These are some notes from Michigan Coach John Beilein that were recently sent out by Steve Smiley.

The first part is a little about philosophy and the second half covers some passing drills that Coach Belein uses.


  • The wolf gets his strength from the pack and the pack gets its strength from the leader
  • You can do anything you want in practice but not everything you want- simplify
  • Be who you are off the court on the court
  • Embrace adversity- let it push you forward
  • It is a marathon not a sprint
  • After all of your games watch what you say. After studying the film you will realize your team and your players were not as good or bad as you thought. Do not destroy their confidence.
  • There are lots of ways to win- open your mind
  • No turnovers- get a shot3 points is more than 2 points (film your shooters)


  • Make drills harder than the game will be
  • Tape them to show them how hard they are practicing
  • Give them goals and hold them accountable to them

Michigan Passing- 2 players and 1 ball

  • If the ball is in the air your feet are in the air to receive a pass
  • Catch it on 2 and step with a hot foot (the shooting hand foot)

Michigan Box Passing- 4 players and 1 ball

  • Same drill as 2-player drill with a catch, hot foot pivot right and a pass to the right
  • Same drill with a catch, hot foot pivot moving right foot to the left and a pass
  1. Pass to the outside hand
  2. Come open when the ball sees you by stepping down (out), showing hands, calling for the ball
  3. After passing move back in to re-establish 15-18 foot passing spacing
  • Blast to the ball
  1. Same drill with a catch, hot foot pivot left and a pass to the left but now you must run to the ball to catch it
  2. Throw to the outside hand
  3. Right foot on fire- move it quickly
  4. Bring the foot through before extending the arms to pass, as this will protect the ball

All of these drills can be done again by adding another ball

Perfect Passing- 10 perfect passes in 30 seconds

  • Players must complete 10 passes with perfection (outside hand, foot fire, 2 feet in the air, clean catch)- if they are not successful, they run until the 30 seconds is completed

Perfect Passing against Defense- 10 perfect passes against defense

  • Dribble the ball over half-court
  • 10 passes or 1 backdoor cut and a pass out of the backdoor qualifies as a success. Play team against team and transition on turnovers
  • 5 perfect passes with 1 dribble

Playing 4 against 5 defenders. Same rules as before. Play team against team and transition on turnovers

Michigan Penetrate the lane- 4 balls and 8 players with 4 stationary defenders
Show shot (shot fake or can use a pass fake) while keeping knees bent and shoulders low

  • Drive right past the defender body to body with one or 2 dribbles
  • Jump stop and shot fake
  • Pass to the player in the line to the right of you
  • This player is calling out “1 more, 1 more”
  • Try to get into the lane with 1 dribble
  • Catch the ball on a hop
  • The dummy defender does not move but has wide hands
  • Have soft feet on the jabs and on the catch/hop
  • When the ball penetrates the lane and gets picked up, you should hear a pop of the ball(ball slap)

Same drill but go left with a crossover move with the hot foot

  • Shot fake and pass to the left and rotate left

Same drill with a right attack and a spin dribble

  • Pass left

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