Three Lane Passing Drill

The Three Lane Passing Drill is a simple full court passing activity. The purpose of the Three Lane Passing Drill is to put players into a high speed, passing on the run situation so they develop the ability to become competent at passing, catching and laying the ball up at pace. The drill can be explained and implemented quickly to allow from a greater rate of drill repetitions to happen.


The Three Lane Passing Drill while not a very complex drill, it can be for younger players or those new to the sport, a challenging exercise. Initially when implementing the activity it will need to be performed at a very slow pace. It would not be unusual to have players needing a significant number of repetitions before they are able to perform the activity at game pace. To help with the players performance of the drill do not allow them to lay the ball up initially. Only pass the ball up the floor.


Some of the problems commonly seen when first implementing the Three Lane Passing Drill are:


  • Receiver targets not moving ahead of the passer
  • Receivers stopping to catch the ball
  • Receivers not showing hands as targets for the passer
  • Receivers not having soft hands; so the ball id often dropped when receiving the pass
  • Passers stopping to make a pass
  • Passes being made to where the player was and not where they are heading
  • Unable to execute a lay-up to finish the drill repetition; this is usually caused by players focusing too much on their positioning and footwork to execute the lay-up. This problem will more often than not be resolved once the players have had time to practice the drill sufficiently.
  • As the drill progresses the three lines will often come closer and closer together; players will need to focus not only on receiving the pass but where they are heading on the court


To get the most out of the Three Lane Passing Drill it is important to use this drill in conjunction with other drills that focus on similar skill sets. Adding defenders who are limited in their area of coverage such as staying within the keyway at each end of the floor might be useful in increasing the challenge for the players.


Another alternative for this drill is for player to perform the Three Lane Passing Drill on the way up the floor. But the player who lays the ball up is then the defender for the return trip back down the floor in a 2 v 1 situation. In this way, a different element to the activity can be included to make a simplistic drill more advanced and challenging.

Three Lane Passing Drill Diagram 1
Three Lane Passing Drill Diagram 1

The middle lane player starts with the ball on the baseline.


Players run up the full court passing through the middle lane. This activity is important to be performed at game pace to ensure the adequate amount of pressure is placed upon the players to perform the skill at the required level.


It is important that all players must stay in their lane. This will assist in fulfilling one of the key focuses of the drill on spatial awareness.


It is important that players master the skill of passing and catching on the run.


Variations include;


  • Use different passes
  • Lay-up at end of court run
  • Include two balls
  • Include three balls
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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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