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Pace-Changing Basketball Practice Activities

Pace-Changing Basketball Practice Activities

Getting the right rhythm and flow to practice remains one of the most challenging aspects for most basketball coaches. It’s important to change up your approach from time to time to prevent players from getting board or simply going through the motions. Adding pace-changing basketball practice activities can inject new life into each session and set players up for success.

Basketball Practice Activities: Opposites

Opposites is a 10-minute scrimmage where every player can only use their opposite hand to dribble, pass, and shoot. Their strong hand can only be used to catch passes, and as a guide for shooting and dribbling transfers. Coaches ref the scrimmage to make sure everybody’s sticking to the rules. Every player on the winning team gets 1 point for “The Practice Breakers Board.”

This activity is hilariously fun, but also strongly encourages each player to work intensely on developing their opposite hand. It gets them in the habit of forcing the issue, and experiencing the intial ups and downs along with the rest of the team. “Opposites” is a tremendous team confidence builder, and is truely a blast. Have fun!

Basketball Practice Activities: Half-Court Heroes

For “Half-court Heroes,” 3 players spread across the half-court stripe. They will all back up several feet, and with a running start at the coach’s whistle, will each take a halfcourt shot at the same time. The challenge is for them to choose the proper height, distance, and speed that will allow their shot to arrive at a different time than their two teammates. Thus giving their shot a better opportunity to go in.

The only true rule is that all three players must shoot at the same time. Coaches ref this activity as well, and often join in with the team, which makes it even more fun. The player with the most makes at the end of 10 minutes, gets a point on “The Practice Breakers Board.” Your team will love it!

Basketball Practice Activities: Stick and Pick

“Stick and Pick” is one of the most engaging basketball practice activities. The coaches select a specific shot for every player to shoot. Whoever makes(sticks) it first, gets to pick the next shot for everybody to take until the next make, which can be any shot they want, regardless of the difficulty. The more difficult each shot becomes, the safer it becomes for the current leader to protect their point for “The Practice Breakers Board”.

There are only 2 simple rules. First, the shot must be attempted from no more than a few feet beyond the 3 point line, and must be shot from in bounds. Second, the line must rotate in order every practice, so each player gets the chance to be the first shooter. It’s very similar to “H.O.R.S.E.”, but is so much more challenging and engaging.

The last player to make a shot at the end of 10 minutes, will of course, get a point on “The Practice Breakers Board”. This is also another great opportunity for coaches to participate whenever they see fit. Enjoy!


Related: Simplifying your Basketball Practice Planning


Resources:


Coach Unplugged Podcast: 

Youth Player Development

Ep 1417 Four Great Practice Drills


If you found this useful, don’t forget to check out additional blog posts at TeachHoops.com. Also, check out TeachHoops on FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.


Next Play Hoops Playbook Offer

TO DEVELOP AN UNSTOPPABLE BASKETBALL TEAM AND DOMINATE YOUR LEAGUE, YOU NEED PROVEN OFFENSIVE AND DEFENSIVE PLAYS! 

Click here for: Proven Basketball Playbooks, Drills and Strategies!

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3-2-1 Youth Basketball Shooting Drill

3-2-1 Youth Basketball Shooting Drill

When developing any youth basketball shooting drill, a good coach must consider what types of shots they want to focus on. Drills should reinforce the skills that will help the players perform within the context of a game. So shooting drills should be designed around shots that would normally result from a team’s offensive actions. The best basketball shooting drills are representative of a team’s base offense.

Youth Basketball Shooting Drill: 3-2-1 Shooting

This drill involves at least two players and is a high-volume, high-repetition practice. Over the course of one or two minutes, non-stop, a single shooter progresses through a series of jump shots. The other player rebounds and feeds the shooter from near the hoop.

The shooter begins behind the three-point line for their first shot. From there, the shooter moves into the midrange for their second shot. The last shot in the sequence is a layup (which is worth one point). The rebounder keeps track of the shooter’s score as their teammate progresses through the drill. After the time is up, the players switch roles.

This shooting drill provides valuable practice for any shooter, regardless of talent-level. The shooter must move, set their feet and find a repeatable release. Even the other player gets reps at securing rebounds and making solid passes.

This drill can incorporate internal competition as well. The two partnered players can compete with one another, or with another pair at another hoop.

3-2-1 Youth basketball shooting drill


Related: Shooting Drills and Skill Development


Basketball Shooting Drill Resources:


Coach Unplugged Podcast: 

Youth Player Development

Ep 1507: 2 Individual Basketball Shooting Drills


If you found this useful, don’t forget to check out additional blog posts at TeachHoops.com. Also, check out TeachHoops on FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.


Next Play Hoops Playbook Offer

TO DEVELOP AN UNSTOPPABLE BASKETBALL TEAM AND DOMINATE YOUR LEAGUE, YOU NEED PROVEN OFFENSIVE AND DEFENSIVE PLAYS! 

Click here for: Proven Basketball Playbooks, Drills and Strategies!

Don’t miss out on big discounts for TeachHoops Readers:
  • Code: TeachHoops (for 20 percent off)
  • Code: Combo25 (for 25 percent off combo packs)
Passing Drills for Basketball Practice or Pre-Game

Passing Drills for Basketball Practice or Pre-Game

One of the most important elements to designing a valuable practice plan is deciding what core basketball elements you’ll concentrate on. So when deciding between basketball practice warm up drills, it’s important for a coach to know where the focus will be. Many practices begin with traditional layup lines, jump shots, and passing drills. But how often are the players simply going through the motions of those drills? Installing the right warm up drills will vastly improve the efficiency of your practice.

Getting your players warmed up and ready to compete needs to happen at the start of every practice. So why not use that segment to instill core elements to your offense and defense?

Warm-Up Passing Drills: Pivot Pass

One of the better warm up passing drills incorporates pivot passing.  While this passing drill remains a staple at the youth level, there are practical elements here that can be incorporated into the practice plan of more advanced teams.

This drill stresses the specific development basic footwork. Players pair off and stand in four lines. If the players start on the baseline, they explode out with an attack dribble to the free throw line extended area. From there, the players jump stop, reverse pivot then pass to their partner at the baseline. The partner receives the pass an immediately explodes into the dribble.

Basketball Practice Warm Up Drills

The reverse pivot helps practice creating space, a necessary skill for any level of player. Coaches can layer shot fakes, step throughs, rips, etc. Change the specific pivot foot for the players and force them to adjust. Even the most athletic players may struggle with this seemingly basic drill because it layers specific movements and does so quickly.

Warm Up Passing Drills: Argentina Passing

Coaches always love drills that do double duty. When a drill that incorporates multiple basketball elements can be used, it helps maximize the value of that practice segment. Drills that develop specific skills and other elements like conditioning and/or communication are inherently more valuable than single-focus drills.

Argentina Passing sports that layered value because players progressing through the drill develop their passing skills, as well as hand-eye coordination, communication and conditioning. Passing drills in general get players mentally focused, and this one gets them moving as well.

basketball practice warm up drills 1

Eight players start on the court for this basketball practice warm up drill. Each player stands partnered with the teammate directly across or diagonally across from them in the half court. The two balls start with the center players and those players pass to their right. Immediately after a player passes, they cut across the court and exchange places with their partner.

basketball practice warm up drills

This drill rises above a normal passing drill because the players are sprinting through once they’ve made their pass. Players must concentrate on the catch, using a reverse pivot to open their hips on the catch.

Passes exclusively run to one side, meaning the players are always either passing to the right or the left. Coaches can focus on specific pass types. Coaches can also reverse the drill after a set amount of time.

Players work on passing, foot work, communication and conditioning through the drill.

Warm Up Passing Drills: Star Passing

Star Passing is common one in many gyms, but this version of the drill incorporates the necessary element of finishing with a made basket. This doubles well not only as a basketball practice warm up drill, but also as a game warm up.

Basketball Practice Warm Up DrillsThe drill begins with players arrayed in a star across the half court. The ball starts with the line under the basket. There are lines in the corners, as well as on the wings.

The first pass goes from under the basket to the left wing. The passer follows their pass and joins the end of that line. From there, the left wing passes to the right corner and follows. Right corner makes a baseline pass to the left corner and follows.

The final move in this initial turn through the drill involves the left corner feeding the player that cuts from the right wing. That player receives the pass and finishes the turn with a layup.

Variations of the drill can incorporate a number of additional basketball elements. Coaches can require that the ball never hits the floor. They can reverse the flow of the drill to work on left-hand layups. Coaches can have a defender waiting at the rim to challenge the finisher. The list goes on an on.


Related: Best Basic Passing Drills for Kids


Resources:


Coach Unplugged Podcast: 

Youth Player Development

Ep: 528 Basketball Passing and Receiving


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Next Play Hoops Playbook Offer

TO DEVELOP AN UNSTOPPABLE BASKETBALL TEAM AND DOMINATE YOUR LEAGUE, YOU NEED PROVEN OFFENSIVE AND DEFENSIVE PLAYS! 

Click here for: Proven Basketball Playbooks, Drills and Strategies!

Don’t miss out on big discounts for TeachHoops Readers:
  • Code: TeachHoops (for 20 percent off)
  • Code: Combo25 (for 25 percent off combo packs)
Using Competitive Games in Basketball Practice

Using Competitive Games in Basketball Practice

Basketball coaches everywhere are constantly searching for new Competitive Practice Games. Keeping young players engaged throughout a practice period often means mixing up physical warm-ups and stretching, technical drills and competitive contests. Coaches need to layer the information and embed key skills before introducing and installing specific sets.

But running through the same drills over and over can result in bored, disengaged players. Yes, they need to master the basic layup. But running through the same two-line drill every practice might have players check-out on their coach. So here’s a look at some competitive games to try at your next basketball practice.

Competitive Games in Basketball Practice: 4-on-4 Cut Throat

4-on-4 Cut Throat stands as a favorite drill among young players because of its game-like nature. For coaches, 4-on-4 Cut Throat provides each basketball practice with the opportunity to stress and develop specific elements of the game.

4-on-4 Cut Throat is a high-energy, high-movement drill. Coaches divide their teams into sets of four, with two groups on the floor at all times. Through each progression, players navigate the possession, looking to score or get a stop. As each possession ends, the successful team (the one that scored or made the stop) stays on the floor, while the losing group comes off. The waiting team comes on and fills the vacancy.

Coaches can allow the players to free play, or can install specific needs in a possession. The free-flowing nature of the drill allows players to learn on the fly. Whatever a coach decides to emphasize in the drill often translates directly to the game.

Emphasis: Build solid offensive and defensive habits. The hidden value remains the opportunity for coaches to provide direct instruction to the teams that lose a possession. As the losing team comes off the floor, a coach can immediately pull them aside and talk through what went wrong while the other two teams progress through the drill.

Competitive Games in Basketball Practice: One-Way Basket

This is a full-court competitive game that allows coaches to install a specific play or set, while also practice key defensive principles. In the half court, the offense runs their first action against a full compliment of defenders. If this action results in a basket, then the offense and defense switch. But if the defense gets a stop, then it’s a full court game.

The defensive stop flows into transition offense as that squad seeks to score. Only points scored off of defensive stops count in this competitive practice game. This game should flow back and forth for several minutes before coaches change anything.

Emphasis: Defense. Basketball coaches that incorporate this competitive practice game look to establish the mindset that the team needs to focus on getting defensive stops before getting to the offensive end of the floor.

It’s important for coaches to allow their players to play through their mistakes and learn as these competitive practice games to unfold. These controlled situations and scrimmages also provide plenty of information for coaching staffs to digest. They’re learning the strengths and weaknesses of their teams.


Related: Competitive Shooting Drills


Resources:


Coach Unplugged Podcast: 

Youth Player Development

Ep: 1075 Winning Practices and Competitive Practices


If you found this useful, don’t forget to check out additional blog posts at TeachHoops.com. Also, check out TeachHoops on FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.


Next Play Hoops Playbook Offer

TO DEVELOP AN UNSTOPPABLE BASKETBALL TEAM AND DOMINATE YOUR LEAGUE, YOU NEED PROVEN OFFENSIVE AND DEFENSIVE PLAYS! 

Click here for: Proven Basketball Playbooks, Drills and Strategies!

Don’t miss out on big discounts for TeachHoops Readers:
  • Code: TeachHoops (for 20 percent off)
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Pre-Practice Basketball Warm-Up Routine

Pre-Practice Basketball Warm-Up Routine

Developing the right pre-practice basketball warm-up routine remains one of the keys to an efficient practice plan. What the players do prior the structured nature of practice begins often allows coaches to build on specific foundations for success. This helps players get better before  practice even starts.

I’ve always found it very interesting to watch and take notice how players prepare themselves while waiting for practice to officially start. All too often they will walk into the gym, sit on the sidelines and “stretch” while they talk to teammates. Eventually they might get up, grab a ball, take a shot, walk after it, talk to another teammate, take another shot, walk after it, and on and on. Before long, everyone has arrived, practice starts, and the first several minutes are completely wasted because no one is warmed up or “into it” yet.

Wouldn’t it be much better for everyone on the team if players used those few minutes before practice to get thoroughly warmed up and focused while doing some skill work at the same time?

Here’s a look at a valuable basketball warm-up routine to implement this season.

Pre-Practice Basketball Warm-up Routine

Part 1: Simple Running

The running segment of this basketball warm-up routine is intended to build some stamina and prevent injury. Go down and back before going to the next option. If are running with a partner, the spacing is such as one partner gets to half court then the other one goes.

  • Jog – Easy jog, with both hands up, down the length of court. Pause and jog back to starting baseline.
  • Backpedal – Run to half court with hands up, turn and run backwards to baseline. Pause and repeat back to starting baseline.
  • Carioca – Facing side of court, use crossover steps to run the length of the court with your hands up. Pause and facing same side of the court continue using cross over steps to return back to the original baseline.
  • Skipping – Go length of floor while skipping as high as possible. Jump high with right knee coming up toward chest and right hand extending as high as possible. Land and repeat with left leg and left hand. Pause and continue back to starting baseline. Remember that you want jump as high as possible on each jump.
  • Hopping – On one leg hop back and forth over the sideline while travelling the length of the court. At half court, change legs and continue to hop back and forth over the same line all the way down to the baseline. Pause and continue back to your original starting point. This is an exercise that many skiers use to increase the strength of their ankles.
  • Sprints – Sprint to half court and then jog to the baseline. Pause and repeat back to the original baseline.
  • Defensive Slides – Run to half court, turn and defensive slide to the baseline. Rest and repeat.

Part 2: Shooting

Although these shooting drills may seem simple and redundant, they are vital to becoming a good shooter. They also should be done any time you practice on your own:

McHales

Tip the ball one handed off the backboard (or wall) 10 consecutive times right handed. Then tip 10 consecutive times left handed. You may try to tip the tenth repetition into the basket.

Be off the ground for each tip and learn to control the ball with your finger tips. (Repeat three times for a total 60 tips).

Mikans

Face the basket, take a step with your left foot toward the right side of the basket and shoot a right hand lay-up off the backboard. Rebound the ball and take a step with your right foot to the left side of the basket and shoot a left-handed lay-up.

Keep the ball high and do not ever allow the ball to come below your outstretched arms. Continue until you make 12 shots. (Repeat 3 times for a total of 36 shots).

Rodmans

On right side of the basket, toss the ball high off backboard. Jump up and rebound it, keeping arms straight. Without bending arms, quickly bounce off both feet and shoot the ball into the basket. Quickness is important on this shot.

Repeat on left side of basket, shooting with left hand. Continue alternating right side and left side until you make 12 shots. (Repeat 3 times for a total of 36 shots).

Daily Dozen

From the right elbow (corner of the free throw line) take one dribble to the basket and shoot a right-handed, over-hand lay-up off the glass. Rebound the ball and take two dribbles out to the opposite (left) elbow. Pivot without stopping the dribble and take one dribble to the basket shooting a left-handed, over-hand lay-up.

Go hard to the basket and keep your head up and eyes on target. Dribble with your right hand on right side of basket and with left hand on left side of basket. Continue until you make 12 shots. (Repeat 3 times for a total of 36 shots).

Game Shots

This is not a random “shoot and talk” segment. Concentrate on the areas and types of shots that you will be taking during an actual game. Be sure to include some free throws. Remember – game shots at game speed.

By the time you finish this warm up you should have broken a sweat and be prepared both physically and mentally ready to make the most of official practice.


Related: Key Basketball Warmups: Hamstring Stretches


Resources:

Pre-Game Warm Up PDF Book


Coach Unplugged Podcast: 

Youth Player Development

Ep: 793 Basketball Warm Up Drills


If you found this useful, don’t forget to check out additional blog posts at TeachHoops.com. Also, check out TeachHoops on FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.


Next Play Hoops Playbook Offer

TO DEVELOP AN UNSTOPPABLE BASKETBALL TEAM AND DOMINATE YOUR LEAGUE, YOU NEED PROVEN OFFENSIVE AND DEFENSIVE PLAYS! 

Click here for: Proven Basketball Playbooks, Drills and Strategies!

Don’t miss out on big discounts for TeachHoops Readers:
  • Code: TeachHoops (for 20 percent off)
  • Code: Combo25 (for 25 percent off combo packs)
Basketball Team Defense Drills: 5 Stops

Basketball Team Defense Drills: 5 Stops

Any good basketball coach knows, in order to go on a run in a game, you’ll need consecutive stops on defense. These stops can facilitate a fast break offense and help your team control the clock. But in order to get these stops, your team must stand on those important defensive foundations laid during practice. These skills and strategies should be ingrained in your players, and developing solid team defense drills often helps in this regard.

The following drill might be a simple one, but it helps stress those foundational skills and strategies. It also forces the team to understand the value of getting multiple defensive stops to take control of a game. Here’s a look.

Team Defense Drills: 5 Stops

5 Stops stands out among most team defense drills because of its versatility for basketball coaches. This is a competitive practice drill that allows your team to work on both your half court offense and your half court defense. Coaches can deploy the team’s base defense for each repetition, or sprinkle in specials.

The progression for this drill is simple: the teams play a “live” 5-on-5 half court set where the defense works to get a single stop. Stops are defined as gaining possession of the ball either through a defensive rebound or turnover. After one successful stop, the defense then must repeat that process for five consecutive possessions.

Defenses are allowed just one foul per five stops. Should the defense foul twice before achieving five stops, the counter resets. Once each team has reached five stops, the drill can continue with four straight stops, then three, two, and one. The offensive team should remain aggressive to challenge the defense throughout this team drill.

This drill is typically done when half court defense is the emphasis for practice. It can be adjusted to 4-on-4 if the team has 12 active players for practice. Coaches can choose to have the defense make five straight stops, or alternate with each possession, keeping score along the way.

Points of Emphasis:

  • Communication – The defense “talk” throughout the possession, calling out cutters, rotations, etc.
  • Active Hands – Defenders must play “big,” challenging each pass and shot attempt without fouling.
  • Mental Toughness – Recording five straight defensive stops isn’t easy, so defenders must be mentally ready for the challenge.

Related: 10 Plays to Build Basketball Team Chemistry


Resources:

TO DEVELOP AN UNSTOPPABLE BASKETBALL TEAM AND DOMINATE YOUR LEAGUE, YOU NEED PROVEN OFFENSIVE AND DEFENSIVE PLAYS! 

Click here for: Proven Basketball Playbooks, Drills and Strategies!

Don’t miss out on big discounts for TeachHoops Readers:
  • Code: TeachHoops (for 20 percent off)
  • Code: Combo25 (for 25 percent off combo packs)


Coach Unplugged Podcast: 

Youth Player Development

Ep: 1301 5 Keys to a Great Defense


If you found this useful, don’t forget to check out additional blog posts at TeachHoops.com. Also, check out TeachHoops on FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.

Low Post Moves for Big Men to Master

Low Post Moves for Big Men to Master

Although the modern game of basketball has drifted away from the low block, getting points from the post can still make the difference between winning and losing. While once upon a time, a basketball big man patrolled the paint on offense with his back to the basket, nowadays must develop a more well-rounded game. That said, having a variety of low post moves will help any developing big man in today’s game.

Where’s the Low Post?

Basketball court area namesThe low post area of a basketball court is the section of the painted area nearest to the basket. This stretch features a rectangular block to designate the spot and remains a vital piece of real estate on the court.

The low post stands in contrast to the mid-post, a section middle of the way between the low block and the free throw line, and the high post, which is situated near the free throw line.

Players that occupy the low post often try to pin their defender to their back before receiving a pass. This area makes for prime rebounding position, and when open, provides the highest percentage shots on the basketball court.

Although the modern game has pushed low post players away from the basket, being able to effectively score from this section of the court can often tilt control of the game. These players need to have a variety of low post moves to lean on when trying to score from the block.

Low Post Moves: Baby Hook

Perhaps the most important low post move for young big men to add to their bag is the baby hook. This simple and effective shot leverages the offensive player’s position near the hoop to get up a quality shot. By turning half way, the offensive player creates space from his defender along the length of his body. From there, the offensive player uses one hand to take this shot attempt over his defender.

This low post move requires a wide stance and a solid base to operate from. If the defender is on the offensive player’s back, a shoulder fake one way or the other should create an opening to attack. From there, the offensive player should turn his shoulders parallel to the hoop, with the ball away from the defender. The offensive player then brings the ball up vertically with one hand and executes the shot attempt with a quick snap of the wrist.

The baby hook is a simplified version of the traditional sky hook, a far more difficult move for low post players to master.

Low Post Moves: Drop Step

Another one of the low post moves every big man should have in his bag is the drop step. This simple maneuver leverages a defender’s position on the floor to create space right at the rim for a layup. The offensive player dribbles with his back to the defender after receiving the ball. Once physical contact is made with the defender’s body, the offensive player uses a shoulder fake to position the defender near his pivot foot. From there, the offensive player uses his other leg to wrap around the defender’s foot and “drop” toward the basket.

This move pushes the defender aside, creating an opening for a layup right at the rim. It must be timed correctly to avoid a charging call or to prevent the defender from getting a clean block. Using the dribble to set up the defender, the best drop step progresses the offensive player toward the baseline. Once the spin is made, the offensive player uses his own body to protect the ball from the defender during the shot attempt.

Low Post Moves: Up-and-Under

The up-and-under stands out as an effective set of low post moves that can also create fouls on opposing defenders. This move works particularly well once the offensive player has made a couple of baby hooks. The “up” portion of the up-and-under looks like a hook shot, inducing the defender’s reaction. The “under” takes place when the offensive player steps through while the defender is out of position.

To execute this move, the offensive player should once again start with a wide stance. From there, the offensive players should behave as if he intends to shoot a baby hook. As he moves into a two-foot position after picking up his dribble, the offensive player then performs a ball fake to get the defender to jump. Once the defender is up in the air, the offensive player performs a step-through underneath, getting an open look at the rim.


Related: Box Set Series: Box Set Offense for Low-Post Look


Resources:

TO DEVELOP AN UNSTOPPABLE BASKETBALL TEAM AND DOMINATE YOUR LEAGUE, YOU NEED PROVEN OFFENSIVE AND DEFENSIVE PLAYS! 

Click here for: Proven Basketball Playbooks, Drills and Strategies!

Don’t miss out on big discounts for TeachHoops Readers:
  • Code: TeachHoops (for 20 percent off)
  • Code: Combo25 (for 25 percent off combo packs)


Coach Unplugged Podcast: 

Youth Player Development

Ep: 393 Big Men and Switching Defense


If you found this useful, don’t forget to check out additional blog posts at TeachHoops.com. Also, check out TeachHoops on FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.

Keys to Winning Basketball Games and Championships

Keys to Winning Basketball Games and Championships

So much goes into winning and losing basketball games. Coaches and teams prepare to the best of their ability, but sometimes the ball bounces in the other team’s favor. Wins remain joyous, while losses hurt for days. Coaches have a number of elements to consider in this regard.

20 Keys To Winning Basketball Games and Championships

Developing a winning basketball program often comes down to the details. Here’s a list of 20 keys to creating the right culture to start winning championships this season!

1.  Find the Correct People, Program, School or Location

The first step in this process is hiring the right coaches. You’ll want a loyal group that shares your vision for the team. Beyond that, you’ll need to consider the school, including elements like atmosphere, community, and the reality of competition. Beyond that, when assembling your roster, remember, hard working players lead to winning basketball.

2. Have Well-Defined Roles

It’s important to have well-defined roles in your program. Everyone should be connected and understand where they fit. For players, it’s important to understand not everyone can be the star. Role players often hold the key to winning basketball championships. Also, think about how you’ll manage your summer requirements, as well as the players’ participation in other sports.

3. Get Out of Their Way

A key factor in winning basketball is letting the players play. Don’t “over coach” or over complicate the game. Don’t panic. And perhaps most importantly, be willing to change your approach.

4. When Picking Your Team Look For Players Who:
  • Score and Handle The Ball
  • Shoot Free Throws Well
  • Handle Pressure

Players will excel in what you emphasize.

5. Understand That Success Is NOT Immediate

As the cliche goes, Rome was not built in a take. Take time to teach the skills and approaches you want your players to master.

6. Pick A Style You Believe In

When it comes down to developing your basketball philosophy, pick one that fits you and your personality. That will make it easier to sell to your players. Remember, there’s more than one way to develop a winning basketball team. Be ready to adjust the system with different groups each season.

7. Find A Common Goal / Theme

Examine your expectations in preseason and be ready to change as the need arises. Loop in all the voices involved in your program, including assistant coaches, players, families, even school administration. Set clear and attainable goals for the team and individual players.

8. Plan For IT

Creating a winning basketball culture and competition for championships takes buy-in and preparation. Keep realistic expectations but push your players to get better every day. Put your players in situations where they can succeed.

9. Once You Get To The BIG Game Act Like You Belong

Once you and your program has made it to the highest level, stay in your routine. Control what is in your ability to control and block out all the noise. The players will feel ready if you’ve prepared them along the way.

10. Rest

Keep in mind the grind. Fatigue can make a coward of anyone, so limit long practice sessions in season. Shorten and streamline your approaches. Don’t overtrain your players–that’ll lead to burnout.

11. Be Aggressive

That said, be aggressive in your style and approach. Incorporate innovation and instill the idea that no one can give you a win, you must take it.

12. Give Them a Reason To Win

Give your players something to believe in preseason by finding a hook. Consider things like emotion, the underdog story, or program history.

13. Keep Learning

As a coach, always keep learning. Communities like the one at teachhoops.com helps find like-minded coaches willing to share approaches and in successes.

14. Outside Evaluation

Find someone outside your program to help you evaluate your approach. A fresh set of eyes might find a new angle that you haven’t considered.

15 . Over Prepare

Coaches should over prepare and out work their opponents. This is done though scouting, pouring over reports and tapes, then relaying that information in the classroom to players.

16. WIN

Teach your players how to win and how to handle adversity. It’ll help pull victories from the jaws of defeat and help grab wins in unlikely scenarios.

17. Expect The Unexpected

If it can happen, it will happen. Try to control outside factors as much as possible, but understand you won’t be able to control everything. One of the hallmarks of a winning basketball team is it’s depth, so develop that as best you can.

18. Find Leaders

Filling out your roster is the most important part of the preparation process, but picking the right captains remains a high priority for winning programs. Talk on and off the court with your leaders to help foster that communication. This will model healthy relationships for your players.

19. Visualize

Visualize the winning your local or state basketball championship. See it, then sell that vision to the players in your locker room.

20. Be Lucky

Resources:

TO DEVELOP AN UNSTOPPABLE BASKETBALL TEAM AND DOMINATE YOUR LEAGUE, YOU NEED PROVEN OFFENSIVE AND DEFENSIVE PLAYS! 

Click here for: Proven Basketball Playbooks, Drills and Strategies!

Don’t miss out on big discounts for TeachHoops Readers:
  • Code: TeachHoops (for 20 percent off)
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TEACHHOOPS YOUTUBE:


Coach Unplugged Podcast: 

Youth Player Development

Ep 1434 Building a Winning Program and all it Entails


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Running an Effective Preseason Basketball Open Gym

Running an Effective Preseason Basketball Open Gym

One of the best ways to get a look at any potential new talent for your basketball program is to run an open gym. This activity provides coaches the opportunity to catch a glimpse of potential players to add to the program as the new season nears. Open gyms also give players the chance to flash their skills without the added pressure of performing at more structured try-outs.

Although normally unstructured, an effective open gym needs rules and games in order for coaches to get the best look at the assembled talent. Coaches often watch the proceedings a bystanders, waiting for try-outs to provide direction instruction. But adding certain rules to the traditional basketball open gym often unlocks this activity.

Preseason Open Gyms

One of the most difficult aspects of coaching remains the integration of unstructured time either in practice or during preseason. Running a preseason open gym usually comes well before any try-outs and the season’s official start date. Too often, though, open gyms lead to players not working hard and poor decisions being made.

It’s rare that an open gym features any kind of meaningful defense. These runs end up looking so different from a regular season game that it’s sometimes hard to recognize your team.

But players love the freedom of an Open Gym set up. However, implementing a set of rules or games helps players improve specific skills during the run. This often reinforces offseason work players complete to get better and can be a big help for coaches to maximize limited preseason time.

The normal setup of a basketball open gym leaves coaches with minimal responsibilities beyond supervision. Player arrive, shoot around, and eventually organize themselves into teams to run 5-on-5 full court. Coaches can provide additional structure and perhaps even officiate, but layering rules into this activity helps everyone involved.

12 Basketball Open Gym Rules to Try

Running an effective basketball preseason open gym often comes down to time management. Of course the number of players involved will dictate certain aspects, but coaches should implement specific time restrictions on shoot around and warm ups, as well as open runs. 10 minute running clock games often provide coaches with an extended look without completely tiring out the players.

  1. No Dribble 5-on-5
  2. Zone On Makes, Man On Misses 5-on-5
  3. 5-on-5 Hockey (ball has to be dribbled across half court by the person who rebounds it)
  4. Everyone must Touch before you can score.
  5. Post must touch
  6. Weak-hand Layup is worth 3-Points
  7. 1-2-3- Paint shots are 1 point, 3’s are worth 2, mid-range is worth 3 points
  8. No 3 point shots- everything is worth 2 points
  9. No inbound on Made basket
  10. No ball screens or Switch all screens
  11. Must dribble only with your “weak” hand
  12. Must switch the type of defense you run each possession

These rules add layers to the games for players to navigate. They provide basketball coaches with additional information on the players that might otherwise be hidden in a normal open gyms. The rules also give players an added wrinkle to enjoy while getting their run in.


Related: Basketball Player Evaluation Form for Tryouts


Resources:

TO DEVELOP AN UNSTOPPABLE BASKETBALL TEAM AND DOMINATE YOUR LEAGUE, YOU NEED PROVEN OFFENSIVE AND DEFENSIVE PLAYS! 

Click here for: Proven Basketball Playbooks, Drills and Strategies!

Don’t miss out on big discounts for TeachHoops Readers:
  • Code: TeachHoops (for 20 percent off)
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Coach Unplugged Podcast: 

Youth Player Development

Ep 1427 Open Gyms; Rule/ Games / Ideas


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3 Effective Full Court Basketball Drills

3 Effective Full Court Basketball Drills

Youth player development can be an avenue for coaches to share their love of the game. But if a team is going to be successful, it takes more than just love. Coaches are tasked with improving players both individually and within the context of the team. And during the planning stages, including full-court basketball drills might make practice all the more enjoyable and helps build stamina and improve conditioning.

A well-conditioned team is a team that has an opportunity for great success on the basketball court. To become this kind of team though, basketball conditioning must take place. There are a variety of ways to do this: sprints, distance running, tough drills to improve game conditioning, or a combination of the previously mentioned activities.

Here’s a look at three full court basketball drills to incorporate into your next practice.

Full Court Basketball Drills: Zig Zag Pass and Cut

zig zag full court basketball drillsThe Zig Zag Pass and Cut full court basketball drill helps not only with conditioning but also specific skill development. This drill works particularly well with youth basketball teams still learning the game because it encourages players to look up the floor and pass, rather than just dribble. Players hone skills for speed dribbling, bounce and chest passing, pivoting, rebounding, and lay-up finishing.

Two balls are needed to complete this full court basketball drill. Coaches should divide their teams into four or five equal groups, adding any extra players near the basket in the rebounding line. The other lines set up as an outlet, at half court, and on the opposite wing as the finisher.

The drill progresses when the coach tosses the ball off the backboard, creating a rebound. The rebounder retrieves the miss then outlets. The player who receives the outlet pass fires across the line at half court. From there, the ball gets passes to the opposite wing. The finisher receives the final pass and dribbles in for a lay-up.

Each player follows their pass from line to line, progressing to each station along the court. The finisher makes his layup then completes a full court speed dribble up the opposite sideline to get the ball back to the coach on the other end. Coaches can make this a competitive practice game by adding the element of time to each team completed set.

Full Court Basketball Drills: Continuous 3-on-2

full court basketball drillsOne of the most popular full court drills for any basketball coach is the 3-on-2. However, if not implemented correctly, this drill can stagnate. Reset times drag on and momentum is lost. You need two teams with at least six on a team.

The set up for this drill mirrors the graphic here. The team in black defends the first transition repetition from the white team. As white approaches the half court, a third defender enters at the center circle. From the opposite sideline, two players from the white team enter as defenders on the other end.

The third player on black becomes a trail defender, sprinting into the defensive possession from behind. Adding this element makes this version of the 3-on-2 drill more game-like in its repetitions.

Once the white team gets a quick shot attempt or black either forces a turnover or grabs a rebound, the three defenders in black become the new offense. They begin their transition rep heading down to the other end of the court, where two defenders in white await. As before, a third white defender enters at the center circle once the offense progresses beyond half court and two new players on the black team become the next defenders on the other end.

This drill keeps the flow of transition going once the players have the rotations down. Players always return to their sideline after an offensive rep. Coaches can keep score or track other elements, such as paint touches, turnovers, or bad shots.

Full Court Basketball Drills: One-Way Basket

Basketball Competitive Practice Games

This is a full-court competitive game that allows coaches to install a specific play or set, while also practice key defensive principles. In the half court, the offense runs their first action against a full compliment of defenders.

If this action results in a basket, then the offense and defense switch. But if the defense gets a stop, then it’s a full court game.

The defensive stop flows into transition offense as that squad seeks to score. Only points scored off of defensive stops count in this competitive practice game.

This game should flow back and forth for several minutes before coaches change anything.

Coaches that incorporate this competitive practice game look to establish the mindset that the team needs to focus on getting defensive stops before getting to the offensive end of the floor. The emphasis for this drill remains defense.

 


Related: 3 Simple Plays to Run in Youth Basketball


Resources:


Coach Unplugged Podcast: 

Youth Player Development

Ep: 676. Drill of the Day – Coach Nabil Murad Favorite Drill(s)


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3 Simple Plays to Run in Youth Basketball

3 Simple Plays to Run in Youth Basketball

Picking the right offense for a youth basketball team can be one of the most difficult decisions for any coach. After evaluating the skill level of a team, coaches must emphasize the sets and skills that will put his team on track for success. But when dealing with newcomers to the sport, sometimes having simple basketball plays to start with is the way to go.

Youth coaches often spend a great deal of time practice planning and developing the right mix of drills to incorporate with their young players. When it comes down to designing an offensive set, being able to score in the half court often dictates success in games. Add these three simple basketball plays that are easy to run to your basketball playbook.

Simple Basketball Plays: Basic Pick and Roll

One of the simple basketball plays even coach should incorporate is the basic pick and roll. This play works well against man-to-man defenses and remains a staple of the game in the professional ranks. Basketball offenses can repeat this action over and over until a good look opens up. This play can start in several different alignments.

Using a 4-out, 1-in alignment, the point guard dribbles to the wing, with three players on the opposite perimeter. Player 5 comes up from the low post to set a screen for the point guard on the wing. The ball handler drives off the screen toward the basket while player 5 rolls into the lane. The driver decides to either take a shot or make a pass to the roller. If neither option is available, the driver can kick the ball out to a teammate on the perimeter.

The beauty of this simple basketball play remains the free-flowing nature of the action. The ball handler gets to read and react to the defense. The screen also gets to decide how to move based on the defense’s alignment. Screeners can roll to the hoop or pop to a open spot on the perimeter for a jump shot.

Coaches can layer off-ball actions for the other players as well. This will help keep the weak side defenders occupied and hesitant to help. Basic pick and roll action can be implemented effectively in end-of-game situations and even in transition.

Simple Basketball Plays: Short Corner Jump Shot

Naming the sets can vary from team to team, but this simple basketball play aims to get a open look for a jump shot at the short corner along the baseline.

The play begins with a 3-out, 2-in alignment, with the big men occupying the blocks. The point guard dribbles up and initiates the play with a pass to either wing. The big man on the ball-side of the play comes up to set a screen at the elbow for the point guard after the pass.

The point guard uses the screen and runs a J-shaped cut toward the baseline. The player on the wing looks to pass the ball to the baseline if the point guard is open for a jump shot. If not, the player can dribble to the top of the key and reset the play.

This play works well at the youth level because it involves the basic action of pass and cut. The big man sets a high screen and either roll to the basket or flare for a shot. Having a simple basketball play that can easily reset allows the team to feel more comfortable.

Simple Basketball Plays: Double Screen Curl

The next simple basketball play looks to get another open jump shot. This play uses a 4-out, 1-in alignment to start, though the order along the perimeter doesn’t really matter. For this play, coaches should set the shooter to start in the corner.

The play begins with the point guard dribbling up and making a pass to the 3 on the wing. That player immediately swings the ball to the 4 in the corner. Once the ball ends up in the corner, the point guard and player 3 set a double screen for the shooter, who’s coming up from the opposite corner.

Player 4 looks first to the shooter coming around the double screen. If that option isn’t there, player 4 can then look to player 5, who’s on the low block. 5 mirrors the movement of the ball along the perimeter with each pass, going from elbow to elbow, then to the low block.

This play works well at the youth level because it involves basic movement along the perimeter. The interior player follows a simple run for this basketball play, mirroring the ball with each pass. Should the defense cover both the shooter and the low post, this play can easily be run again in the opposite direction.

Click HERE for a TeachHoops Playbook Template. 


TO DEVELOP AN UNSTOPPABLE BASKETBALL TEAM AND DOMINATE YOUR LEAGUE, YOU NEED PROVEN OFFENSIVE AND DEFENSIVE PLAYS! 

Click here for: Proven Basketball Playbooks, Drills and Strategies!

Don’t miss out on big discounts for TeachHoops Readers:
  • Code: TeachHoops (for 20 percent off)
  • Code: Combo25 (for 25 percent off combo packs)

Related: Basketball Combination Defenses


Resources:


High School Hoops Podcast

High School Hoops

Ep: 153. Picking an Offense for you Team


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Basketball Combination Defenses

Basketball Combination Defenses

Developing basketball defensive systems stands as one of the most important aspects for any coach out there. While designing offensive plays might be more fun, crafting the right defensive system might make more a difference between winning and losing. A good defense feeds directly into offense and it makes scoring that much easier. Basketball coaches implementing combination defenses can make things even more difficult for opponents. 

Many coaches believe it’s better to sport a simple offense and complex defense, rather than the other way around. How a coach crafts their team’s defensive approach often dictates the very identity of the team. Also, not all players, particularly at the youth level, will have the same natural abilities on the offensive end, but most players can be taught complex defensive schemes and excel.

Basketball Combination Defenses

A basketball team that uses combination defenses employs a strategy that incorporates two different defensive systems. This normally manifests as a combination of zone defense and a man-to-man approach. The most well-known example of this approach is the Box and 1 defense. Some refer to these approaches as “junk” defenses, but when used correctly, they can really throw off the rhythm and timing of opposing offenses.

A Box and 1 takes your team’s best defender and task him with disrupting the playmaking opportunities of your opponent’s top perimeter scorer. At the same time, the additional four defenders will play a zone in the form of a box, hence “box and 1.” This combination defense can be a polarizing topic among basketball coaches. And, like other defensive schemes, this approach comes with advantages and disadvantages. The most obvious pro to this defensive approach is trying to neutralize, or at least render inefficient, your opponent’s top offensive player. One significant con of this defensive strategy arises when your team’s best perimeter defender is also your team’s best offensive player.

Another example of basketball combination defenses is the Triangle and 2. This approach uses two chasers instead of one, with the three other defenders creating a triangle zone. The two bottom defenders take the low blocks while the third member of the triangle mans the nail. Coaches can invert the triangle if more defensive pressure is needed at the elbows.

Strengths and Weaknesses of the Combo Defense

Strengths:

  1. Confusion – This forces the opposition to run an offense completely different to their normal playing style. Forcing the opposition to make massive changes to their game-plan is always a good thing for the defense.
  2. Star Players Will Get Frustrated and Tired– Imagine how frustrating and tiring it will be for their star players who are unable to get open while their teammates pass the basketball around and take shots.
  3. Easy to Implement – Easy to teach using man principles.

Weaknesses:

  1. Middle of the Zone and the mid-range jumper – The middle of a zone is always the most vulnerable position on the court for the offense to exploit. It’s imperative that your weak side players are always in the correct position to deny the pass into the middle of the zone.
  2. Can’t be used often against great shooting teams – If the team has patience and moves the ball they will find open shots.

Related: Basketball Team Shooting Drills

Resource:


The Coach Unplugged Podcast

Cover for Basketball Coach Unplugged ( A Basketball Coaching Podcast)

Ep 1406 Office Hours and Combination Defenses


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Basketball Team Shooting Drills

Basketball Team Shooting Drills

Incorporating the right basketball drills for a team makes all the difference for coaches at the youth level. Coaches need to gauge the skill and talent they’re working with, instituting a practice plan to maximize the growth of these young players. Developing specific basketball skills early sets both the player and the team up for success, so picking the best basic shooting drills for kids can be a good place to start.

One of the most important parts of any coach’s practice plan is the incorporation of basketball shooting drills. These drills are valuable no matter the level of the team or the talent of the individual player. Shooting remains a key aspect of the game, and only through repetition and focus can a player improve.

For coaches, finding the right drills for your team can be frustrating. Depending on the team’s level and the talents of the gathered players, coaches sift through dozens of drills, searching for the right series. It’s important for a coach to understand their team’s ability and continuously push them to improve.

When developing shooting drills, a good coach must consider what types of shots they want to focus on. Drills should reinforce the skills that will help the players perform within the context of a game. So shooting drills should be designed around shots that would normally result from a team’s offensive actions. The best basketball shooting drills are representative of a team’s base offense.

Basketball Team Spot Shooting Drill

Basketball Shooting DrillsTeam Spot Shooting is one of the most valuable basketball shooting drills. This practice sequence emphasizes form shooting and positioning, all within the framework of a team competition.

This drill involves a set number of players progressing through a series of shots on the floor. The group might start at the short corner, then move to the elbow, free throw, opposite elbow and opposite short corner.

In order to progress to the next spot, the group needs to make a designated number of shots in a row. Once the group has made three from the short corner, for example, they move to the elbow. But if they miss at the elbow, a coach can signal either that the team runs or returns to the previous spot.

This drill can be redesigned as a practice game as well.

 

3-2-1 Basketball Shooting Drill

Basketball Shooting DrillsThe 3-2-1 basketball team shooting drill involves at least two players and is a high-volume, high-repetition practice. Over the course of one or two minutes, non-stop, a single shooter progresses through a series of jump shots. The other player rebounds and feeds the shooter from near the hoop.

The shooter begins behind the three-point line for their first shot. From there, the shooter moves into the midrange for their second shot. The last shot in the sequence is a layup (which is worth one point). The rebounder keeps track of the shooter’s score as their teammate progresses through the drill. After the time is up, the players switch roles.

This shooting drill provides valuable practice for any shooter, regardless of talent-level. The shooter must move, set their feet and find a repeatable release. Even the other player gets reps at securing rebounds and making solid passes.

This drill can incorporate internal competition as well. The two partnered players can compete with one another, or with another pair at another hoop.

 


Related: Keys to Coaching Youth Basketball

Resources:


High School Hoops Podcast

High School Hoops

Ep: 120. Basketball Shooting Drills for Any Level


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Best Basic Passing Drills for Kids

Best Basic Passing Drills for Kids

Incorporating the right basketball drills for kids makes all the difference for coaches at the youth level. Coaches need to gauge the skill and talent they’re working with, instituting a practice plan to maximize the growth of these young players. Developing specific basketball skills early sets both the player and the team up for success, so picking the best basic passing drills for kids can be a good place to start.

Finding the right balance for your practice is key. You want your players to practice hard, hone their skills, and become better basketball players. But you also want them to have fun. Coaching at the youth level takes plenty of patience and positivity. You’ll need to incorporate a fast pace and keep your players occupied and engaged, especially during potentially monotonous skill development drills. Developing focus and fun at practice remains an integral effort for coaches at the youth level of the game.

While there’s no magic formula for practice planning or picking drills, leaning on your experience as a head coach often shows the right path for your players. Here’s a look a some of the best basic passing drills for kids.

Basic Passing Form

While most kids will want to start with shooting or dribbling drills, it’s important for every coach to incorporate basic passing drills early on in a player’s development. Coaches can’t assume kids will be good passers when first coming to the court. Bad passes destroy offensive possessions, while good passing creates scoring opportunities. Many turnovers come as a result of poor passes. So it’s integral that your young players learn the proper mechanics for bounce, chest, and outlet passes.

Coaches should demonstrate proper form for their players to mimic. For a basic chest pass, players should step into the pass and snap the ball off with their thumbs going through the ball and pointing toward their receiver. Chest passes are not overhead lobs. They should hit their receiver in the chest.

For the bounce pass, passers can start from the triple-threat position. The player should snap the ball off with their pass, but it should hit the court about three-fourths of the way toward the receiver. The resulting bounce from the pass should reach the receiver’s waist. 

For overhead outlet passes, the players should be further apart. The passer snaps their pass off with some arc, but not so much that the ball floats to the receiver. The pass should be thrown hard and can lead the receiver down the court if need be. 

Players catching the pass need to practice proper form as well. The receiver needs to provide a target with his hands extended to make the grab. After the catch, receivers should immediately turn into a triple-threat position.

Best Basic Passing Drills for Kids

After demonstrating the basic form for basic passing drills, it’s time to divide the players into groups to try their hand at these drills. Below are some of the best passing drills for kids just beginning in the game of basketball. It’s good for coaches to pair players for these drills so the kids can practice both passing and receiving.

  • Rapid Fire Chest Passing Practice

Players begin this drill with one ball and facing each other, about two feet apart. The first passer starts the drill by passing to his partner and immediately taking two short steps back. The receiver catches the ball and passes it right back. After each pass, the first player retreats two steps, while the receiver stands still. Once the first passer has made five passes, he starts moving back toward the receiver with each pass.

This drill should feature 10 passes total before switching players. Coaches can alter this drill by having both players retreat or return with each pass or having the players alternate with bounce passes. Be sure to stress to players the proper passing form, especially stepping into their passes as the distance grows. Players can practice this drill at home by using a wall.

  • Two-Ball Line Passing Drill

For this basic passing drill, three-to-five kids line up along the key arm-length apart with one passer facing the line. The passer has one ball and one of the players in the line does as well. The passer should set up on the opposite line of the key.

To start this drill, the passer snaps a chest pass to one random player in the line. The moment that happens, the player in the line holding the second ball passes back to the passer. The passer must catch and make a return pass to any receiver who does not have the ball. The passer slides along the key to catch and return passes as quickly as possible. Coaches should stress form once again as well as vision. The passer must keep his eyes up and react with each progression.

  • Man in the Middle

For this basic drill, coaches need to form passing groups of three kids each. Each trio uses one ball, with the passers facing each other anywhere from 10 to 20 feet apart. The third player in the group is the man in the middle. This player acts as a defender, trying to deflect or steal each pass as it’s made.

The two passers work together from a relatively stationary position, although a single dribble left or right is allowed to create a new passing angle. Coaches should stress triple-threat position and pivoting for the passers. Players can work on ball fakes to make the defender move. Passes in this drill can include chest, bounce, or overhead outlets. Tell players not to float passes that allow the defender to recover while the ball travels.


Related: Best Basketball Drills for Kids


Resources:


Coaching Youth Hoops Podcast Episodes


Coaching Youth Hoops podcast5 Things I Wish I Had Known About Coaching Youth Hoops

The Skills Needed for K-2 Players

Thoughts on Running A Youth Basketball Camp

Basketball Skills for Grades 3-5

 

If you found this useful, don’t forget to check out additional blog posts at TeachHoops.com. Also, check out TeachHoops on FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.

Simplifying your Basketball Practice Planning

Simplifying your Basketball Practice Planning

Basketball coaches at any level have a limited amount of time with their players. So maximizing practice time, especially entering a new season, becomes paramount.

At the youth level, this remains a stark reality. Coaches might only have their players for a few hours a week. No matter the level, basketball coaches invariably spend time practice planning.

“The structure of your practice is the most determining reason for your success or lack of success as a coach.”  Bobby Knight

Basketball Practice Planning

Most basketball coaches have their own approaches to practice planning. Some minimize the pre-practice work, opting instead for what feels right in the moment. Others build off of the previous day, or something that stood out in the last game. A coach might scribble notes on a pad or random slip of paper. That paper usually finds itself tucked behind the elastic of the coach’s shorts.

The key to a good basketball practice plan will always be efficiency. Coaches must consider not only what their specific goals are, but how those goals will be reached within a given time frame. Youth leagues often limit practice time. Even high school teams find themselves forced into a given time slot at the school’s gym.

The best practice plans can be constructed on one sheet of paper. This paper focuses the goals and approaches for the day. Having a wide view of practice allows a coach to establish a logical progression through the drills. The plan can also keep a general timing structure, although flexibility is key for any coach.

By listing the drills and concepts clearly on the practice plan, coaches know exactly what the focus of each practice segment will be. This will eliminate any lost time between drills or segments, maximizing contact time.

Sample Practice Plan

basketball practice planning

Every coach should know the amount of time available to them for practice, both how long each practice will be and what the schedule looks like for the week.

From there, it’s a matter of dividing the time of each practice. These segments will have specific focuses. Segments might include warm-up and stretching, individual skill development or larger team concepts.

One helpful inclusion for any basketball coach’s practice planning is a drill library. Having the different drills listed directly on the plan itself will facilitate movement from segment to segment. The drill library can include not only the drills themselves, but also the specific focus points for development.

Having a drill library also allows a coach to vary practices from session to session. Sure, each coach will have a core set of drills they like to implement, but falling into a rigid routine is something to avoid. Keeping practice fresh can only benefit the players and maintain engagement.

Beyond that, varying the practice plan itself allows for the drills and segments that invariably will be cut short because others went long to be incorporated into the next practice.


Related: Youth Player Development & Practice Planning

Downloadable Resources:

Download an entire season of pre-designed youth practice plans

Practice Guide PDF with Blank Practice Plan 


Coach Unplugged Podcast

Ep: 807 Practice Planning With Coach Lynch (Part 1)

Ep: 808 Practice Planning With Coach Lynch ( Part 2)


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Youth Player Development and Practice Planning

Youth Player Development and Practice Planning

Youth player development can be an avenue for coaches to share their love of the game. But if a team is going to be successful, it takes more than just love. Coaches are tasked with improving players both individually and within the context of the team. So youth player development often takes center stage with young teams.

To maximize their time with their players, coaches need to manage their time well. And one of the most important tools to optimize shared time is a detailed practice plan. Coaches that just roll the balls out often find their practices lack the focus and intensity necessary to improve the team.

Youth Player Development: Practice Planning

Different coaches have different approaches to practice planning. Some youth coaches zero in on specific basketball skill that need development, while others take a more free-flowing view. Some coaches scribble notes on a sheet of paper and tuck that folded plan into their waist band, whole others meticulously craft a minute-by-minute split using an app.

Whatever the preferred approach, it remains integral that coaches have a plan in place to maximize practice time.

Youth Player DevelopmentA valuable practice plan lays out the exact avenues of attack a coach wants to explore. Especially early when youth basketball development is at its peak for the season, plotting out points of emphasis can be particularly useful.

What exactly do you want to accomplish during this practice session? Often writing those specific goals aid in achieving them.

From there, coaches can sketch out the best outline for the day. Teaching drills and execution is key in youth player development, but haphazard approaches can often sabotage valuable practice time.

A detailed youth basketball practice plan might help a coach that wants to get to a number of skills and sets focus on key developmental aspects.

What daily drills will you include? How much teaching happens before a drill? What does the debrief look like? These are all important questions coaches should ask themselves prior to the start of any given practice.


Related: 5 Fun Options for Basketball Fundraising

Downloadable Resources:


Coach Unplugged Podcast

Youth Player Development

Ep: 676. Drill of the Day – Coach Nabil Murad Favorite Drill(s)


If you found this useful, don’t forget to check out additional blog posts at TeachHoops.com. Also, check out TeachHoops on FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.

Best Basketball Drills for Kids

Best Basketball Drills for Kids

Incorporating the right basketball drills for kids makes all the difference for coaches at the youth level. Coaches need to gauge the skill and talent they’re working with, instituting a practice plan to maximize the development of these young players. Finding the right balance for your practice is key. You want your players to practice hard, hone their skills, and become better basketball players. But you also want them to have fun.

Coaching at the youth level takes plenty of patience and positivity. You’ll need to incorporate a fast pace and keep your players occupied and engaged, especially during potentially monotonous skill development drills. Developing focus and fun at practice remains an integral effort for coaches at the youth level of the game.

While there’s no magic formula for practice planning or picking drills, leaning on your experience as a head coach often shows the right path for your players. Here’s a look a some of the best basketball drills for kids.

Basketball Drills for Kids

Developing simple, fun, and effective drills for kids at the youth basketball level might be one of the most difficult parts of the job for any coach. When dealing with beginners, it’s important to layer skill development and not overwhelm the kids with complicated basketball drills. Coaches often zero-in on the basics, which include dribbling, passing, rebounding, and shooting.

Red Light, Green Light Dribbling Drill

Children, especially competitive ones, love the game Red Light, Green Light. This basketball dribbling drills plays off that popular kids game. Assuming you’ve worked with the basic form for dribbling, this game engages the young players on two fronts, control and vision. It teaches players to keep control of the ball while keeping their head up.

The coach stands on one end of the court while the players lineup on the opposite baseline. Each player has a ball and begins dribbling in place. The goal of this drill is to be the first player to make it to the opposite end of the floor while controlling his dribble.

While the original game has someone call out “red light” or “green light,” this version works best if the coach has colored sheets of paper red, green, and yellow. The red paper represents “stop,” which signals the players to control their dribble in place. The green paper represents “go,” which signals a speed dribble forward. The yellow paper can then represent “reverse,” which signals a retreat dribble.

Using the colored papers forces the players to look up at the coach while they’re dribbling. If a player performs the wrong action, they have to return to the baseline.

Knockout

At time-honored tradition before and after practices, Knockout represents more than just a silly, time-killing tradition. For young, competitive players, this drill helps develop quick shooting skills and in-game concentration. Kids learn to shoot under pressure and with a heightened sense of urgency in this basketball drill.

Coaches need two balls to start this drill. Each participating player lines up starting at the free throw stripe, with the first two players holding the balls. The game begins when the first player shoots the ball. The second player then follows with his shot.

What happens next depends upon whether or not the shots drop. If the first shooter makes his free throw, he retrieves the ball and passes to the next person in line. Then he joins the back of the line. If he missed his shot, he must grab the rebound and make a layup before the next shooter makes their attempt. Should the first shooter can make a layup before the second player scores, he’s still in the game. If the second shooter makes a shot before, the first player is eliminated.

Each time a player takes and misses a shot, the next player in line shoots to try to knock them out. Hence the name of the game. The drill continues until only one player remains, the winner.

There are several points of emphasis for this drill. Each player should maintain proper mechanics and form when shooting. Keep your head up and be aware of other players. Coaches can also stress form with layup attempts and return passes.

Passing Tag

Another engaging basketball drill for kids is one called Passing Tag. In this drill, the passers are “it” and try to tag the other team while working off only their pivot foot. Passing Tag incorporates basic passing skills, as well as footwork and communication. Players also learn how to move without the ball.

The set up here can use either the half court or only the space inside the three-point line. Coaches create two teams, the passers and the runners. The passing team should start with only two or three players, whereas everyone else can be a runner. Coaches call for the start of this drill and runners immediately move through the designated space.

Passers look for each other and pass at strategic points. When a player catches the ball, he can pivot to try and tag one of the runners with the ball. If the tag is made, that runner can either be out or added to the passers team.

Points of emphasis for this drill include moving without the ball and making the right pass. Players learn to use their pivot foot and avoid traveling. Coaches can shrink the playing area as the drill continues. Coaches can also add a defensive layer to this drill where the runners can knock or intercept passes for points or to add players back to their team.


Related: Best Basic Passing Drills for Kids


Resources:


Coaching Youth Hoops Podcast Episodes


Coaching Youth Hoops podcast5 Things I Wish I Had Known About Coaching Youth Hoops

The Skills Needed for K-2 Players

Thoughts on Running A Youth Basketball Camp

Basketball Skills for Grades 3-5

 

If you found this useful, don’t forget to check out additional blog posts at TeachHoops.com. Also, check out TeachHoops on FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.

Basketball Player Evaluation Form for Tryouts

Basketball Player Evaluation Form for Tryouts

Any basketball coach knows the pressure of conducting fair and effective tryouts. No matter skill level, age, or competitive setup, picking the right players to populate your team stands as one of the most challenging choices to make. That’s why having the right basketball player evaluation form is integral for your tryouts.

Often times, developing your tryout can be more difficult that even setting up a playing rotation. Tryout day stands as one of the hardest yet most important days on the calendar. How a coach assembles to roster has wide ranging implications for the season.

Basketball Tryouts Form Opinions for Key Player Evaluation

The first question any coach needs to ask themself is: what type of team will you have? The answer to this question will largely influence the types of drills you select. These drills will be staples of any practice plan, but they’ll also be valuable evaluation tools during tryouts.

Key aspects to consider are skill and athleticism. Transition drills often provide an effective measure for these areas. In these drills, players need to demonstrate how well they run and what type of shape they’re in, as well as how they control the ball and finish. From there, higher level transition drills can evaluate decision making skills as well.

Station work tends to give coaches the opportunity to measure specific basketball skills for individual players. This becomes particularly effective for coaching staffs with multiple members. That said, even if you’re working alone, having the players rotate through stations gives you a glimpse of each player’s skill level in a given area. These stations can include ball handling, form shooting and free throws, among other things.

Grouping players together for small competitive games also provides basketball coaches with solid information for the player evaluation form. Organize players into 2-on-2 or 3-on-3 competitions to see how they operate in a team environment. In these small group environments, it’s harder for players to “hide.”

Another important element to consider exists outside the basic skill and athleticism evaluation. The intangible skills of communication and teamwork often separate a player’s effectiveness on the floor. Incorporating drills that push these skills to the forefront provide coaches with important information about each player. These drills or situations can shine a light on players with leadership potential. 

Areas of Evaluation

The Basketball Player Evaluation Form provides space for coaches to consider several different skills and traits for each player. Among those areas are offensive skills like shooting, dribbling, and passing. In addition, defense and rebounding skills need measurement. Other general areas on the form include athletic ability, coachability, and game play. Finally, the form provides space for overall strength evaluation.

Basketball Player Evaluation Form Downloadable PDFS:


Related: Conducting Effective Basketball Tryouts

Resources:

The Coach Unplugged Podcast

Bonus Episode: Conducting Basketball Tryouts

Teach Hoops

If you found this useful, don’t forget to check out additional blog posts at TeachHoops.com. Also, check out TeachHoops on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

Key Basketball Warmups: Hamstring Stretches

Key Basketball Warmups: Hamstring Stretches

When athletes enter the weight room, what is one of the first things they want to work on? A lot of times, they want to develop their arm definition. While this is important, from an athletic perspective one of the most underrated muscles are the hamstrings. For any basketball player, no matter the level, hamstring stretches remain key to strengthening an important muscle and avoiding injury.

Let’s start with this basic question: What must all athletes (particularly basketball players) be able to do? Run, jump, stop on a dime, etc. Hamstrings play a very important role in all of those athletic movements!

On top of all of those things all athletes need to do, one thing all coaches and athletes want to avoid is injury. A good pre-practice warm-up routine is key. Strong hamstrings help the knee bend and absorb shock from the variety of athletic movements that all athletes perform.

With all of that being said, it is important that when athletes enter the weight room they are performing movements to help strengthen their hamstrings. For our program, we try to hit the hamstrings as much as we can from our daily stretching to our strength training exercises. What this article is going to do is provide some of our favorite basketball hamstring stretches and strengthening exercises with some videos attached to show how to properly perform these movements in the weight room.

Basketball Hamstring Stretches Movement 1: Squat

There are 2 main types of squats: Backsquat and Front Squat (you can also start your front squat from the rack too which this video does not show). While the squat is more targeting the quads, the hamstrings are also getting hit as well in stabilizing the athlete when they are getting out of the squat. We have performed both the backsquat and front squat in our program.

The squat in general is one of our favorite exercises to do due to the fact it targets so many lower body muscles, including the hamstrings.

Basketball Hamstring Stretches Movement 2: Deadlift

Romanian Deadlift (RDL for short). The RDL is slightly different from the traditional deadlift in that it is specifically targeting the hamstring. The lift looks fairly similar to the deadlift with the variant being you are holding the barbell the entire time, sliding the bar down your legs to your shin area, and bringing the weight back up all while keeping your back straight.

It is important in this exercise to stress keeping a straight back and not arching it.

Basketball Hamstring Stretches Movement 3: Leg Curl

The Lying Leg Curl can be done in 1 of 2 different ways: If you have a machine, you can utilize the machine that is specifically designed for these leg curls. What we started to do recently in our lifting is using our long resistance bands to do our lying leg curls (we made this change because our machine is broken at the moment).

This movement is designed specifically to isolate the hamstrings to help build up their strength.

Basketball Hamstring Stretches Movement 4: Kettlebell Swings

Kettlebell Swings not only work the hamstrings in the squatting movement but they also helps build up strength in the upper body too while being up some cardio.

The important thing to remember when performing a kettlebell movement is to get great depth on your squat like also keeping your back straight.

Basketball Hamstring Stretches Movement 15: Bridge

You can perform the Glute Bridge in a variety of ways: traditional glute bridges, weighted glute bridges, or banded glute bridges. The glute bridge is great because it’s not only targeting the hamstring. It also targets the glute, abs, and lower back. It is great for athletes who may have some back pain to help ease some of the burden off the back. We have implemented glute bridges in our daily stretching routine to help build hamstring strength.

There are a multitude of movements that are centered around strengthening the hamstring. It is important that you have movements that you enjoy teaching, your athletes enjoy performing, and at the end of the day, getting athletes that are getting stronger.


Kyle Brasher | Gibson Southern High School
Lady Titans Basketball Coach


Related: Basketball Pre-Game Warm Up Drills

Resources:

The Coach Unplugged Podcast

Cover for Basketball Coach Unplugged ( A Basketball Coaching Podcast)

Ep: 302 Pre-Game Warm Up

If you found this useful, don’t forget to check out additional blog posts at TeachHoops.com. Also, check out TeachHoops on FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.

5 Keys Areas to Improve This Basketball Offseason

5 Keys Areas to Improve This Basketball Offseason

For youth basketball players, the offseason remains a time for personal improvement. You want to get bigger, stronger, and faster for your upcoming season. You also want to develop those important skills to take your game to the next level. To improve during your basketball offseason, you’ll need focus and a clear plan.

Summer remains a pivotal part of the season for more than just the coaches looking to make the most of the offseason. It’s during spring and summer where developing players can sharpen their basketball skills ahead of tryouts in the fall and the winter’s regular season.

While there are ways to maximize training, when looking to improve during your basketball offseason, you should consider these five key areas.

Rest and Recover

Following the end of your basketball year, the first step to improve during the offseason is to rest and recover. This remains especially true if you sustained an injury during the season. However, even if you made it through your schedule without getting hurt, your body still needs time to recuperate.

Coming off an injury, it’s important to check in with your doctor to see if you’re healthy enough to compete in summer league or AAU basketball. The last thing you want to do is aggravate a pre-existing injury which could harm your availability for the coming season.

Heading into your basketball offseason, one of the best ways to improve is to take a timeout. Don’t jump right in to strength training and conditioning. Shift your focus to another hobby or outlet. After a period of rest and recovery, even consider playing another sport to help further develop your body.

Strength Training to Improve This Basketball Offseason

Th next key area to improve during this basketball offseason is strength training. No matter your current level, working on your body can only help your performance. This is especially true if you’re playing up a level in youth basketball. And ideal offseason development program sees three days of strength training per week.

A full-body workout three times a week stands as perhaps the best way to improve during the basketball offseason. A program of this style provides more volume that a normal “arm day” and “leg day” split. Doing a full-body routine three times weekly allows for greater development at a more consistent pace. You should be focused on growing your muscles at this point.

Make sure your workout program starts with a decent warm up exercise to get your blood flowing. From there, consider the following exercises to help you improve this basketball offseason. Some of the best exercises for this include Goblet Squats, Dumbbell Bench Press, Pull-Ups, Standing Overhead Press, and Bicep Curls.

Your routine should include three sets of a weight you can handle with good form. Consider eight to 12 reps per exercise. Rest a minute between sets. As you progress through your program, add weight once you notice you can complete 12 reps with good form. The ideal schedule to improve this basketball offseason sees you workout on three, non-consecutive days per week. (Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday, for example.)

Skills to Improve This Basketball Offseason: Ball Handling

Ball handling stands as one of the most important skills for basketball players at any level. So, it makes sense that to improve this offseason, you work on your handle. Developing a solid dribbling routine helps maximize your improvement efforts, especially since you don’t need a gym to practice this skill.

A good place to start with ball handling skills is control. Make sure you can manipulate the ball equally well with both hands in stationary dribbling exercises. To level up in this process, add a second ball to your stationary work. This improves awareness, control, and focus. Another exercise to incorporate is dribbling with one hand while tossing a tennis ball with the other.

Once your stationary work is compete, move on to ball handling drills on the move. Use cones if you have them and weave up and down a set space. Progress to crossovers, pull-backs, and back-the-back dribble moves. Incorporate hesitation moves as well. Once you’ve got that down, add more advanced dribbling practice.

Skills to Improve This Basketball Offseason: Shooting

The next step in your offseason program to improve for your next basketball season is shooting. If you want to see the floor consistently next season, you must be able to knock down shots when you’re open. Your ability and position should dictate some of the aspects to your shooting regimen.

Each shooting workout should consist of at least 100 jumpers. These shot attempts should be spread out to different areas of the floor, but it’s important to get shots up. Shooting is a repetitive motion, so you’re developing muscle memory with each workout. Work on developing rhythm to your shot attempts, focusing on repeating good form. Step into your shots with proper footwork. Remember, bring your weak side foot forward first.

Make sure your shot attempts come from spaces on the floor you would find yourself in a game. It makes little sense to perfect a post game if your coach never sets you there. If you can partner with a teammate for rebounding and passing, that might make things simpler. This also help with catch-and-shoot practice.

Finish your shooting workout with a set of at least 20 free throws. Make sure you repeat the same motion and routine to perfect your form.

Agility and Conditioning

As your basketball season draws closer, it’s time to incorporate agility and conditioning drills. These exercises help you improve during the offseason and give you a head start for the next basketball season. Don’t double up agility and condition with your strength training. These exercises should come on those days you’re not working through your strength training program.

One good agility drill to try is called the “Lane Agility Test.” This begins with you on the left elbow of the floor. Start by sprinting from the free throw elbow to the baseline. From there, laterally shuffle to the right lane line. Then, backpedal to the free throw line. Finally, laterally shuffle to your original starting point.

Complete this exercise at least three times. Make sure you’re facing the baseline throughout each rep. Don’t shift or lean your shoulders. Try to complete each rep as quickly as possible.

When you shift your focus to condition, consider High Intensity Interval Training. If you’ve been working to improve throughout the basketball offseason, you should be in pretty good shape at this point.

For this exercise, start on one baseline and sprint the length of the court to the opposite baseline. Turn and sprint back to complete the first rep. One set of this exercise includes four reps, or four sprints up and back. As you continue through your program, add more sets to this training exercise. But don’t forget to include a rest time, ideally 45 seconds, between sets.


Related: 5 Ways to Make the Most of the Basketball Offseason

Resources:

Coach Unplugged Podcast

Ep: 601 Off-Season work ( Team, Player and Coach)


If you found this useful, don’t forget to check out additional blog posts at TeachHoops.com. Also, check out TeachHoops on FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.

5 Ways for Players to Maximize Offseason Training

5 Ways for Players to Maximize Offseason Training

Summer remains a pivotal part of the basketball season for more than just the coaches looking to make the most of the offseason. It’s during spring and summer where developing players can sharpen their basketball skills ahead of tryouts in the fall and the winter’s regular season.

Players can use the five P’s to help them maximize their basketball offseason training. Prep, Practice, Push, Partner, and Pace provide plenty of purposes for players to pursue. It’s never too early to start training for your next basketball season. Here’s a look at those five P’s to get you off your gaming chair on the court.

Prep For Your Offseason Training

Just like coaches, players need to prepare for their offseason training. You’ll want to ensure a plan of attack when entering the gym for any workout session. To do this, each player should prep and plan their approach. What skills do you want to develop? What drills can you incorporate?

Offseason prep provides valuable time to consider your goals. Knowing what you’d like to achieve ahead of time will help you maximize your time in the gym. Customize your prep to fit your specific goals, beyond what offseason training goals your coaches may have set for the team. If you want to get stronger, build your workouts around the weight room. If you want to increase your shooting range, set your sights on shooting drills.

Practice Your Position During Offseason Training

While having a versatile skill set is always valuable, practicing your specific position during your offseason training provides the quickest route to playing time. If you spend your individual workout time on shots you won’t or will rarely see during a game, you’re sabotaging your offseason training. The different positions on a basketball team trend to create different scoring opportunities on the floor.

Ball-handlers should practice scoring off ball screens, penetration, and catch-and-shoot opportunities. Wing players could build their workouts around coming off ball screens, catch-and-shoot/drives, and scoring from a triple-threat position. Post players can work on scoring down low, their face-up/mid-range game, and offensive rebound finishes.

Of course, there’s more to each position than just these drills, but focusing on specific skill development will help maximize your offseason training. Working solely on isolation touches or three-point shooting limits the effectiveness of your time in the gym.

Push Yourself During Offseason Training

One key to maximizing your offseason training time is keeping a close eye on your pace. While it’s okay to start slowly, your workouts should eventually build to practice your moves at game speed. Not only does this help develop your game-specific skills, it also adds a layer of conditioning to your training program.

In addition, playing with pace adds value to your training by building muscle memory. There’s a reason why it’s called “game speed.” Practices tend to run slower, especially during specific drill work. Pushing yourself to practice at game speed only helps your confidence grow as a player.

Partner Up

Practicing alone limits what you can do. So, finding a partner opens the door wider to maximizing your offseason training. You and your partner can work on a variety of skills and drills that solo workouts can’t incorporate. This is particularly true when trying to complete shooting drills. Having a rebounder and a passer can help improve the flow and efficiency of your workouts.

Adding a partner to your workout also provides a layer of accountability to what you’re trying to accomplish. You’ll probably face days where you lack the motivation to go to the gym. Having a partner in tow means you’re more likely to stick to the schedule you developed at the start of the offseason.

Pace Yourself in Offseason Training

Trying to do too much in too little a time will also sabotage your offseason training efforts. It’s important to pace yourself throughout the spring and summer so as to not suffer burnout. Staying consistent with your approach helps maximize the effectiveness of your workouts. Stick to the schedule you set at the start, and remember to consider whatever team practices and camps your coach may have in mind.

It’s important to work on multiple skills for your position, but also make time for strength training. Participating in offseason programs for other sports will also help with conditioning and avoiding basketball burnout. If you’re only working on basketball skills this offseason, set yourself up with a reasonable schedule to maximize your training efforts.


Related: 5 Keys Areas to Improve This Basketball Offseason

Resources:

Coach Unplugged Podcast

Ep: 601 Off-Season work ( Team, Player and Coach)


If you found this useful, don’t forget to check out additional blog posts at TeachHoops.com. Also, check out TeachHoops on FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.

Basketball Conditioning

Basketball Conditioning

A well-conditioned team is a team that has an opportunity for great success on the basketball court. To become this kind of team though, basketball conditioning must take place. There are a variety of ways to do this: sprints, distance running, tough drills to improve game conditioning, or a combination of the previously mentioned activities.

While we do complete longer distance running, that is something we do the least amount of. That’s because when playing basketball, rarely do you jog or run for a really long distance. We prefer to implement more conditioning through wind sprints and drills that promote conditioning. Below are 3 wind sprint drills that are different from doing basic down/back line touches or suicides.

Basketball Conditioning: the Basketball Mile

This is a great conditioning drill that we got from PGC Basketball. Basketball is divided into four quarters, so the basketball mile is divided into four quarters. The premise behind the basketball mile is the players do run a mile. But they do it in shorter spurts/springs to mimic basketball actions.

To successfully complete this, you need a running clock. At each interval on the clock, coaches must hit the buzzer and players start. The faster they run in the allotted time, the longer rest they get. The slower they run in the allotted time, the shorter amount of rest they receive. A table below shows the breakdown of basketball mile.

Basketball Conditioning

Basketball Conditioning: Champion Runs

This is a run that I ran in my high school under my coach Andy Elkins. It is a long sprint where if you don’t give 100 percent effort, it is impossible to complete.

The Champion Run consists of the following: 1 valley (see note in intro paragraph) followed by 5 full court touches (full court touch= start at 1 baseline and sprint to opposite baseline is 1). Coach Elkins always said the beauty of the Champion Run is that you will end up on the opposite baseline from where you started, so you might as well run two Champion Runs!

We do these runs when we don’t make free throws like we should, commit too many turnovers, or for just some good old-fashioned conditioning. We time these. Boys, especially guards and wings, should complete a Champion Run in the 1:00-1:07 range. Girl basketball players should complete a Champion Run in the 1:10-1:16 range.

Basketball Conditioning: the Riley Test

This is a conditioning test from the Xavier Newsletter #198. This is a great conditioning exercise because it is tough but achievable for players to accomplish.

The Riley Test is five “down and back” runs. The players start on the baseline and must run those five down and back sprints. It is best to group your players by position. After each set the players get a 2:30 break.

The goal for high school boys has always been anywhere from 1:05-1:10 per set and for the girls has been 1:10-1:20. This can decrease as you go throughout the season or get more conditioned. We always started with 3 sets but never did more than 6 sets.


Related: Summer Basketball Prep Work

Resources:


Coach Unplugged Podcast

Ep 101 Practice Planning, Pre-Season Planning, Conditioning

Ep 152: Conditioning, Building Relationships & Defensive Sets with Coach Todd


If you found this useful, don’t forget to check out additional blog posts at TeachHoops.com. Also, check out TeachHoops on FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.

Summer Basketball Prep Work

Summer Basketball Prep Work

The season is over and spring workouts are starting to commence. It’s now time to start thinking about your Summer Basketball plans. As your players ease into their time off from school, summer stands out as the perfect opportunity to improve their game. It’s never too early to prep for next season!

As you prepare for the next season, it’s important to remember every other team will be doing the same. Communicate to your players that teams are planning and working towards defeating them on the floor. It’s up to them to be ready for the next challenge. Urge them not to wait until the next school year. Definitely tell them not to wait until September to physically prepare. Impress upon them the value of being the person that’s going to work harder than everyone else to improve. Your journey starts with summer basketball prep, so ignore the noise, embrace the grind, and love the challenge!

Consider these elements to help streamline the summer basketball prep work and to help have a great off-season.

Returning Opponent Data

Our staff loves to go through our upcoming opponents for next season and start gathering data on them. Summer is a great time to start this basketball scouting work. We look at their previous season record, returning players and starters. We also look at offensive average and defensive average.

By doing this, we consider what the strengths and weaknesses of our opponents are. This helps us think about the main question of our program: What do we have to do to be better than our opponents?

The answer to that question will help dictate what we focus on starting in our summer basketball practices.

Promote Basketball Summer Camp

The youth/feeder program is the lifeline of any successful high school program. It is important to have these upcoming athletes coming into your gym.

There are a variety of ways to run a summer basketball camp, but the most important thing is to find one that best fits you and your players schedules. With this ever-changing world, it is important to have all hands on deck. If your school requires service hours for their students, using your players as counselors for the youth summer basketball camp might fill that graduation requirement for them. It also keeps them busy and in the gym!

After locking in a date for your camp, promote it! Get into the schools to talk to your future campers, create a YouTube video, promote on social media, do whatever it takes to get as many people in the gym as possible.

Schedule Summer Basketball Games & Practices

This is something that needs to be done with your high school athletes, but you may want to even consider doing practices and games with your middle school athletes, too. Communication is key at either level, especially with parents. Make your expectations clear for the involvement with summer basketball work in your program.

Chat with your returning players about their schedules, get a feel on where they’d like to play games, and find ways to make these as fun but as cost effective as possible. Find local games against your local high school opponents but also consider an out-of-town trip to bring about some extra bonding with your team.

In addition to practicing with your high school players, find time to get into the gym with your middle school players, too. They can start to hear your voice, hear your philosophies, and start prepping them to be part of the high school program.

Overnight Summer Basketball Camp Trip

If possible, find a team summer basketball camp that is out of town. Get a hotel and find some activities to enjoy as a team. Take your players to cities they have never been to. Partake in activities they’ve never done (escape rooms, billiards, bowling, etc.). Eat at restaurants they haven’t been to, and play games against opponents they otherwise may never see.

These activities provide valuable team building opportunities that will strengthen the bonds between players and coaches. Summer basketball trips often create life-long friendships and memories that your players will cherish.

If you have some players with aspirations of attending college to play basketball, find schools they may be interested in attending after high school.

10K Shot Club

Motivate your players to get shots up on their own. As all high school coaches know, you can never have enough shooting. Encourage your players to log their shot attempts and track this. Reward them in the fall with prizes, recognition, food, whatever it may be. Do a shooting program not only for your high school athletes but your feeder athletes, too.

Summer basketball work is important for any high school program. It is essential that you are maximizing your time and make sure your program is in a great position to have success in the upcoming season!

Related: Basketball Conditioning

Resources:

Coach Unplugged Podcast:

Ep: 1069 How to Evaluate Yourself and Players in the Summer

If you found this useful, don’t forget to check out additional blog posts at TeachHoops.com. Also, check out TeachHoops on FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.

Developing Focus and Fun at Basketball Practice

Developing Focus and Fun at Basketball Practice

In my coaching education workshops, I always asked coaches if they thought sports should be a fun experience for their players. Should there be fun at basketball practice? Of course, everyone said yes. So then I would make them the following offer: “If you can give me an adequate definition of ‘fun,’ I’ll sign off on your certification right now and you can leave six hours earlier than everyone else.” I made that offer for almost 15 years running and there were no winners.

Focus & Fun at Basketball Practice

Since the majority of your athletes’ time is spent in practices, it is vital that practice time be a fun, enjoyable experience. If it’s not, it’s not going to be effective. Unfortunately, some coaches feel that, because learning sports skills require discipline and focus, it’s incompatible with fun. But focus and fun are not incompatible at all.

In fact, focus is necessary for fun to occur! Just think of some of the fun experiences you’ve had in your life. You probably remember them very clearly. And that’s because you were very focused on what you were doing, who you were with, and what your surroundings were like.

It’s the same with sports. Sports are fun when three things are happening:

  • Kids are deeply involved in what they are doing
  • They feel closely connected to their “mates” (e.g., teammates, coaches, parents)
  • Kids feel like they are performing to the best of their ability

All three of these items require focus on the part of the athlete. And, as a coach, you can make all of these things happen in your practices and your games. There are ways to maximize your time as a coach. Here are some suggestions.

Developing Focus and Fun

Encourage your players to participate with all their senses.

For example, if you’re outside on a beautiful summer day, take a deep breath, pound your chest and say, “Don’t you just love the way the grass smells on a day like this?” If you’re poolside, you could say: “I love the ‘swoosh’ sound you guys make as you glide through the water. It’s better than therapy!”

Help your players to get to know each other better.

When everyone is pulling for each other, even the hardest drills become more enjoyable.

Focus on skill development.

Improved skills lead to feelings of competence, satisfaction, and accomplishment. These feelings, in turn, create enjoyment and fun at basketball practice.

Provide realistic challenges.

Kids learn and grow through a progressive series of challenges that are appropriate for their skill level and development.

Emphasize personal successes.

Playing well, or the feeling that a person has played well, is an essential part of the fun in sport.

Keep winning in perspective.

Being on the winning side is less important than striving to win. By striving to win, your players learn to concentrate, try hard, and be the best they can be.

Look for ways to energize kids and jazz up your practices.

Be creative. Cal Ripken saw a mannequin in a ski lodge and got the idea to use old mannequins to help kids learn to hit the cutoff man in the infield grass while practicing throws from right field. Just imagine how entertaining (and educational) it was when someone hit the mannequin in the wrong spot.

Other ways to incorporate fun into your practices might include ending a week as ”crazy socks day,” and doing fun, teamwork-oriented drills like “follow the leader.” Don’t think that just because your coach always made you run laps, you have to do the same thing to your players!


Dr. George Selleck, Stanford University Basketball Hall of Famer, Founder of Lead2Play, and author of Kian and Me: Gifts from a Grandson.

A former Hall of Fame athlete and coach, Dr. Selleck—a retired psychologist, organizational and management consultant, and sports education specialist—is the founder and director of Lead2Play, a comprehensive program that encourages youth participation in sports while promoting healthy living and the development of key life skills, such as organization, management, and team-building.

Dr. Selleck was inducted into the Stanford University Basketball Hall of Fame, the Pac-12 Hall of Honor, and named one of the “100 Most Influential Sports Educators in America” by the Institute for International Sports at the University of Rhode Island.

 

Related: 3 Practical Steps to Create Connections

 

 

 

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