Developing Better Game Passers

For drills to be effective, they must transfer to better game performance. Many coaches spend a lot of practice time on drills like three-man weaves or two-line passing drills, yet continue to complain about their players’ passing skills. The problem is the constraints: the constraints of a three-man weave differ from the constraints of completing a pass in a game.

In a three-man weave, the primary constraints are coordination and speed, as the passer must receive the ball on the run and pass without traveling. In a game, the primary constraints are the defense: most passes are contested either on the passer, the receiver or both the passer and receiver.

Here are two drills that I use at the beginning of my passing instruction:

Long Island Passing Drill

The drill is a beginning passing drill. It essentially replaces a stationary 2-man passing drill or a three-man weave. The two teams do not defend each other – they are obstacles. I stress knowing where the next open player is before one catches the pass and passing quickly. After the pass, players cut and find open spaces.

7v5 Advantage Passing Drill

The advantage passing drills take the passing to the next level as the drill incorporates defense. However, with 2 players playing all-time offense (red), the offense always has an advantage. Passers simply need to find the open player and keep the ball moving. Again, I stress making the pass quickly (no return passes) and cutting after the pass.

By Brian McCormick
Brian McCormick Basketball
Author, Cross Over: The New Model of Youth Basketball Development
Director of Coaching, Playmakers Basketball Development League


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