30 second time outs

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Structuring Your Practice

The will to prepare is more important than the will to win.- - Bob Knight

The following practice structure chart helps the coach cover the all aspects of the game and ensures that they are emphasized accordingly. Listed in columns are things that we do every day, every other day, skills and strategies that are covered weekly, or just occasionally. What the drills are, specifically, isn't as important as having your favorite drills organized in a similar way.

Using a daily practice plan ensures that you’ll be prepared throughout practice. I like something simple with a place to draw diagrams if necessary. Try to adhere to the time as much as possible. Avoid going too long on a drill in an attempt to “get it right”. Sometimes going longer actually makes it worse. At times it’s better to just move on to the next item and come back to the next practice. I’d make a seasons worth of copies, with this Daily Practice Structure on the back. Looking at them in a 3-Ring binder, I’\d have the Structure on one page and the Plan on the other for easy planning. After practice I could then make notes for the next practice

During the PRE-PRACTICE segment, as players walk into the gym they get a basketball and do some individual ballhandling. Once they have a partner, they go to a basket and begin a shooting progression starting from in close.

A WALK-THRU follows going 1/2 speed and working on footwork, timing and execution. This is the time when the players minds are the most fresh and they should be able to absorb more information. This time typically involves more talking and instruction using the time before the body of practice is most efficient. Take precautions that this does not become competitive because players are not properly warmed up.

For WARM UP I prefer to gradually ease into a practice. After the ballhandling, shooting, and walk thru a series of footwork and passing drills is good to get the players moving and ready to compete. By this time players are in a full sweat and should work on fundamentals of offense & defense at game speed .

The FACTORY is where we go to work every day to improve our fundamentals and build our game. We do a variety of 3-5 minute drills in small groups at a very intense pace. This is most effective with supervision at each basket. Coaches should be active and motivating throughout the factory to keep the players working hard and executing properly. Anytime these drills can be made to simulate a game situation the players will benefit.

When SHOOTING, it’s important to shoot game shots from game spots at game speed. A variety of competitive shooting drills is good to keep the players fresh and motivated, but try not to fall into the trap of spending too much time “teaching” drills instead of skills.

During TEACHING segments we stop play for most teaching points and corrections. We really work on execution during these times. Slippage should not be tolerated and perfection is the goal.

The last part of practice consists of a series of COMPETITIVES that simulate game situations. We try to let them play and not stop for corrections too much. If any teaching is needed, we will sub and correct the players on the side. This way there is more continuity and flow. Winners get a drink, others condition.

It may be best to use CONDITIONERS during the body of practice, and with a ball, then players don't "save themselves" for the sprints after practice. Using them after competitive drills tends to make players a little more conscious of the score and provides an opportunity to reward winners with a little less running. Practicing free throws after conditioning is very game like and simulates shooting when fatigued, as in a game.

It’s important to periodically work on SPECIAL SITUATIONS covering various game situations and conditions. That way players are prepared for anything that may occur and be ready for most time and score scenarios.

The single most important thing for a coach to stress on any interscholastic team is the student/athletes’ ACADEMIC PERFORMACE. REVIEW FOLDERS will help keep track of every players progress. Each player could have a personal folder containing information on class schedule, grades and standardized test scores. A coach can update 2 or 3 players folder’s a day simply by asking players about their tests, assignments, projects, attendance, and behavior. By the end of the week each athlete will have had at least one conversation with a coach about the players grades.

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