8 quick drills to build your passers, catchers From Chris Beckman, contributing writer

Passing and catching is becoming a lost skill in today’s game. Many players are spending more time dunking, trying to dunk or attempting 3-point shots.

Photo: Thomas Sorenes

Passing and catching is really one action and should be treated as such. Much of a team’s success in running a motion offense, or a set play, is contingent on the fact that the ball will be passed and caught properly.

Coaches tend to place a great deal of importance on their team’s offensive turnovers. They feel they must average less than 12 turnovers a game to be successful. By being able to simply pass and catch the basketball, you can save two to five turnovers a game. These eight drills will help your players handle the ball better.

1. No Walk Drill (5 minutes)

This drill consists of two players and one ball. The players are 10 to 12 feet across from each other. The player with the ball will pass to his or her partner the partner will catch the ball with both feet in the air. This continues until you stop the drill. Utilize the chest bounce, overhead and skip pass in this drill.

2. Two-Ball Passing (2 minutes)

This drill consists of two players and two balls. The players are again 10 to 12 feet across from each other. The players will make right-handed and left-handed chest passes, and right-handed and left-handed bounce passes simultaneously. The purpose of the drill is getting them to pass as quickly as possible without making a turnover.

3. Bad Pass (2 minutes)

This drill consists of two players and one ball. The bad-pass drill is where the players throw bad passes to each other. The receiver must move both feet to the ball to get into position to catch it with two hands. This drill is especially good for working on short hops, bad bounces and odd-spinning passes.

4. Back To Passer (2 minutes)

The back-to-the-passer drill is where one player has his or her back turned to the other one. The player with the ball will call out the player’s name and makes a chest pass to the receiver. Upon hearing their name called, the receiver will turn completely to the ball with both hands, ready to catch the pass already on its way.

5. Keep Away (1 minute)

This drill consist of three players and one ball. The defender will be within the jump circle or the free-throw circle on the court, and the two passers will be standing on the circle. The passer’s job is to complete the pass without allowing the defender to touch it. If it is touched, the defender replaces the passer.

6. Three-Player Weave (5 minutes)

In this drill, have five groups of three and each group has a ball. The passer will pass to the teammate next to him or her and follow the pass, going behind the teammate. This is continued up the court until a layup is shot. The group will then come back down the floor the same way.

7. Machine Gun Passing (5 minutes)

This drill consists of seven players and two balls. One player in the middle must continuously make completed passes to the remaining players scattered along the 3-point line for 30 seconds. The players on the 3-point line must have his or her knees bent and hands ready. As soon as a ball is caught, it is passed back to the middle player. The middle player must pass the ball out immediately, but they cannot pass it to the same player that threw it to them. If a ball gets free on the perimeter, it equals 10 push-ups done at the end of the drill.

8. Four-Corner Passing (1 to 3 minutes)

This drill consists of 12 to 16 players and four balls. The players get in lines at the two blocks and the two elbows of the lane. Each line will have a ball. On the whistle, the players will pass to the right, follow their pass for a hand-off, return the hand-off, and rotate to the back of the line.

This is a continuous drill with all four balls moving at the same time. Have your players call out the player’s name they are passing to. On a second whistle, the players will switch the direction of the passes.

These are eight quick fundamental drills on passing and catching to make your players better passers and catchers. Practice at least two of these drills daily, spending at least 5 minutes — but usually 10 minutes — somewhere in practice on these drills. These drills, as well as the emphasis on passing and catching in scrimmage situations, will make your team much better ball handlers.