As a former Assistant and Head College Basketball Coach, I spent many hours watching high school basketball practices through the years. It was a way to evaluate players in a working environment; to see how they interacted with teammates and coaches, how hard they worked in drills, and how they responded to coaching. But while watching players, I was also able to watch coaches run their practices. It was amazing to me how many of the coaches didn’t even refer to a practice plan. Even more amazing was the number of practices that consisted of a layup drill to warm up, 30 minutes of half court offensive work, 30 minutes of scrimmage, all followed by 30 minutes of free throw shooting and free shooting (mostly 3’s).
I believe in short segments in my practice plans. The reason? I like to cover many objectives every practice, from Offense, to Defense, to Rebounding, to Handling Pressure, to Fast Breaking, to Special Situations to Fundamentals, Fundamentals, Fundamentals. In order to develop good habits, you have to repeat often. Short Segments daily allows a coach to do just that. And if you are a “Running Game Coach” like I was, the fast pace of short segments keeps things moving along and never allows for a letdown by either you or your players. That was always important to me, whether I was coaching college or high school teams.
Basically, I broke my practices down into blocks of time for the important concepts I wanted to cover each day. Roughly, this is the time frame I followed in a two hour block:
Player Development, including shooting – 25 minutes
Fast Break and Transition Defense – 30 minutes
Rebounding – 10 minutes
Offense, in Half Court & Full Court – 20 minutes
Defense, in the Half Court – 20 minutes
Press Work, Offense & Defense -10 minutes
Special Situations, Late Game, etc -5 minutes
Total (2 hours) -120 minutes
Some have asked me for a sample of one of my practices. Below is one from the last year I coached. The starting time of 1:50 was the early arrival warmup. Most got there earlier, but all had to be at least 10 minutes early for the 2 pm practice. They always started with 2 laps dribbling a ball with their weaker hand and then moved to a shooting progression. You are welcome to ask questions or comment on this sample. Most of the drills have been covered in earlier blog posts.
Vista Practice Plan
1:50 2 Laps – Form Shooting – Free Throws – Spot Shooting
2:00 Discussion – Closeouts – Rebounding – Move the Ball
2:05 Warmups – 2 Man Passing Drill – Call Partner’s Name
2:07 Group Stretch
2:12 Defense – Close Out Drill – 6 players each end
2:15 Groups – Posts – Padded Offensive Reb – Padded Post Moves
Guards – Beating Man Pressure – Beating Traps
2:25 2 on 2 Post Feeds – Cut – Relocate – Inside/Outside (both sides)
2:30 Fast Break Drills – Three Lane Rush – Fig 8 – 3 on 2/ 2 on 1
2:40 Review Secondaries – 5 on 0
Fist – Hi Post Backdoor – Reverse Lob – High Low (skip to 3)
2:48 Rebound Rips – Deep Outlets
2:50 3 on 3 Rebound Block
2:55 Rebound & Run – (5 on 5) – Primary & Secondary Breaks
3:05 Free Throw Water Break – 2 @ time, 5 in a row
3:10 5 on 0 Review Half Court Offense – Man – Zone – OBs – (both ends)
3:15 ODO (Off-Def-Off) – Man Defense and Transition
3:25 Free Throw Press Drill – use White Press (2-2-1 make or miss)
3:35 Defensive Breakdown Drills – (5 min each)
2 on 2 Hedge Pick & Roll
3:45 4 on 4 Shell to Pick & Roll – (good closeouts & hedging)
3:55 End of Game Situation – 5 secs, down 2, length of court.
4:00 End – Quick Meet & Comments
Extra Shooting Time or Individual Work
Note: Bold, highlighted segments are specific to Fast Break Training.