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Exceptional Team Drills:
The 11 Man Drill

The 11 Man Drill is one of those exceptional team drills you want to use every practice - it is always my favorite way to finish off basketball practice. It was my favorite way to end a practice when I was a player, and I've only grown to like it more as a coach. A fast break drill that rewards aggressive rebounding, this comes as close to an open scrimmage as you can get without actually playing a full game. And it's much faster than a full game of basketball.

Basketball players love it. They get to run out any energy they have left, they get to have fun, and more than anything else, they get solid practice in positioning and rebounding. This is an excellent team drill that rewards aggression - one of those necessary player qualities that is so hard to teach.

It's possible for a player to stay in the game indefinitely, as long as he keeps bringing down the rebounds. But then, the drill requires a lot of sprinting, and players will tire, so anyone able to run three or four breaks in a row is doing an excellent job for you.

Instructions to Players

Here's what players need to focus on:

  • This is a fast break drill, so the offense's approach needs to be fast

  • Offense is only allowed one shot - then the ball is up for grabs for all

  • Enforce the rule that players at the outlets cannot drift upcourt - as the play gets heated, they will want to do this - remind them that, in a game situation, putting distance between the passer and outlet allows defenders room to steal the outlet pass

  • On the fast break portion, sprint hard and focus on finishing the break strong - they'll be looking at 2-3 passes at the most before they'll have to take the shot

How this Top Team Drill Works

  • Players set up as indicated in the diagram - 1 player at each of the outlet positions; two players at each end prepared to play defense; three players at center court - with the ball - prepared for offense. Any extra players are spread among the outlet positions.

  • At the coach's whistle, the three offensive players attack in fast break style
Team Drills - 11 man drill 1

  • The three offensive players attack the defense quickly, taking their shot

  • Immediately once the shot is taken, all players crash the boards - whoever rebounds the ball, whether defense or offense, treats the rebound as a defensive rebound and looks to the closest outlet position for an outlet pass
Team Drills - 11 man drill 2

  • The ball is rebounded and passed to the nearest outlet

  • The player receiving the outlet pass dribbles the ball to the middle to lead the fast break

  • The player at the outlet position on the other side of the court becomes the second offensive player, running the lane on that side

  • The rebounder sprints behind the ball carrier to fill the lane on the outlet side

  • These three players now fast break against the two defensive players at the opposite end of the court
Team Drills - 11 man drill 3

  • As this new fast break is happening, the players that remain at the other end take up positions either at the outlet spots or in the defensive positions

  • How this is decided is up to you: you could just let them work it out for themselves - those who want to stay in defense, stay; those who want to be on the outlet move out

  • Or you could stipulate that any player that was playing defense but doesn't get the rebound must stay in defense until he does get a rebound
Team Drills - 11 man drill 4

  • The fast break at the other end continues, with the offense moving the ball quickly at the defense

  • Everything happens in the same manner as before, with the rebounder outletting the ball and the two outlets and the rebounder becoming the fast break moving in the opposite direction
Team Drills - 11 man drill 5

The drill continues until the coach calls it finished - you'll know when to call it, since your players will start to get really sloppy as they get tired, making poor passes and loping up the court. I generally run this drill for the last 10 minutes of practice.

This is a great team drill, easily one of the best I've run. I categorize it as a Top Basketball Drill because players love it, it builds competitiveness and aggression, rewards good positioning and rebounding skills, and is a great way to end practice.

More Top Team Drills here

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