 court the wings needed to flair wide and whoever was in the middle needed to control the ball until the wing players spaced and were open. A lot of times my center or power forward happened to be the middle guy and they had to learn to protect the ball from the stop ball player and make a good pass to the open wing player. This meant they couldn’t dribble with their heads down (couldn’t find the open wing player), and they had to protect the ball from being stolen when they dribbled (most centers don’t dribble all that often unless on the break).