star drill passing and catching

The Star Drill: The Basics

This classic passing and catching drill is equal parts conditioning, stick skills, and footwork. No matter if a player needs help communicating or passing and catching in traffic, teams and coaches at all levels will see huge improvements after running this drill a few times.

This is a great drill for just about any day at practice. It's a classic for a reason--it gives your players plenty of muscle memory and repetition focusing just on the basics of catching, cradling, and throwing while moving their feet. It doesn't get much more fundamental than that.

You can run this drill anywhere on the field--in the middle to get your players passing and catching on the run, or in the alley to get them moving the ball quickly in tight spaces.

Unlike traditional Line Drills, the Star Drill imitates game situations and teaches your players to receive the ball from one direction, look through traffic and move the ball to a different direction. There aren't very many times in a game where you pass the ball right back where you just got it from.

It also offers coaches plenty of flexibility. You can also use this drill to practice the Split Dodge, Roll Dodge, Quick Sticks, ground balls, etc. You can change up this drill to fit into any practice, camp, or clinic for any skill level. We've even seen college teams like Penn and Denver using it in their pregame warm-ups to get their Defenders comfortable handling the ball.


star drill basic set up

Figure 1. Set up 5 cones in a Star shape. The cones should be roughly 10 to 20 yards apart from each other. You can shrink the distance if necessary, depending on your players’ stick skills.

Put all of your players in a line behind one of the five cones. Be sure to mix offensive and defensive players together. Everybody on your team needs to be able to run, catch, and throw with both sides.

If you have more than 20 players at practice, create multiple sets of cones to ensure your players get the maximum repetitions in your drills. There’s no reason your players should come to practice to stand around waiting in line.

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  • Start a second ball at the same starting point to have two balls going in the same direction. Players will be forced to look and think ahead to the where the next ball is coming from.
  • Switch directions halfway through the drill- Move the ball counter-clockwise, catching and throwing with the left hand.
  • Time Your Drills for your players’ age and attention span. Move on to something else once a drill or game becomes unproductive.
  • Spread the drill out- Move the lines 20 or 30 yards apart to give players experience throwing and catching from any distance on the field.
  • Keep Score to make it competitive. Count up each completed pass. Set a total to reach before the drill can stop, or see what your team record is. The higher you get, the more pressure on players!


  • Put the cones closer together for faster passing and even more reps. Try 5 or 10 yards apart.
  • Ground Balls- Get players picking up ground balls to passing at lightning speed. Alternate ground balls and passes in the same drill--If you scoop the ball, move it. If you catch it, then roll it to the next guy.
  • Over-the-Shoulder- Move the ball clockwise. Have players catch an over-the-shoulder pass on the run with their right hand, switch hands and pass left-handed.
  • Split Dodge- Players will catch right handed and quickly Split Dodge the imaginary "Defender," then throw a left-handed pass.
  • Behind-the-Back (BTB) or Bounce Passes- Let your players practice these useful tricks in the same drill as an added incentive and a little extra fun.

Make sure to let us know if you have any great Star Drill variations of your own! We would love to share them.