Basketball Plays and Drills
The V-Cut Drive

Plenty of basketball plays and drills that we use in practice are focused on developing one particular skill. If you want your team to shoot better, you run some shooting drills; if their defense is lacking, we run defensive drills. And this is an important aspect of coaching basketball, or any sport for that matter: teach the basics and repeat the instruction until the skills are executed like second nature by our players, until they become defensive or shooting machines.

But basketball games don't happen piece by piece. We can't stop the game to set up a shot, or a pass, or to rebound. These things all need to happen together, fluently. So at some point we need to leave the stand-alone skills drills and incorporate drills that utilize several skill areas; mini-plays that we can run in practice that add a game-like environment and provide players the opportunity to use several skill areas in one sequence. Because if we don't do this, they won't understand how to use these skills in the game.

The V-Cut Drive is one of those drills.

Basketball Plays and Drills
The V-Cut Drive

Once you have taught and practiced basic skills (including the various types of cuts), use this multi-skill drill to sequence them together into a game like situation. This isn't a difficult drill, but it is quick and provides opportunity to incorporate off-ball movement, passing, faking, and driving against pressure.

The V-Cut

  • Players set up as in diagram 1
  • The player at the front of the line steps in to the player set up defensively on the post.
  • Planting his inside foot close to the defensive player, Player #3 pushes off hard and cuts quickly to the wing, looking for the pass
  • #1 at the point passes the ball into #3's cut

NOTE: #1 needs to pass ahead of the cutting player - i.e., he can't wait for the player to arrive at the wing

basketball plays and drills - the V Cut

The Drive

  • #3 receives the pass at the wing and squares up
  • #3 executes a shot-fake
  • #2 runs at him as if to block the shot
  • #3 drives hard past #2 and to the basket

NOTE: #2 charges hard at #3 as if he is intending to block his shot - he does not play it safe and wait for the drive

basketball plays and drills - the drive

Rotating Positions

  • #3 moves to defense (#2's position)
  • #2 moves to the point (#1's position)
  • #1 goes to the end of the line
  • #4 steps up to the cutter position at the front of the line
basketball plays and drills - rotating positions

Additional Thoughts on these Basketball Plays and Drills

Run this on both sides of the key, with players rotating through one side, then from passer (#1) to the end of the opposite line, and then working through that side.

Ensure players maintain a game-like atmosphere throughout, moving quickly, driving hard, snapping their passes.

basketball plays and drills - practicing both sides

We can't say that these types of basketball plays and drills, the ones that requires several skill areas to work in concert, are any more important than stand-alone skills drills - without the basic skills, players will be lost in the game.

But they should be regarded as a natural progression from the single-skill drills - once shooting has been taught and practiced, and passing has been taught and practiced, and a basic V-cut has been taught and practiced, combine them all to simulate game situations. Staying focused for too long an any one skill area, trying to perfect our players' shooting, or passing, or whatever, will not adequately prepare them for the game. That's where these multi-skill drills are vital.

"When you are not practicing,
someone else is getting better."

- Allen Iverson

Looking for something more visual?

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