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Basketball Conditioning Drills - Firedrill

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This is one of the mentally toughest drills we run. This is a three on three game with one team taking the ball out of bounds as if a basket had just been scored. The 3 defenders play full-court pressure and attempt to deny all inbounds passes. What makes this game different is that we allow no dribbles. Most pressure defenses can be effectively broken down with quick passes and the dribble. However this teaches players to rely on one or two good dribblers.

This drill emphasizes moving without the ball, because without good hard cuts and sharp passes down the court, you can never get in a position to score. We also restrict lob passes over the top of any defender as well. This forces the offensive players to make hard L or V cuts to get open. A dribble or lob pass is considered a turnover and the ball is dropped in place, and the defending team immediately trys to score, by the pass in the other direction.

We play to the first 3 man team to score two baskets. Simple enough, however the losers must stay on the court and defend a fresh offensive team. If a team plays poor defense they may be on the court for several minutes making it that much more difficult to score when they do get the ball.

Fouls are whistled by the assistant coach, or manager, and play is initiated with an inbounds pass closest to the point of the foul.

There are very few drills that will condition your players like this one. It is called the Fire Drill because your legs are usually burning after a few minutes of this high physically intensive drill.

Number of Players:

Minimum of 6, but works best with 3 or 4 different teams of 3 players.


Encourage your players to play hard and concentrate on good cutting and passing technique. The better technically the defense plays, the quicker they can force a turnover and make quick transition from passes for an easy score. A lazy team, or play will be on the court for a considerable amount of time, and is penalized by having to play harder and longer to get off the court.


If your defenders are excellent players we may allow the long pass, or even one or two dribbles by the offense, although this drill works best without the dribble.


Moving without the ball against pressure defense and physical conditioning


This basketball drill is licensed under a Creative Commons License. This drill is from Pål Degerstrøm at www.degerstrom.com/basketball.

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