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'Late-Game Competition' ... a great drill to develop end-game savvy

By Bill Winfrey

This drill / competition excites players and teaches great lessons on a crucial aspect of the game... handling the last seconds on the clock. They'll love it and they'll learn from it.

The set up is simple and your players will get lots of reps in a short amount of time.

Set Up:

  • 2 teams

  • 15 seconds on the clock (can vary)

  • each team gets 5 possessions, alternate turns with the ball

  • 1 point per bucket, keep score, losing team runs

  • on any foul, the offense goes to the line for 1 shot

  • all out of bounds is loss of possession no matter who it went off of (to teach the offense to be stronger and more sure with the ball)

  • play out each possession until ... 1) offense scores 2) time expires 3) ball goes out of bounds 4) defense gets a rebound and then completes a strong / under control pass to a teammate outside the 3 pt arc (to teach defensive rebounders to be tough, chin it, pivot, ball fake and complete a pass... no hail mary, off balance passes allowed). So, if the defense gets a rebound and there is still time on the clock, the team that just shot should try to trap the rebounder and steal a pass.


  • call things tight... if a player fouls, call it and send the offense to the line for 1 shot. If an offensive player charges... give the defense a chance at the line with one shot. If an an offensive guy sets a moving screen, call it. No gemmies here... make them earn it... it'll matter when the game is on the line. Much better to lose one here, than when it counts for real.

  • talk in between, about whats happening right and wrong... but keep it brief, remember they learn through experience more than words.

  • making it a competition is the real key, so let them know the score along the way.


  • more or less time on the clock

  • starting from different positions on the floor

  • crossing half court

  • out of bounds underneath

  • full court

  • sideline

  • from foul shot set up at the other end

  • start with one team up by 1... shooting a 1 and 1... with 30 seconds left


Help your players develop end-game savvy and clarity by this drill that creates a series / competition out of the last seconds of the game. It gives them plenty of reps and you plenty of opportunities to coach.

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