Mikan Drill

The Mikan Drill is a well-known activity for developing good around the basket technical skills. Primarily seen as a “Big Man” drill, it of course can be implemented to build competency in guards and forwards alike.


The Mikan Drill’s strength lies in the high repetition rate and therefore the ability for players to perform the desired technical skills multiple times in quick succession. A repetition for the Mikan Drill can be performed as quickly as once every 2-3 seconds so over the course of a one or two minute activity a very large amount of repetitions can be completed.


Another benefit of the Mikan Drill is the flexibility of the drill for use in individual and team based training sessions. As an individual based drill targets can be established for both time and/or consecutive made shots. An example for this might be to set a target of made shots in sixty seconds or a player must continue to reset the drill until they make sixty shots in a row.


In a team situation, the Mikan Drill is fantastic when incorporated into station work. For junior teams looking to work on a number of technical skills the Mikan Drill can be a very useful tool when partnered with other fundamental skill drills. Incorporated into a station system where rotations are completed every minute the Mikan Drill is an ideal solution. It can be used also used in groups of two just as effectively with a longer rotation time at each station.


One of the poorly utilised facets within the Mikan Drill is its versatility. The Mikan Drill can have a wide variety of technical skill variations included into the repetitions. Most coaches however would utilise the Mikan Drill purely for the left and right hand lay-up practice but other technical skills can be included. For example some of the possible technical skill variations could include:


  • Left Hand and Right Hand Lay-ups (facing baseline)
  • Reverse Left Hand and Right Hand Lay-ups (facing halfway line)
  • Power-lay-up
  • Shot-fake, Power-lay-up
  • Left Hand and Right Hand Hook-shot


To add some further complexity to the performance required by the player a coach can be situated out of bounds behind the backboard. As the player moves to collect the ball passing through the hoop the coach can call out a specific offensive move for the player to perform. The player continues to perform this technique until the coaches gives another direction.

Mikan Drill Diagram 1
Mikan Drill Diagram 1

The Mikan Drill starts with the player situated on one side of the hoop.


The player completes a lay-up and then steps under the basket (collecting the basketball) and finishes a lay-up on the opposite side of the rim. This pattern continues on the left and right side of the basket until the desired time or successively made number of baskets is achieved.


The player movement should be confined to the edges of the backboard.


Key Teaching Points:


  • A soft touch by the player is desired so the ball is pushed off the backboard through the hoop without touching the rim.
  • Footwork is important to ensure balance and rhythm for quick shots is achieved.
  • Players should be pivoting on the opposite foot to hand when squaring up to the basket (in standard lay-up). For example a player when lay-up with their left hand should be pivoting on their right foot.
  • When retrieving the ball out of the basket players should be encouraged to keep the ball above shoulder height; to promote muscle endurance and rebounding principles.
  • For interior players they can be encouraged to jump to retrieve the ball from the net and increase the speed of the activity; this is key technique for increasing the speed at which a ball in the game can be inbounded to start a team’s offensive transition and also ensures the drill is more physically demanding.
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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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