Incorporating training drills that cover a wide range of basketball skills into basketball coaching programs and training sessions is crucial to the ongoing development of young players. Today we’re going to walk through one of the best drills for improving 4 areas of a young basketball players game.
By emulating a real-life game situation we’re able to develop skills and fitness whilst ensuring training sessions are fun, high energy and are always preparing kids for the real thing. So let’s get started
Today’s drill is called “The Lakers Drill”. It’s based on a common method of moving the ball from one end of the court to the other that was used a lot by the LA Lakers teams of the mid to late eighties. Also, I find it’s important to give all of your drills easy to remember names. This is so young players can quickly know what drills and plays you want to run during each training session or game. You also want to focus on accuracy over speed when teaching kids a new drill. Walk through the drill slowly until everyone understands their roles and how the ball is moving throughout the drill first. Once everyone is executing the drill at a slow pace correctly, gradually build up speed until the players are sprinting up and down the court. A good goal for this drill is to execute 15 plays without the ball hitting the ground. However, you can alter that depending on the age and skill level of your players. The other important aspect of this drill is communication. It’s a great habit to get your kids to start communicating clearly during practice. This is so that come game day, communication becomes a natural part of their game. Make sure the kids receiving the ball are calling loudly to the player in possession and the player passing the ball calls the name of the player they are passing to.
The Lakers Drill involves three players. To start you will have the players spread evenly across one end of the court. Left Wing, Centre (positioned directly in front of the glass), Right Wing. The player in the centre starts with the ball, throws the ball off the glass and makes the rebound. Then, the player in the centre turns to the left wing and passes the ball to the player on that wing (you must alternate sides each time so everyone gets a chance in the different positions). The player on the left wing then turns to start moving up the court as the other two players start sprinting towards the offensive end. With everyone moving up the court the left wing passes back to the centre. The centre passes the ball to the player on the right wing, who by now is in position to make the lay-up, and does so. After the lay-up is made the player who started on the left wing comes in and makes the rebound, and is now in the centre starting position. The player who started on the right wing and made the lay-up crosses over and now starts on the opposite wing (and now you’re heading back up the court in the opposite direction they are actually on the right wing and will receive the ball first because we alternate sides on every play), and the player who started in the centre moves out to the left wing, as we head back up the court. Then you simply repeat the movements heading back in the opposite direction.
Make sure the kids are staying wide and don’t all gravitate to the centre. This helps to keep a nice spread and ensures they’re making good, long passes.
As mentioned earlier, communication is key. As the coach, you want to be able to clearly hear every kid’s name as they’re making and receiving passes.
Make the extra effort and take time to make each lay-up. It’s better to start off slowly making every pass and as many baskets as possible. Then speed up as accuracy and ball movement improves. When this kids basketball drill is executed at full pace there’s very little need for dribbling, in fact one of the goals can be to move from one end of the court to the other without dribbling at all. This is great for a fast, paced cardio workout without the kids realising they’re doing cardio.
You can mix this drill up and practice jump shots simply by getting the player who previously made the lay-up to stop around 3 to 4 metres from the basket to make a jump shot. Putting extra players at each end to put on some defence will add a little more pressure on the shooter. In addition, it will make it more like a real game. The last thing to incorporate into this drill is to ensure that every time a player makes the basket, you get the rebounding player to take the ball out just like in a real game and start the drill over again. This is a good habit to get kids into early so they start transitioning from defence to offense quickly. So there you have it “The Lakers Drill”. This basketball drill is great for kids of all ages and skill levels and will help develop all areas of their game, whilst having fun and increasing cardio fitness. Find out more about our upcoming basketball camps and school holiday programs.