Making a Practice Plan

Contributed by Brett Ayers. Email the author at

Every coach has a form and or hopefully some sort of timeline for what he wants to get in with each and every practice. Certainly the head coach brings a vision. The coach may add or subtracts from the plan after considering interaction with the players, strengths made apparent as the year goes on, and weaknesses discovered. The head coach really needs to constantly get feedback from his assistant coaches.

What I have listed down below is just a basic form with some thoughts of why you might want to do that and why it is placed there.

30 minutes Game film - Combo of self evaluation and when appropriate and needed game film of up coming opponent.

10 minutes of stretching

5 minutes jump rope

10 minutes 40-40-40 full court lay up drill First five players have a ball to start out with and dribbles up the length of the court laying it in right handed getting it out of the net the player then goes back the length of the court as fast as possible in both cases laying it in. You have the team do this until they make 40 all the while getting them to really push the ball out in front of them. You then have them do 40 left handed and when that is done you have them pair up and do "box to box" passing the length of the court maintaining spacing. If the lay in is missed by the pair or the ball is dropped in the passing exchange they have to go again.

20 Minutes Man to man breakdown drills Shell drills, close out drills- weak side spacing drills, slipping the pick drills- Use your regular continuity offense as the shell and or the continuity offense of your upcoming opponent to get some duality of use out of the drill.

2 Minutes Water Break

15 Minutes- Blocking out breakdown- Two, three and five man drills working on technique, tenacity- Along with the defense section of practice the real dials of intensity where things can be picked up and turned up, depending on if this is needed.

2 Minutes Water Break

20 minutes Individual offensive breakdowns Divide up guards, forwards and big men and have them go to either end of the court running different drills that incorporate cuts and shots that are desired from whatever offensive scheme and or schemes you are employing. Also, using three man shooting drills is a great way in ten minutes to get up a lot of shots. Emphasize game shots, games spots and most certainly game speed. A great thing to employ with the big men is the use of a tackle dummy pad to hit them when they are going for their shots and or use a broom so that they have to learn to get the ball up and over the defender. Guards can also benefit with a stationary defensive man standing next to them as they shoot with his hands up.

20 minutes Offensive breakdown Start with running break stuff and press break stuff. You then dry run through entry plays and of course go over any adjustments and alterations that might be necessary for the up coming opponent. Split up your first and second squads- Top seven on one end and the rest on the other end. Remember to get your top how ever many who play significant minutes into the mix.

2 Minutes Water Break

15 minutes of going over having your second team work on and run your upcoming opponent's stuff - Take this time also to go over, with your top 7 your defensive players, press stuff- Rotations, etc. Early in the year this will constitute the majority of some of your early practices as you put your presses in.

The final 30 minutes of practice can be divided into controlled scrimmages. The first 15 minutes used to run all of your stuff against yourself. Different thoughts on how to do this are that you divide up the teams somewhat fairly others want a first going against second team situation. The final fifteen minutes, controlled scrimmage again but your first team going against the second team running the upcoming opponent's stuff.

Now, in a the first weeks of practice and at intermittent times as the year goes on I am not a real believer in using simple "lines" or just running the kids for conditioning. First off, your practices should move quickly and succinctly with as little downtown as possible. Second, intensity has to be maximized in no matter what you are doing, dry run, shooting drills etc. Lastly, I think if you are condition do it with a ball in your hands. Run three, four man fast break drills with emphasis on perfection and use some sort of a number of something or a time to attain before the drill can end. We used to use something called "Rabbit" and "Double Rabbit" which is a three man full court drill that does not allow for a missed lay-in and the ball can not touch the court. Very tough and makes the kids concentrate while they are getting conditioned. Lines are to easy to just go through the motions on.

End the practice with Double Rabbit and or dry running full court break stuff.

As the season goes on using free throws for lines exchange is a good thing and the lines are obtained via not hitting a certain percentage of free throws and teaches the kids to concentrate through the fatigue.

Another thing I would do, if it is possible, is to video each and every practice. I think kids often have a vision of what they think they are doing and video has a way of showing the reality of what is going on.

That is how I would run my practices.