Build Those ‘Animal’ Instincts

From Nancy Jones, head girls coach at Twin Falls High in Idaho

The ‘Animal Drill’ develops the toughness you want combined with the quick-thinking you need for players to continue to improve within your program.

Why use it

Many transition drills feature a set offensive and defensive team. In this drill, the players determine which side gets the opportunity to score based on initial hustle.

Set up

Station yourself at one end of the court with a ball. Position three players near mid-court on one side of the floor and three players near mid-court on the other side.

How to play

Start the drill by rolling the ball toward mid-court [1].

On your call (see Technique, below), selected players rush after it and the team whose player grabs the ball first is on offense [2].

The athletes play 2-on-2 (or 1-on-1 or 3-on-3 depending on your initial call) in the full-court setting until someone scores.

This means if the defenders make a stop, they earn the right to break in the opposite direction and attempt to score [3].


As you release the ball, yell out a famous player’s name or a math problem.

For example, if you call out, “Michael Jordan!” then the players are thinking of 23 (his number) and it signifies the second and third players are participating in this drill.

Or, you may say, “39 divided by 3” to come up with “13” to signal the first and third players take the floor.

This added wrinkle forces players to think quickly on their feet.

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