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Youth Basketball Training:
Practice Drills for the Pick n Roll

It should be during youth basketball training when the basic fundamentals of the game are introduced and focused on - good offensive movement like setting screens, cutting, and pick n rolls; good basic defensive fundamentals, good offensive skills like shooting, passing, dribbling. When practice drills are used, the focus should be on improving players' basic skill levels.

Once you have taught your players how to perform the pick n roll, and they look reasonably confident running it, add in one or two of these drills to practice it.


Begin by teaching the movement, and then have players line up at the top of the key (split the team into two if you can - one line at each end of the court, with managers at each end to supervise and you moving back and forth to oversee)

Basketball Practice Drill #1:
The 3 Man Pick 'n Roll

  • Player #2 sets a pick for player #1.

  • Coach calls out either drive or pass as the pick is being made

    • If drive is called, player #1 drives past the pick hard to the hoop

    • If pass is called, player #1 drives past the pick and then quickly passes to player #2, who takes the ball hard to the hoop

  • After everyone runs through the drill several times and is comfortable with it, coach stops calling the plays and the players mix it up as they want

  • Progression: ball carrier to defense to screener to end of the line
youth basketball training - 3 man drill

Basketball Practice Drill #2:
The 4 Man Pick 'n Roll

Same as the 3 man pick 'n roll, but now with two defensive players.

  • This is also a good opportunity for the defensive players to practice their defense

  • The defensive player guarding the screener must call "Pick Left / Right!" as the pick is coming, to warn his teammate

  • The man guarding the screener must then decide if it is a good screen

    • If it is a good screen, he calls "Switch!" and the two defensive men switch men - picking up each other's man

    • If the screen is poorly done, he should call "Fight!", signaling to his teammate that he should fight through the pick and they should keep their own men

  • Progression: ball carrier to defense on ball carrier to screener to defense on screener to end of the line
youth basketball training - 4 man drill

Basketball Practice Drill #3:
3 on 3

Players play 3-on-3, running cuts, screens, fakes - using whatever basketball offensive moves they have worked on in the previous sessions. First team to reach 5 points wins, and the next team is rotated in to play the winning team (try to make teams even).

Youth Basketball Training:
Important Points to Emphasize during Practice Drills

In all drills, players need to focus on the following:

  • Good solid picks - the man being picked should be completely tied up and unable to fight through the screen

  • The man with the ball needs to set up the pick - if the pick is coming from the left, then the ball carrier should fake as if he is going right before driving left - so that the defensive man isn't able to prepare for the pick

  • Always practice as if in a game situation - drives need to be hard drives, passes need to be good solid game-situation passes (e.g., no underhand tosses, but good hard chest passes or bounce passes)

  • Always make the shot - if the player misses a basket, he rebounds hard and goes back up with it until it goes in.

  • Defense plays hard defense - always

Remember, it is during youth basketball training sessions that younger players learn the basics that they will use throughout their basketball careers. The Pick n Roll is probably the most used basic play out there - make sure they can use it well!

Find more ideas for Youth Basketball Training here

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"When I was young, I never wanted to leave the court until I got things exactly correct. My dream was to become a pro."
- Larry Bird

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Want something more visual?

Check out UMass Head Coach Derek Kellogg's video package of drills


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