Shooting Drill with Give and Go, Post Exercises

Notice: This article was written by Steve Jordan, Coach's Notebook. The drill itself came from Practical Modern Basketball, by John Wooden. Email the author at

Setup: This drill starts with 2 even lines at midcourt and three posts in the key area. Each line has two basketballs. Each line works with the post player on that side. Note there are three post players, but only two are active at once, one working with the right line and one working with the left line. After each pass to a cutter, the posts rotate, right post to left post; left post to rest; rest to right post. Cutters may be directed to specific cuts or allowed to make choices. Choices are good because they test the communication between post and cutter. Add defense vs cutter and post to provide challenges and expose weaknesses.

Benefits: Players learn passing, receiving, handoff, cutting and shooting skills. This drill offers a lot of flexibility in the passing angles and shot types. As always, proper execution is much more important than speed or changing the drill.

Pitfalls: Players making lazy passes and taking a slow approach to the basket. Watch out for ambiguous cuts. Make L cuts and V cuts instead. Post players being careless with the ball. Put a defensive player on the post (a good role for a coach who is otherwise not involved in the drill. Insist that lay-ups be initiated from the proper foot, for example and that V and L cuts are sharp, not rounded. Perform the drill as if it were a game situation. If players are struggling with timing, then slow it down and gradually speed it back up.

Here are some links to other layup drills on this site:

Lay up Drills I
Lay up Drills II
Lay up Drills III
Lay up Drills IV
Lay up Drills V



Diagram 1

Players 1 and 2 each have a basketball. So do 7 and 3. That's to speed things up so you don't need to wait for 1 and 2 to return the basketballs.

Players 4, 5 and 6 are posts. They will rotate after every pass they make.

Diagram 2

On the left side, Player 1 passes the ball to Player 5 who passes it back to Player 1, as Player 1 makes a cut to the basket. There is much room for creativity. Player 5 can return the ball at any point, not just the angle shown here. Also, Player 1 can (and should) vary the approach to the basket. That not only means the cut angle, it also means going on either side of the post. Very importantly, it means moving one way as a fake and then reversing direction to cut past the post.

Player 5 should be encouraged to add fakes and variety to the passes. For instance, fake a pass to the front and then pass just the cutter goes by.

If the cutter fakes left, then goes right, for example, it's a real nice touch if the post fakes a pass left as well.

On the right side, the same kind of interaction is going on between Players 2 and 4. If you are telling the players to do specific kinds of cuts, it works best if one side is doing layup and one side is shooting long.


Diagram 3

Players 1 and 2 must retrieve their own rebounds, Once they do, they must go to the other line, not the one they just came from.

Meanwhile, Players 3 and 7 are starting a new sequence. Notice that the three post players have rotated. This is a good element to preserve because it gets the posts in the habit of moving to a certain spot to get the ball. The third post doesn't do anything, but it give you a chance to have three players working the post and it provides a buffer in case the timing between the two lines gets a bit out of whack.

The post can also set up low on the blocks.


Diagram 4

To see if you are making any progress, add defenders. I usually ask for volunteers so there's no confusing rotations. For each line, one defender guards the man next in line, the other defender guards the post. The line defender should practice pass denial to the cutter. The post defender tries to prevent passes to and from the post. The posts will be forced to set up in a wide stance, provide passing targets and make good passes. The cutters need to signal their cuts (I recommend a fist for backdoor or a palm for a pass target.) A good practice is for the posts to "fake to the fist". The fake pass is the timing signal for the cutter to reverse direction.

After a little experience with this drill, my players were getting pretty good at changing direction to get open for a pass and shot. There are all kinds of ways they can use the post as a shooting screen, too.

Thge big payoff will be in the games when your kids start acting with better synergy between the posts and cutters.