A few weeks ago I gave you a set of overarching coaching philosophies from FIBA’s Youth Coaching Manual. This week, I focus in on the three best ideas provided by these experts to help you effectively prepare and execute your practices.
1. Always focus on the bigger picture
The “point” of any drill is to develop individual skills and additional team skills that can be applied in your offense or defense. Think of drills as an extension to your offense and defense, each drill is a “part” of a whole, a bigger picture. Make sure that players understand the bigger picture from the outset i.e how you want to play the game, but use drills to explain, develop and reinforce these ideas.
2. Avoid repetition
The biggest problem with drills is that players get bored and lose concentration, leading to poor execution. Whilst it’s good to have a standard set of drills that you run, always try to add at least one new drill each week. Create a portfolio of drills so that you can collect and have ready ones relevant to your system of play. Also try using drill stations! They prevent monotony and standing around by getting players to focus on one skill for a brief, intense period of time. Game based drills also might be your solution. These are competitive drills that are designed to mimic in-game scenarios, and engage your players in ways that “old school” drills don’t.
3. Keep the intensity up
As a coach, your role in practice in addition to teaching is to motivate your players. Be vocal! Let them know that you are watching every drill. Introduce new drills early on in practice, when concentration is high. Finally, when teaching fundamentals, split your players up into smaller groups of 3-5 and get your assistant coaches to help you. This will make sure that they do the basics with full focus and at high intensity.
One last tip: whether it’s looking for game based drills, trying to find new ideas, or even simply organizing your practice plan, the Practice Planner is the app for you. It’s free for now so why not download it and check it out?
Until next time, see you on the courts!
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