Basketball Warm Up Drills
The Weave to Half and 2 on 1 Back

Basketball warm up drills should be simple to be effective. I've played against teams who run elaborate drills, but I find with most of these drills players do a lot of movement from one line to the next, maybe passing once or twice, before finally getting the chance to handle the basketball.

Which is why I don't like elaborate drills - the more time players get actively doing something, the more likely they are to get into the flow of the game quickly. So I keep my warm up drills simple and hands on, giving players as much time as possible to get their bodies and heads ready for the game.

My pre game warm up routine is quite simple and rarely do I change it up. Remember that your warm up routine is not just about preparing players' bodies for the next forty minutes, its also about preparing their minds.

Basketball Warm Up Drills
What They Aim To Do

  • Prepare the Body: the main element of a good warm up is to get the muscles loose and ready to push hard for the next forty-plus minutes. Which means you want to keep players moving as much as possible, and standing around as little as possible.

  • Refresh the Muscle Memory: which is another way to say, get your players' shooting form and ball handling and passing skills warmed up. Shooting, for example, requires proper form if you want consistency. But even with the most diligent practice, any player will be cold at the beginning, the shot "won't feel right" and they will need some time loosen up and remember their proepr form. Pre-game practice is the opportunity for your players to focus on getting their skill set warmed up as well as their muscles.

  • Prepare the Mind: players will be anxious going into any game, whether they show it or not. Which is why the warm up needs to be simple and familiar, so they can stop thinking and concentrate on something they know. Same principle as I talk about with foul shooting - the more familiarity they have in a strange situation, the less nervous they will be and the better they will perform.

So I usually run three pre-game drills: Lay Ups, Shooting Across the Key, and the drill below - Weave to Half, 2-on-1 Back. This last drill is simply a condensed version of two drills we run often in practice - the 3 man weave, and the 3-on-2 to 2-on-1 drill.

Basketball Warm Up Drills
Part 1: Weave to Half

  • Players set up as indicated in the diagram - three lines at the baseline, ball in the middle line, set up as if to run the 3 man weave.

  • The player in the center line begins by outletting the ball to one of the sides

  • The three players then run the three man weave drill to the half court line
Basketball Warm Up Drills - Weave to HalfWeave to Half

Basketball Warm Up Drills
Part 2: 2-on-1 Back

  • The player with the ball when they arrive at half places the ball on the floor in the center circle, and then immediately hustles back to play defense against the other two players.
  • Note: The player needs to place the ball at half, not throw it - i.e., he can't cheat and get a few extra seconds to set up by bouncing the ball away. Have the player bend down to place the ball in the circle
Basketball Warm Up Drills - 2 on 1 from Half2 on 1 from Half - Defense
  • One of the remaining players - the one naturally coming in on the next stage of the weave, in this illustration, player #1 - picks up the ball and the two remaining players play quick, fast break 2-on-1 against the third player back to their basket.

  • Note: This is a fast break drill, so offensive players need to attack the basket as quickly and aggressively as they can, and they only get one shot.
Basketball Warm Up Drills - 2 on 1 from Half2 on 1 from Half - Offense

Once they have taken their shot, all players go to the end of the lines - they should go to different lines than in their previous turn - and three more players begin the weave to half.

When I use this as a pre-game warm up, I usually run it after a few minutes of layups - the layups get the players a little loose before the Weave to Half; 2 on 1 Back gets them in game mode (because there is more "game-like" play involved in this drill, I don't like to run it first in the warm up - I'd rather have the players a little warm first)

As with all pre-game basketball warm up drills, impress upon players the need to get their heads in the game - don't shuffle through the defense portion, but play solid defense instead; go hard to the hoop; pass quick and accurate; etc.

And Good Luck!

"We have forty-four defenses for him, but he has forty-five ways to score."

- Al Attles, on Nate Archibald