The Stockton Drill: Inside the Utah Jazz's Hellacious Conditioning Test

Named for legendary Jazz point guard John Stockton, the Stockton Drill is a brutal test of conditioning, coordination and grit.

The Stockton Drill.

Those three words are guaranteed to grab any Utah Jazz player's attention.

Initially brought to the franchise by former head coach Jerry Sloan, the Stockton Drill is a hellacious test of anaerobic endurance, coordination and will.

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The Stockton Drill.

Those three words are guaranteed to grab any Utah Jazz player's attention.

Initially brought to the franchise by former head coach Jerry Sloan, the Stockton Drill is a hellacious test of anaerobic endurance, coordination and will.

The Jazz use it in many contexts, such as an end-of-practice conditioning drill, but its most famous application is as a final test for already-tired prospects during pre-draft workouts.

Here's how the Stockton Drill works:

  • The player starts at one end of the court. On go, they must dribble down the court using only their off-hand (so if they're right-handed, their left hand) and make a lay-up.
  • They then must immediately turn around and dribble back to the other basket, again using only their off-hand, and make another lay-up.
  • The drill is complete when the player makes six lay-ups in this fashion.
  • The catch: to make their time "official," a player can only take three dribbles each time up the floor.
  • During pre-draft workouts with the Jazz, guards and wings are given 32 seconds to complete the drill. Bigs are allowed 34 seconds.

"We've had guys go through this drill and once they're finished, they just go flying and laying out on the floor because they're so tired," Walt Perrin, the team's Vice President of Player Personnel, told UtahJazz.com.

"It's a conditioning drill, but it's also a drill where you can see coordination in terms of using the off hand. And again, it's towards the end of the workout, which is pretty tough for some of these guys. (John Stockton) has the record. I think it's like 28 seconds. Most of these guys are struggling to get 32. I think Karl (Malone) was maybe at 30."

Stockton's phenomenal time is why the drill now bears his name inside the organization. It's alternatively known simply as the Six Lay-Up Drill. To give some context to Stockton's record-setting time of 28 seconds, Perrin claims he's yet to see a prospect break 30.

The point guard's hustle was legendary. Sloan has said he saw Stockton lose a Suicide Drill just once during his 19-year playing career, and it was on a day when he was sick.

"The Stockton drill…it's a beast," Donovan Mitchell recently told The Athletic.

It's safe to assume Mitchell must've done fairly well in the Stockton Drill during his pre-draft workout. The Jazz were so impressed with him after said workout that general manager Dennis Lindsey threatened to fire any staff member who divulged too many details on his performance, lest they blow their chance to land the dynamic star out of Louisville.

After a draft night deal with the Denver Nuggets, the Jazz got their man.

Photo Credit: Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

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Topics: BASKETBALL TRAINING | BASKETBALL DRILLS | NBA | UTAH JAZZ