Youth Basketball Practice Drills
The "No Weave" 3-Man Passing Drill

Youth basketball practice drills should be focused on fundamental skills, but at the same time we want them to move towards a game-like quality. This is a little difficult to do with younger players, as they haven't had the experience yet to allow them to move and space well as in a game. Which is why this passing drill is a good introduction to playing proper basketball games.

Playing basketball requires many skills, but if I had to point to the most common weak points of almost every team I have coached, I would have to say it would be passing. Players go away at the end of the season and come back after summer break, and their shot is still okay, they can dribble okay, maybe even rebound better (particularly if they had a growth spurt over the summer!).

But invariably, passing has become sloppy from too little practice and too many pick up games. Which is why you want to teach it well at a young level and really ingrain into your players how to pass properly.

This passing drill focuses on making strong chest passes, leading a player who is on the move. It is a good "in-between" drill from the more simple passing drills and the venerable 3-Man Weave.

Youth Basketball Practice Drills
Running the "No Weave" 3-Man Passing Drill

Players set up in three lanes; each player in the middle lane has a ball.

  • The center player (#1) executes a strong chest pass to the wing (#2), and then sprints ahead up court
  • The wing receives the pass and immediately passes back to the center, and then sprints ahead
  • The center receives and passes on to the opposite wing (#3), and then sprints ahead
  • The wing (#3) receives and returns the pass to the center
  • This passing pattern continues (center  - wing 1 - center - wing 2 - center) until they are close enough to the basket for the center player to bounce pass to one of the wings, who goes in to lay the ball in.
  • The wing that didn't score (#2 in this example) picks the ball out of the net, the two wings switch sides (center stays in the center), #2 outlets to the center player and they repeat the passing pattern back to the starting point.
Youth Basketball Practice Drills - 3 Man Passing3-Man Passing Drill

Youth Basketball Practice Drills
Reminders to Players in this Passing Drill

A few things to remind players:

  • There should be no travels - players receive the ball as they are landing mid-run, and pass immediately before they can take any steps

  • Eyes up always - look ahead to see the floor
  • Always proper chest pass form (except for the bounce pass at the end)
  • Receiver must put his hand out to give the passer a target
  • The only time the ball should hit the floor is on that final bounce pass - the scorer should not need a dribble, but rather receives the pass as he is starting his two steps in to the hoop
  • Always push them to finish the layup - doing all the hard work to get the ball down the court and then missing the layup is not acceptable

A good youth basketball practice drill that focuses on form and execution in a controlled game-like situation.

The more they do this and the more confident they become with their passing skills, the quicker they can run this drill, until they get to game speed. And like I mentioned already, this is a great precursor to the 3 Man Weave (it's also a good tryouts drill to run, since it is fairly easy to catch on to and lets you evaluate passing skills along with how well players can run a drill and follow instruction)

“The fundamentals of the game are the same wherever you go: pass, dribble, shoot, defend, rebound, screen, play hard and together”

– Terry Stotts

Looking for something more visual?

Try UMass Head Coach Derek Kellogg's video package of drills