Drill: Pass and Chase

Imagine you are in a very close game with 30 seconds left in the 4th quarter and your team is on defense. You steal the ball from the opposing team, and are now on a breakaway with defenders sprinting down the court to try and stop you from making that basket. How do you make that lay-up while moving at such a fast pace and under various amounts of pressure? Developing this skill may take some practice; however, this drill will help young athletes feel more comfortable in making lay-ups under pressure in a fun and engaging way.

As we all know in the game of basketball, lay-ups are the highest percentage shot that all athletes, no matter the age or level, must be able to develop in order to efficiently play the game. When young athletes are just starting the game, coaches often teach the fundamental basic movement skills and steps on how to execute a proper lay-up.

However, as the young athletes get older, a simple layup may become increasingly more difficult with the various amounts of pressure added by the defense. A crucial step as athletes advance in the game of basketball is learning how to make that lay-up under pressure in a game situation, and possibly drawing a foul to complete the “and-1” basket.

Although this skill does not develop over night, this drill allows athletes to simulate an in-game scenario where the defense tries to prevent the breakaway layup and challenges the offensive player to make a layup under pressure. Through executing the drill, the offensive player learns how to still be in control of the ball and their body while finishing the layup under pressure. The drill is able to focus on ball control, speed as well as passing techniques.

With continued practice, the young athletes on your team will be able to make layups under pressure while staying calm, cool, and collected!

Take a look below at the “chaser layups” video instructed by NBA legend Dominique Wilkins as he explores how to efficiently score fast break layups.  This video shows one variation of the “chaser” drill by starting the athletes at the half-court line. However, it is the same concept for doing full-court layups.

DESCRIPTION Split players into two groups; one group lines up on the baseline at the lane line with a ball. The other group starts at the wing without a ball. The baseline player passes the ball to the player on the wing, and that is when the chase begins! Once the pass is made, the player on the wing must sprint to the end of the floor, while dribbling the ball, for a lay-up. The player chasing must try and tag the offensive player on the arm; therefore, ending the drill. Once the offensive player is tagged, the two players are able to engage in 1-on-1 play back down the court before switching into the opposite line (offensive player goes into defensive line and vice versa).
SKILL FOCUS Passing, Movement, Ball Handling, Layups under pressure, Speed
AGE (STAGE) 8+ (Learn to Train Stage)
PLAYERS 2+
EQUIPMENT  1 basketball per pair
VARIATION: Pass and Chase Coaches are able to change the starting positions of either player, in order to adjust the difficulty for either player.
Key Teaching Points Coach the chasing player to sprint directly to the rim, rather than trying to follow the player with the ball

Ensure the player dribbling the ball up the floor is keeping their head up, pushing the ball out ahead of them and sprinting to make the lay-up

Coach the offensive player that once they are close enough to the basket to complete the lay-up, that it is okay to slow down and focus on making the lay-up.

What do you think of this drill? Any other comments and/or variations, please feel free to comment or share any thoughts below!

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