November 5, 2004, Newsletter Issue #187: EFFECTIVE PRACTICE PLANNING

Tip of the Week

A good practice should be well organized and well run. One of the best ways to achieve this is through the use of practice plans. Decide what you want to accomplish in your practice, how much time you will devote to each thing you want to do, then the drills you will use and how much time you will need to complete them.

Always take every practice seriously because the way you practice is the way you are going to play. If you don´t put much effort into practice, those habits will show on the court during the game. Practice hard and you will play hard in the games.

As often as possible, make practices competitive. Games are played to be won and lost, so the more competition you can have in practice, the more used to competition your players will be. Winning then becomes a habit.

When running drills, break your team into groups and spend no more than five minutes on a drill. You want to keep practices fast-paced and this will help. By breaking down into smaller groups, you keep everyone active and give them several repetitions in the exercise. By keeping the drill time short, you keep their interest.

Have an idea on how you want your basketball practices to flow. There should be a natural progression to what you do. Practices should start slow, for warm-up purposes and gradually get more intense. You might want to insert fun and enjoyable drills immediately after more strenuous activities. It’s a good idea to work on shooting when the team is tired. Try developing a chart or checklist to make sure that you cover skills and strategies as often as you`d like

You might want to try doing your teaching of new plays during a pre-practice walk thru before the team is stretched and loosened up. Their minds will be more focused on learning. If they stand and listen too long after warming up, they will get tight and it might be hard to get them going again.

Teams won’t execute everything perfectly the first time. A good concept to remember is INTRODUCE-REVIEW-MASTER.
Know where your team is in the process at all times. Use this throughout the season and remember it takes several times for anything to be truly committed to memory.

Running at the very end of practice can cause players to try to “save” themselves by not practicing as hard as they can. This can create a negative effect, and players may develop bad habits. It may also cause players to enter the locker room after practice on a negative note. If players are required to stay in stance, play with intensity, and run the floor as fast as they can throughout practice then mixing in a few “conditioners” should be all that you need.

Practices should rarely, if ever, last longer than two hours. Players have a difficult time maintaining focus and effort beyond that time. Do not fall into the “lottle” principle. You know, if a little is good, a “lottle” must be better. By going longer you may end up accomplishing less .

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