This week, I got inspired to go back to the basics. Just a quick 10 point checklist that will make your practices better.
Plan your practices in advance
Coach John Wooden use to write every practice plan on index cards. At the end, he’d jot down notes on how to improve next time and notes on each player.
Having a plan is the single best way to clarify your goals and help your players achieve those goals each practice. Even spending 5 minutes to quickly jot down an outline will help your practices.
2. Have all areas set up in advance
Setting up cones wastes alot of time. If you can ask your assistant coaches or team manager to help set up different areas before hand then you’ll save lots of time plus let your players know the importance of preparation.
3. Shake hands with their players when they arrive
Study after study has shown that shaking hands builds better trust and cooperation. It takes so little effort to do this but most people don’t do this.
4. Pre select workout groups (use pinnies/bibs)
Distributing bibs and creating teams for scrimmage is another waste of time that can be eliminated if you plan the teams in advance.
5. Before your start, explain the purpose of each practice
You want your players to be mentally engaged during training. They should be thinking about how to improve but alot of times, they just go through the motions. By explaining the purpose of each drill, it makes them think.
6. Aim to use natural court markings
It saves time and also gets the players familiar with the lines. Don’t use cones for everything.
7. Have players play in position if possible
This is more for higher level players, young players should play all positions. To get comfortable with their positions, try to mimic the situations they get in a game.
8. Use baskets if and include defenders
Shooting is the no.1 skill. Shoot as much as possible by using as many baskets as you have and use a defender as much as possible. Mimic real game situation.
9. Play short periods and demand intense work
Basketball is played in short spurts so we want to mimic this in our practices. Break it down into small but demanding periods. Drills that a competitive and have a winner/loser will make it intense.
10. Always keep score (individual or team)
This ties in with intensity and competition. Keeping score, no matter how unrelated it may feel will motivate your players. You can only improve what you measure.
How to plan your practices QUICKLY
If you’re reading this blog, you’re a coach that’s always learning and looking for new drills to add to your practices. However, it’s not very well organized. It’s on youtube, on some PDF and in your head.
It have over 1300+ drills with videos, explanation and setup instructions sorted by age, skill, team/individual and theme. There’s even ready made practice plans you can just follow or use a template.
Coaches tell me that they can plan a practice in 5-10 minutes on their phone with 1 hand.
Now look, I’m not asking you to look at your phone during practice. No, I don’t want that. I just want you to plan it and quickly glance at the practice plan. I even send the practice plan to my team before each practice so they get an idea of what’s coming.
Best of all, it tracks all your practice so you know how you’ve been spending your time. Lots of turnovers? Oh right, you’ve spent all your time shooting.
Give it a try, you’ll save time and your players will love you for it.