Lead and Catch Passing Drill

The Lead and Catch Passing Drill is a really great activity for developing the ability of players to create leads for the pass. With some of the variations possible the Lead and Catch Passing Drill is even able to help a team’s fast break and offensive transition phases of offense. This drill not only provides an opportunity to practice valuable technical skills, but also does so in a game realistic and frantic atmosphere.

Lead and Catch Passing Drill Diagram 1
Lead and Catch Passing Drill Diagram 1

The Lead and Catch Passing Drill starts with an offensive player on the foul line (One). This player has the ball and is trying to make a pass to the offensive player on the baseline.


An offensive and defensive player then match up on the baseline. The offensive player (Two) starts out of bounds on one side of the baseline. The defensive players positions themselves between the passer (One) and the intended target (Two).


Both the offensive and defensive player on the baseline can only move along this area. Neither player can move forwards towards the ball handler or backwards away from the baseline.


The object of the Lead and Catch Passing Drill is for the baseline offensive player to create a lead with the intention of being able to catch a pass from the player on the foul line.


Points of Note


Offensive players will require some time to learn how to fake and hedge to move the defender. This will take some time and coach must be patient in allowing the offensive player to practice and make mistakes.


Initially, the lead to put the defensive player away from the intend catching position might only be a head fake, or a couple of steps. Soon the offensive player will learn to not stop once they change direction following the lead for the ball or this will make the read for the passer impossible to tell what is happening. This will result in the offensive player learning to keep running until the pass is caught and securing in their possession.


This is a common mistake, as offensive players initially will duck, bob, and weave all over the baseline without really creating a passing opportunity worth taking.

Lead and Catch Passing Drill Diagram 2
Lead and Catch Passing Drill Diagram 2

The extension of this drill is to increase the passing distance and add an extra defender.


The passer who was not guarded initially in the Lead and Catch Passing Drill is now matched-up with a defender. This defender is attempting to steal or deflect the pass just the same as in a real game situation.


The passer cannot get any closer than in a line with the foul line. Any closer and the repetition must start again.


The baseline defender and offensive player have a similar brief as the previous scenario. Both of these players must remain parallel to the baseline at all times.


The focus for this variation of the Lead and Catch Passing Drill is on the passer more than the receiver. It is important that the passer start to read how the receiver is moving so they can anticipate what is going to happen and in so doing make a successful pass.


Point of Emphasis


Similar to the receiver on the baseline, the passer must start to create a lead. For example, this may look like the ball handler taking two or three hard dribbles in one direction away from the intended passing space, only to perform a crossover dribble, accelerate, and then finish in the desired passing zone.

Lead and Catch Passing Drill Diagram 3
Lead and Catch Passing Drill Diagram 3

The next variation to the Lead and Catch Passing Drill is to move all players onto the court so this allows players to move both towards and away from one another.


In this variation of the Lead and Catch Passing Drill the passer starts over halfway. The ball handler cannot cross the halfway line before making a pass.


The receiver and their defender must now stay on the court. Never moving any higher on the court then in line with the three-point line. Other than this restriction on movement the offensive player can move anywhere in the quarter court.


This variation on the Lead and Catch Passing Drill is useful for helping players develop the ability to catch more aggressively in similar conditions to that of a fast break or primary transition.


To further vary the drill once the offensive player has received the pass they can attempt to score.


The next stage of advancement in the Lead and Catch Passing Drill is to add a defender to the passer at halfway.

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Coach Riches has been working within the sport, business and education industries for many years. During this time he has built an extensive number of formal and informal qualifications. A firm believer in training and development designed to help people reach their full potential, relevant o their needs and functional to their industry environment.

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