Full-court, V-cut drill gets practices started From Keith Cooper, assistant men's coach, Central Washington University, Ellensburg, Washington

All coaches are aware of the importance of getting practice off to a good start. One of the best drills we’ve used to ensure a good start to practice is the full-court, V-cut drill.

This is a drill designed to incorporate multiple offensive fundamentals into a full-court drill in a short period of time. Once your players learn how to correctly do the drill, it usually takes only 10 minutes from start to finish.

How it works

The drill begins with players evenly distributed in four lines — labeled A, B, C and D — with each player in line A holding a basketball.

v-cut drillDIAGRAM 1: Full-court, V-cut drill. The first player in line B executes a V-cut downcourt and comes back to receive a pass from player A. Stress to the players in line B that they must aggressively come back to meet the pass.

After receiving the pass, player B uses a front pivot and passes to the first player in line C without traveling. Player C also uses a V-cut, and breaks hard to meet B’s pass.

Focusing on skills such as proper V-cuts and pivoting prevents many turnovers when pressure defense is applied in a live-game situation.

Communication and timing

To get your players in the habit of communicating, have your players constantly making verbal calls throughout the duration of the drill, with the passer calling out the receiver’s name and the receiver calling out the passer’s name.
One of the keys for good timing in this drill is to have the next player in line begin his or her V-cut while the ball is in the air and going toward the player who will become the passer.

All passes — except for backcut, backdoor or post-entry passes — should be crisp chest passes.

After passing, players run to the end of the next line. The first player in line D rebounds any misses and uses a 2-foot power layup to finish the play. After making the shot or follow-up shot, player D grabs the ball as it comes through the basket and speed dribbles the length of the floor outside of line C and shoots the appropriate shot at the other hoop. To keep things at a good pace or to mix things up and keep the players alert, have the coach call out or set up a sequence for the type of shot that your players in line D are to use (e.g. speed layup, reverse layup, pull-up, jump shot).

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If player D misses the shot, he or she rebounds and follows it up with a 2-foot power layup. The next player in line A takes the ball as it comes through the net and passes to the next player in line B, who is making the V-cut move toward line A.

As the drill progresses, the sequence of shots for the players in line D should be:

  1. Speed layup.
  2. Reverse layup.
  3. Catch-and-shoot jump shot.
  4. Pull-up jump shot, after a crossover dribble.
  5. Catch-and-shoot 3-point jump shot.
  6. Return pass to C for a 3-point jump shot from the top of the key.
  7. Return pass to C at the top of the key. D then posts up on the opposite low block, and C dribbles over to get a wing-to-low-post passing angle.
  8. Hard dribble by C directly at D, which is D’s signal to execute a backcut and look for a backdoor bounce pass from C.

The first player up in line A is called the “change-it” player, and when he or she gets back into the first-position spot in line A, it’s time to change to the next shot in the sequence. Shoot each shot twice.