Three Target Passing Drill

The Three Target Passing Drill is a great activity for helping players with their accuracy when passing. Many passing drills focus on passing, but with a wide margin of error in executing the pass. The Three Target Passing Drill looks to blend not only the act of passing in a game like situation, but also still challenge players to make the pass with very specific target margins.

Three Target Passing Drill Diagram 1
Three Target Passing Drill Diagram 1

The Three Target Passing Drill is set-up starts with three pairs of cones being placed onto the court in line with the double blocks across the court. The specific placement of the pairs of cones can be changed each time the passing drill is utilised so it is different for the players to experience. In the diagram above the cones have been placed with one “gate” (pair of cones) in front of the basket and the other two gates just outside the edge of the keyway.


An offensive player is placed between the line of cones and the baseline. Another offensive players starts in the Point Position with the ball.


The ball handler initiates the dribble by dribbling to one side and attempting to make a pass to the other offensive player running the baseline.


Once the receiver has caught the pass, the ball is passed back to the original passer and the activity continues.


One way of making the Three Target Passing Drill more challenging is for player to aim to make a certain amount of passes in a specific amount of time.


Remember: if the ball does not pass through the gate then the pass is deemed to be incomplete and does not count towards a players pass total.


Points of Emphasis


  • The passing technique should be the first aspect of the drill to be focused upon
  • Accuracy of the pass should only be focused upon once the technique of the passer has been refined
  • Catchers must be a good target; this means maintaining eye contact with the passer and carrying hands to provide a target for the passer to aim at


Ask the receiver to utilise game realistic movements like creating a lead so the passer has to change direction on the dribble and keep the ball alive. This will also help the passer in becoming more effective in reading what the intended target is doing and going. All of this knowledge will help the ball handler in meeting the demands of games.


If players are struggling to be able to make passes through the gates to the intended target simply increase the space between the two cones. This maybe especially true in the case of junior players still mastering the fundamental skills of the sport of basketball.


If on the other hand a team has players capable of making more challenging passes then the space between the cones can be reduced to make the Three Target Passing Drill more challenging.

Three Target Passing Drill Diagram 2
Three Target Passing Drill Diagram 2

In Diagram 2 of the Three Target Passing Drill a defender is now added.


The defender will follow the offensive player moving along the baseline in an attempt to run interference and deflect or steal the ball.


In this situation, the emphasis on creating leads for the ball becomes more and more important.


To make this variation of the Three Target Passing Drill easier simply increase the distance between the pairs of cones. This will allow the receiver some further options for movement and increase the ease at which they can become free of the defender.


Again, to increase the difficulty simply shorten the distance between the pairs of cones.


The Three Target Passing Drill looks to provide a slightly different spin on the standard passing drills commonly seen. By adding the extra demands of the target gates through which a successful pass has to be made this passing drill will even challenge the best passer within teams again and again.


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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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