Many of our drills are designed to work the habit of Circle Movement even if we haven’t yet taught Circle Movement in Layer 4. We do it in Full Court Trips during Trip 3 (Reverse Dribble), and our ‘Circle Movement Shooting Drill‘ is another that does the same, which allows us to install it on Day 1.

We normally run this for 10 minutes with half of the team on each end of the court, starting on the right side.  We go 1:30 shot fake and drive, 1:30 shot fake-escape dribble jumper, and 2:00 catch and shoot.  Then we switch ENDS (they are now all on the left side of court) and work back down.  2:00 catch and shoot, 1:30 shot fake-escape dribble jumper, 1:30 shot fake and drive.

We use this drill to collapse time frames by emphasizing ball fakes before the pass, jump stop finishes, great closeouts, making great shot fakes, calling names out on passes, and covering ground with our dribble. All while training the habit of Circle Movement!

We choose 2 different spots to start from each day to change the spots we shoot from as well as the passing and driving angles, but the drill stays the same.

2 things to watch:

  1. Watch the lines. The line with the ball may start moving closer to the arc and failing to practice dribble moves. The line that is circle moving may start to float toward the shooting spot, thus not truly training circle movement habit. Keep the passing line 6-8 feet outside the arc and the shooting line a full spot away to start. Use your mats if you have them.
  2. Watch the closeouts. This is a great opportunity to work defensive fundamentals in a ‘shooting’ drill! Don’t let the players closing out go through the motions, and make sure they finish in a defensive stance (even add a box out on the catch and shoot). It helps your shooters to practice shooting with a defender closing out on them.

Try it out and see what you think. Emphasize the fundamentals that are most important to you. You can get a lot done in this simple drill.

Tell us your thoughts below!

8 Responses

  1. Great drill and we have used it every day. One question on the write-up. Does “driving to the elbow” go away from the emphasis on straight-line drives? We typically tell our guys to get two feet in the lane, jump stop and make the pass.
    We’ve also done this with the safety valve reverse pivot. Have you run it off opp movement? I.E. from the wing, penetrate middle above post and natural pitch is opposite wing in 5 out?
    Do you do this competitively for both groups where they are shooting to a number or against the other group?
    Great submission as always. Coach C.

  2. This is great. For youth teams I would make a third line under the basket for Ds. It only takes one or two youth who can not carry several actions in their mind at one time to create confussion. I have one or two players who need more reps with game like action. I need to help them look good. If they get confussed over a game like action, we can work through it. but if it is a non-game action I think it is best to protect them from what could cause negative emotions. The confussion may not be in this drill, but come later in a combo drill or actual game.

  3. I had the same questions and thoughts as above. Thank you for answering them with sincerity and brevity. When you have time, could you address the R and R in a 3 out set vs a 2-3 zone? Statistically should a poor shooting team fast break more or look to slow down for the best shot? no shot clock. Thank you.

  4. Great reply. This comes at exactly the time in my season where I am weighing this particular situation. I like that this drill gets a closeout that works D and helps bring the intensity and game like condition up. I will work with this, thanks for the post.

  5. If this is a concern, and I can see where it might be, add one additional player to the drill.

    New player (X7) is the defender on 2. X7 helps on the drive by 1, stops 1 from getting to the goal. 1 passes to 2 and continues the cut. 1 execute post slides if 2 drives, gets weakside rebound if 2 shoots. X7 recovers to 2 with closeout on pass from 1 to 2.

    1 goes to X7, X7 goes to the end of the line, 2 does same as before.

    1. This is not a bad adjustment, and we have experimented with this as well as having a coach or manager play that role. We simply felt that we could get more reps working on the multiple fundamentals and that the drill had better flow (without affecting habits) with only 2 players in at a time. Certainly if you feel your team is having trouble with Pass and Cut or you see this drill confusing players, you can adjust accordingly.

  6. I like this drill coach. Does passing and closing out go against the habit of passing and cutting? We are repping circle movement a ton right now and I dont have an easy answer to this one. Should they pass and basket cut? That’s what we have been teaching. If so then your drill just becomes the basic 3 man drill only with two players and some added development. I’m curious about your thoughts on this.

    1. This is something we went back and forth on as we designed the drill, but ultimately decided that the pass and cut layer is very easy for players to pick up and that this drill does not hinder their mastery of the habit. Further, the passer is not standing on the perimeter making a perimeter pass, they are using dribble penetration to setup the pass. So, while their next move would be to basket cut in a game situation, this change is far more subtle and we felt for the sake of the drill that it was more important to have them close out on the shooter and work their defensive fundamentals. The players realize it is a drill and focus on the fundamentals being taught rather than mimicking game actions. In other words, we have not seen our players start to close out on teammates in games!

      Note: Full Court Trips is similar in this regard. We do not take the ball out of bounds and go the other direction on made baskets in games, but the drill is effective in repping our Fast Break options.

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