Triangle Offense Shooting Drill
Shooting Off the Triangle

The triangle offense is a part of a great many basketball plays, and for good reason - when it is run well, it frees up at least one of the players for a decent shot, and it flows well into a lot of plays. This shooting drill works on improving players' abilities to shoot when that triangle opens up shots; it helps them to better understand when the shot will open up, where to look to pass, and in general, helps them play basketball better.

The triangle offense is not, on its own, an offensive play. But if you look at the movements within this mini-play, you'll see a lot of good stuff happening - pass and screen away, pick and roll out to basket, cutting off a screen to the ball - and if you break apart a lot of man-to-man offenses, and even some zone offenses, you'll find this little set of movements in quite a few, pretty much exactly as you find it here.

This is a shooting drill centered around the triangle movement. It reinforces the movement first of all, but also focuses the players on identifying and taking the shots as they become available.

Triangle Offense Drill

Players Involved: 3

Equipment Needed: 1 basket + 1 basketball

When running this drill, the first round should be run without shooting, with the focus solely on the movements required of the drill. Subsequent rounds should then focus on the shooting - taking the shots as they come available, with players trying to get passes in and take shots from every position, with every cut.

Triangle Offense Drill
How this Shooting Drill Works

  • Players take up three positions as in the diagram - one at each corner of the foul line, one at the low post on the block. One player at the foul line (#1) has a ball

  • The player with the ball (#1) passes across the foul line to the player opposite (#2)

  • #1 immediately screens for the player on the low post (#3) who cuts up to #1's position

  • #1, after making the screen and waiting a moment to simulate the contact, rolls out to the basket and flashes to the opposite post
Triangle Offense Drill

The same sequence of movement is now done on the opposite side of the key.

  • #2 passes the ball across the foul line to #3
  • #2 immediately sets a screen for #1, who cuts to the top of the key in the position vacated by #2
  • #2 rolls out of the screen to the basket, flashing across the key to the opposite low post. Again, #2 must wait a moment before rolling to simulate the contact that would normally be made during the screen in a game situation

Triangle Offense Drill

And the drill continues in this fashion for a few minutes, until the coach is satisfied that the players understand the movements and can run them well. Then, in the next round, players take shots from the various positions, with either the coach calling out which shot to take or the players simply rotating shots at random.

Shots Players Should Look For

This triangle offense opens up several shots, with these being the main shots players should be looking for:

  • Jump shot from foul line upon receiving pass across (including when low post flashes to top off screen)
  • Drive from foul line upon receiving pass across (including when low post flashes to top off screen)
  • Baby hook/reverse layup as they roll out from the screen beneath the basket

A few more coaching points

  • Players should be receiving the ball at the foul line in ready position to shoot, pass or drive (triple threat position) - balanced with knees bent, low center of gravity, squaring immediately to the hoop, ball in shooting hand and non-shooting hand supporting it, eyes fixed on a point just below rim
  • On the jump shot, ensure good form; shooting just as the player reaches the peak of the jump, jumping straight up
  • When setting screens, remind players to practice setting screens properly (easy to get lazy on this in practice)

The triangle offense is a great practice drill for several things - shooting, screens, passing - but it is also a great introduction to players on the movement that happens within a basketball play, regardless of the play you are using. Work this drill into your practices, especially at the beginning of the preseason as an extension of your screening fundamentals and before you introduce your offensive plays.

"Continuous effort - not strength or intelligence - is the key to unlocking our potential."

- Liane Cardes