Russian Passing Drill

Drills that challenge players in varying difficulties are great as stepping stones for a team’s develop and the Russian Passing Drill is one of these. The Russian Passing Drill provides an opportunity to tie a simple passing concept to the added pressure with some restricted defence. The purpose of the Russian Passing Drill is to reinforce high speed fast break and transition offense passing.


Remember: any type of fast break or transition drill needs to be practiced at full pace from the very start. There is not benefit in focusing first on the finer technique of running basketball, because once speed is introduced the performance of the skill will change. This is because the dynamic and physiological demands of a high speeding moving person trying to perform picture perfect technical skill just do not work. Your players must learn to perform the skill after they reach the acceptable and demanded speed to compete in the level of competition they play in.


Learning the technique and then adding speed will only serve to waste time, and time as any coach knows in your season is at a premium.


Some of the Points of Emphasis for the Russian Passing Drill are:


  • Players must always give a target to their team mates; players should create a good habit of carrying hands as targets out in front of their bodies.
  • Players should use verbal cues to communicate with team mates; players if they are available for a pass to be made to them, need to communicate verbally with their team mates.
  • Players must catch and pass without dribbling or travelling; players need to be pushed to catch and pass on the run. Dribbling the ball in transition is an instant handbrake to the speed of your team’s offense. If you want to develop the speed of a true fast break or transition offense worth having then dealing with the mistakes early will be rewarded later on.
  • Once a player passes they must accelerate to get in front of the passer they will receive the ball from; players should be passing and then moving into a full sprint while they do not have the ball. Players should be made aware that you expect them to move faster without the ball then with it.
  • Players can pass back to the person who they received a pass from in this drill; this is an initial step which will help your players move up the court, but as they develop confidence and become comfortable with the execution of the drill you can insist they pass from one side to the other.
Russian Passing Drill Diagram 1
Russian Passing Drill Diagram 1

Player’s One (1), Two (2) and Three (3) run the full court.


Defensive players One (1), Two (2) and Three (3) (inside the jump ball circles) must keep one foot inside the circle while playing defence.


Defensive players can jump and move around but must maintain one foot inside the jump circle.


Player One (1) passes the ball left or right, and then must make a lead for the return pass. Ball must be passed through the centre.


No skip passes from one side of the floor to the other.


No player is allowed to dribble the ball.


The offence looks to make a lay-up once it reaches the opposite end of the floor.


The Russian Passing Drill is a great drill to develop basic passing skills at pace with controlled and restricted defence.

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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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