THE FILL DRILL

Summary
Teach your players how to “fill” the spaces their teammates have created, with this full court team drill. We’ll also show you how you can apply it to your structures in both attack and defence!

Level
Intermediate

Players
8+

Equipment
1 ball
Bibs

Coaching points
– The drill starts similarly to a “SPLIT AND RE-OFFER”, with two players splitting on leads up the court. One player receives the pass, while the second player then pushes off and drives crosscourt down the court as an option for the next pass.
– In this drill, however, the first player doesn’t make that pass (as if the second player is covered by a defender), and a third player then enters the play, driving up the court to receive a pass in the space that the second player has created. The second player then cuts back towards the middle to link and receive the final pass.
– The first and third players then reset in the middle of the court and perform a split and re-offer. The player who receives the re-offer effectively becomes the passer for the players set up at the other end of the court, and the drill continues.
– Ensure the player who “fills” the space waits until the driving player has almost completed their drive before offering up the court, otherwise they’ll end up driving on top of each other. It’s all about the timing, and holding that lead until the space has definitely opened up.
– As your team becomes more proficient at the drill, you might ask your “fill” player to perform a preliminary move before driving up the court.
PROGRESSION 1 Add a defender onto the splitting players at both ends of the court. Now the passer must choose the ‘open’ option to pass to, and the ‘defended’ player must then drive towards the pocket, taking their defender with them to create space, which is then filled by the third player coming up the court.
– You may choose to add more defenders, including one on the “fill” player, to put pressure on their drive and ensure they complete a preliminary move.
– You may also choose to allow ‘defended’ player to receive the second pass downcourt if they’re open, just as they would in a match situation. This means the ‘fill’ player must wait to see if the ‘defended’ player receives the pass. If the ‘defended’ player does get free and receives the pass, the ‘fill’ player isn’t required to fill the space, and can stay deep on the baseline.
PROGRESSION 2 – You can use the “fill” concept on both your defensive throw-ins and centre passes, as well as when you transition the ball down the court. Practice your players taking that long, deep drive to commit defenders and clear space, and the players downcourt then driving into the space that’s been created.