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The Piston Drill



The Piston Drill focuses on what basketball is all about - a fast break game. Our players need to always be looking for the opportunity to get down the court ahead of the defense; at the same time, we need to be able to transition from offense to defense instantly, and to get down the court fast to cut off any fast breaks.


The Piston Drill is a simple drill that practices both sides of that, as well as providing excellent conditioning as it has players sprinting the length of the court.


Instructions to Players

Here's what players need to focus on:

  • The defensive player cannot start sprinting until the offensive player puts the ball on the floor

  • The defensive player must use a proper, hard chest pass to outlet the ball to the offensive player - no slow looping passes

  • The offensive player cannot drift down the court while waiting for the pass - he must remain in his spot until he receives the ball



How the Piston Drill Works

  • Players line in two lines - the defensive line on the baseline slightly to the side of the basket, the offensive line at the outlet, closer to the sideline

  • The ball begins with the defensive player

  • The first player in the defensive line (#1) executes a good chest pass to the first player in the offensive line (#2)

  • Immediately upon receiving the pass, #2 breaks hard to the opposite basket

  • As soon as #2 puts the ball on the floor, #1 sprints down court, with the objective of stopping #2's layup

  • After #2 makes the layup, or is stopped by #1, the players switch positions and repeat the drill on the other side of the court

Piston Drill




Notes for Players

  • The defensive player ideally wants to get down the court much earlier than the offensive player, to set up in his path and make the offensive player pull up

    • in a game situation, this would mean the fast break is dead and the defensive player should have reinforcements arrive to help out before a decent shot can be taken

  • If the defensive player cannot get down court in enough time to set up in front of the offensive player, his best option is to simply run in front of the offensive player, straight across his path.

    • Usually, this will cause the offensive player to travel, or to at least pick up the ball when he doesn't want to and take an off-balance shot. It increases his likelihood of missing the shot.

    • The defensive player shouldn't swipe at the ball as he passes, risking a foul, and he must get back into play immediately to grab the rebound - he can't run out of bounds and then watch the play from the sidelines.

  • The offensive player needs to protect the ball and focus on finishing the drive - unless the defensive player is set up well ahead of him, the offensive player needs to take the ball hard to the hoop.

    • He should not pull up and shoot - the fast break layup is almost always preferable to a pull up jumper, since players are usually moving too fast to get control of their momentum for a jump shot.

    • Usually, by driving hard to the hoop, the offensive player will either get the layup or draw the foul


The Piston Drill is a great drill, especially for teams that fast break a lot. Finishing on the fast break is imperative. Every coach has come across the situation where he has a player that is able to drive hard, but then miss the layup. The focus of this drill for the offensive player needs to be to finish against pressure.



Leave the Piston Drill for more Top Basketball Drills here


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