The Alley Drill

By Randy Brown


Written by Brandon Reichert for Randy Brown

The Alley Drill



The Alley Drill-1on1


How the drill works

  • Offensive player and defensive player are playing 1v1.
  • Offensive player is trying to get to the basket while staying inside the “alley” created by the cones.
  • The offensive player must stay inbounds and not move the cones. There is no out of bounds for the defense.
  • Defensive player is trying to keep the offensive player from scoring or forcing them out of the “alley” without fouling.
  • Reinforces the concept of “Zero Gap” when the defenders heels touch the paint. Zero gap means skin to skin with wide, active feet, and hands up and out.


WHY we teach it

The alley drill is the #1 way to teach footwork, body discipline, and toughness for both the offense and the defense. The offensive player is forced to be quick and precise with their attack to the basket. Many times, they will be forced to finish through contact in order to win the possession. The defensive player must play physical without fouling. The successful defender must stay disciplined by moving their feet and keeping their hands up and out, so we are “showing the ref our hands.” Angles are a major part of the game on both ends. Even in a small space like the lane, this teaches many angles. What is a good angle for one, will be a mistake or turnover for the other. Overall, this drill allows players to compete at 100% effort while working on multiple areas of their game. Usually, the toughest and most disciplined player will win.


HOW we teach it

            The offensive player will start at the top of the key with the ball. He/she is limited to 3 dribbles per possession. The goal is to get an angle on the defender and finish at the rim. Any shot outside 10 feet is a turnover. The defensive player is expected to play physical defense without fouling. Their hands are up and out so they can’t swipe at the ball. Their feet are wide and active. Cardinal Rule–The player that stops moving their feet first, loses! Keep track of this as you watch and you’ll see how true it is. Their objective is to keep the offensive player from scoring, playing physical with chest and lower body, and contest the shot. On a miss, a two handed rebound is the key. The possession is finished on a made shot, or when the defense forces the offensive player outside of the “alley” or secures the rebound after a missed shot. The defense must get three successful stops before rotating to the offensive line.

Distance from the rim: I will start at the top of the key, then move to closer locations such as the FT line, 12 feet, 9 feet, 6 feet, and right in front of the rim.

Scoring: Each possession is worth a point for either a made shot or a successful defensive stop. You can require the defender gets 1, 2, or 3 stops before getting out. You can play this 1 on 1 with two players, or have the defender defend different players each possession. It can be played as an individual game or a team game.


The ways we get BETTER

–Body and mind discipline


–Defend physical without fouling

–The mentality of owning the lane

–Make every shot difficult with physical play and shot contest

–Builds the importance of two handed rebounding

–Build mastery with our zero gap

–Improve understanding of angles

–Footwork–always keep feet moving

–Stance–keep low and powerful during the entire possession







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Randy Brown

Randy Brown assists coaches of all levels around the world to help improve our ability to teach the game of basketball the right way.

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