Drill: Relay Race

Dribbling is often the first skill we learn in basketball. But still we often see players at every age and level who are not comfortable with dribbling on higher tempo. This is a critical limitation – basketball can be a very fast paced game, and the sport is only getting faster.

A relay race is a fundamental exercise that gets players familiar with fast paced dribbling. In today’s game, being able to lead the fast-break is a skill everyone wants to have. It doesn’t take a high level of ball handling to be able to move up the court quickly, in a straight line, pushing the ball out in front of you.

Try to experiment with relay races, emphasizing the fast-break skills of running up and down the court, pushing the ball out in front, and keeping your head and eyes up.

Relay Race

DESCRIPTION Split players into even lines along the baseline – players at the front of each line starts with a basketball. On the whistle, the first player will dribble to the other end of the court and back as fast as they can. As a player finishes, he gives the ball to the next teammate in line. Players who are finished can sit down at the back of the line, and the first line to finish wins the race!
SKILL FOCUS Ball Handling, Conditioning
AGE (STAGE) Ages 8+ ( Learn-to-Train)
PLAYERS 3+ per group
EQUIPMENT 1 basketball per group


Relays can be easily turned into more serious drills to focus on specific skills. For example, if the coach blows the whistle while players are in their sprint have them come to a jump stop (while keeping the dribble). Focus on proper stationary dribbling for a few seconds, then blow the whistle again to continue the sprint. This is a good adjustment drill to help players get used to changing of pace on a fast break.

Remember that basketball is a game of habits – even if it is as simple as sprinting up the court. What are your favourite was to build habits? Let us know in the comments below!

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