The off-season is the most important time of the year for your players to work on their individual games. The best strategy is to identify a player’s weaknesses and focus on improving them as much as possible.

Ball handling, shooting, finishing around the basket and in the post are some of the many possible aspects of the game they could aim to improve. Here are a couple of drills you will want to get your players doing in the gym as much as they can this summer.

Cone Drill Crossovers (Ball handling)

While having pylons, garbage cans, or some other kind of obstacle to dribble around is good practice, using spots on the floor is going to improve your skills as well. Dribble from the baseline to halfcourt and back, focusing on crossing over and exploding out of the move every couple feet.

Dribbling Offense
Cone Dribble Crossovers

Remember to push yourself, losing the ball is okay – in fact if you don’t lose the ball at least once the first couple times you do this drill, you’re probably not pushing yourself hard enough.

Start off with the crossover, but make sure to work on the in-and-out dribble, stutter step, through the legs, and behind the back.

Combo Drill (Ball Handling, Shooting, Finishing)

This is a great drill because you can tailor it to whatever your needs are, whether that be ball handling, shooting, or finishing around the basket.

Setup two garbage cans, one just underneath the 3-point line, and the other somewhere between 5 and 15 feet in front of the basket.

Coming in from half court at about 80-90% speed, make one of the aforementioned dribble moves around the first obstacle and then perform either another dribble move past the second obstacle or come to a jump stop and elevate for the shot.

Again, it depends on what your focus is – if you want to work your mid range pull up jumper, you’ll want to put the garbage can further out, and if you want to work on making a move past a secondary defender and finishing at the basket, you would slide it a little bit closer to the rim.

Shooting Drill
Combo Drill

Coaching Keys

  • Once the Cone Drill has become easy for your players, there’s a way to make it twice as hard – throw in a second basketball.
  • It’s also a good idea to start the Combo Drill from the triple threat position at the three point line and work on an array of jab steps and pump fakes.
  • Tell your players to make sure they are practicing proper fundamentals, head up when they are dribbling, and proper form when they are shooting, practicing a flawed mechanic is just going to hurt them in the long run.


While your players are out there working on their games in the gym, you need to be working on your games as well Coaches. Here are 2 vital plays for your offense, a strategy for stopping a dominant post scorer, and a rebounding drill that will definitely pump up the intensity in your practices you should be adding to your coaching arsenal for the next year.