3-on-2 drill gets players running, filling proper lanes From Wim Cluytens, basketball coach, Mechelen, Belgium

Utilize your drills in practice to work on game situations. One of the most frequent game situations to drill is the odd-numbered fast break from an offensive and defensive standpoint.

3-on-2 basketball drill 1In the 3-on-2 drill, your offensive players learn how to fill the proper lanes during a full-court fast break. And, your defenders understand where they need to be when they’re outnumbered in a fast-break situation.

DIAGRAM 1: To start, five players stand near the sideline. The first three players (1, 2 and 3) become the offense, while the other two (X1 and X2) become the defense. The first player in line is holding the basketball.

On the coach’s signal, 1 dribbles to the elbow and takes a jump shot. 1 eventually slides to one of the sidelines to receive the outlet pass. 2 and 3 run to the basket for the rebound. 1 tracks where the ball ends up and which rebounder grabs it. 1 then slides to that side of the court to receive the outlet pass.

  » ALSO SEE: Teaching players to run an aggressive fast break

1 positions himself with his back to the sideline and at the free-throw line extended or higher, depending on the location of the rebounders. A variation has 1 passing to 2 or 3 for a layup instead of taking a jump shot.

DIAGRAM 2: The drill continues with 1 dribbling to the middle of the court, while 2 and 3 fill the outside lanes. The outlet passer, in this case 2, follows his pass and wraps around 1. 3 fills the outside lane on the other side. 2 and 3 cross underneath the basket as they begin to fill the lanes.

3-on-2 basketball drill 2The defenders first must touch the center circle with their feet, then retreat back on defense. They wait for the offense in a tandem position with one at the top of the key and the other in the paint.

A variation on this has the defenders running to the far endline first (instead of the center circle) away from the offensive end, touching the endline with both feet, then getting into defensive position. In this variation, the defenders also could sprint to midcourt to stop the fast break, as opposed to waiting back in the front court.

A final variation puts X1 and X2 starting the offense by themselves with 1, 2 and 3 retreating on defense to teach players how to attack a defense, which has the numbers.

With all of the components of this drill, you can teach or correct players in the following nine areas:

  • Shot after dribble.
  • Offensive rebounding.
  • Full-speed layups.
  • Outlet passing.
  • Filling the lanes.
  • 2-on-3 defense.
  • 3-on-2 defense.
  • 3-on-2 offense.
  • 2-on-3 offense.