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Planning basketball practice is both an art and a science. Every practice should include some specific skills, but it is up to you to structure the session according to the needs of your team. Want to know How To Plan A Good Basketball Practice?
While the context of professional players is completely different from those who play for fun, this captures the essence of good basketball practice: it must prepare the players and team for the highs and lows in the actual court game.
Although quality basketball practice is ideal, it is not always easy to achieve. It takes a collaborative effort to reach the desired results. However, apart from cooperation and teamwork, there is also a need for the coaches and trainers to approach basketball practice strategically, even at the youth level. Simply stated, every practice session should be based on a previously decided practice plan.
Maximize every practice with a basketball practice plan
To make the most out of practice time, the coach must develop a comprehensive basketball practice plan even before practice officially starts. This way, every exercise will be intentional and focused and the coach can ensure that specific skills and goals are targeted by each activity. As a result, players can expectantly improve faster and build team cohesiveness through every practice and exercise.
Because practice plans are carefully thought of, team players can also rest assured that the time allotted for practices is meaningful and significant. No players or coaches want to waste resources on activities that are irrelevant and insignificant. Wasting such time and effort can altogether be avoided by creating basketball practice plans beforehand.
What should a practice plan include?
To maximize time and availability, the practice plan must be comprehensive enough to cater to the needs of as many players as possible and the team as a whole. Although different players and teams may need to focus on specific areas over others, overall, a good basketball practice plan must include the following.
Despite how basic this may sound, stretching is an important part of every practice and workout. They are essential in starting and ending the practice time and should therefore be included in a basketball practice plan.
For pre-practice or game stretches, players can maximize dynamic stretching exercises that can help them build their momentum. But, when it comes to the cooldown regimen, they may want to switch to static stretching exercises in order to relax and cool sore muscles.
Different drills for warm ups
Performing different warm up drills in the basketball practice plan and schedule is important because they prepare different muscle groups and help minimize injury risks. While there are several warm up drills that teams can incorporate, the most common drills for warm ups include high knees, slow jogging, running up and down the side of the court, and other drills.
Players can also try actual basketball drills during their warm up, including the following.
- Ball dribble drills with right and left hand
- Ball handling
- Shooting free throws
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Development of player-specific basketball skills
Like with any other sport and craft, basketball players must be armed with the necessary skills to handle the ball well and play basketball effectively. Fundamentals such as passing, shooting, dribbling, rebounding, and defending the ball are some of the most important abilities that players must have. On top of these fundamentals, characteristics such as endurance, full speed, and agility are also extremely important in a game.
Each team and player has its own strengths and weaknesses. For example, some may need to hone their shooting form or ball dribbling while others need to focus on passing, stationary ball handling, or other game fundamentals. The coach should assess these needs and take them into account to know which drills and skill development programs to focus on for the player and the rest of the team.
If there are areas where players and teams are still lacking, it may be necessary to focus on them to maintain and boost performance. All players need to practice how they pass, shoot, rebound, dribble, and defend the ball. Ultimately, teams shouldn’t just stay at their current level; they should get better.
Ball games such as basketball are fast-paced and continuous. Players hardly have any time to stand still throughout the game. Hence, building endurance is extremely necessary. This is where conditioning enters the picture.
The coach must not forget to include conditioning drills and exercises in the basketball practice plan. Players must be able to maintain their physical performance throughout the entire game. This is why it is necessary to train through practice.
Having unified team concepts and team strategies in handling the ball around the full or half court is important in an actual game. Therefore, it is equally important to include them in basketball practices. While team strategies may vary from team to team, such techniques usually pertain to defense, offense, and set plays.
The coach should come up with a defense strategy and make sure that each basketball player is on board. When it comes to basketball defense, factors such as positioning, alignment, defensive stance, and other defense strategies always come into the picture.
Some teams lean towards being a defensive team, which means that defense is their main strength. However, even if the defense is not the team’s actual focus, defensive drills are necessary in order to hone the team’s defense strategy.
For the team to have a good defensive stance, players must have good footwork (with correct inside and outside foot position), quickness, alertness, and a broad understanding of basketball fundamentals. These skills should be learned and honed through continuous practice.
The team should also continuously improve its offense strategy through court practice. Players know how important offense is because this is where most of the shots come into the picture.
Most coaches plan offense schemes to play out in a continuous motion that can be carried out again and again. Some of the most common offense techniques include motion offense, pick-and-roll offense, and 1-3-1 offense.
Set plays refer to carefully choreographed movements intended to achieve shots and gain points. Coaches typically call these plays in the course of a game, so it is important for team players to know and practice these beforehand for the play to run smoothly and successfully.
These set plays usually start with a first player. Once this one player starts, another player moves as part of the choreography. The action can be a pass, defense, or another task. In several cases, players start building their momentum through set plays. However, for these plays to be carried out effectively, careful timing and coordination are required.
Although several factors come together to make a win possible, effective team coordination, defense, offense, and set plays all have significant roles to play in an actual game. Therefore, the coach should ensure that these are covered in the practice plan of the basketball team.
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Game situations—A half court game, full court game, and other small sided games
Although some practice sessions should focus on skills development and team strategies, some should be dedicated to actual game simulations. After all, ball games are always played as a team in a controlled and fast-paced environment. Individual skills and warm up drills matter, of course, but all the drills involving dribbling and passing the ball should work in the context of the team and an actual game.
As part of their warm up for the actual ball match, all the players should be able to explore playing in different setups, including a half court game, full court game, and other small sided games. It is important to try these situations out during practice so that the entire team can evaluate their performance in more detail when it comes to shooting, dribbling, passing, rebounding, and defending the ball across these different courts, games, and team situations.
The whole team can be divided into two teams that play ball against each other. The first team and the second team can take turns in practicing actual strategies and skills through the gameplay. These skills and strategies can be practiced in a full court and half court setup in order to maximize the gameplay. Players also get to practice the correct ball shooting form, take into account the foul line or free throw line, and play alongside their teammates in an actual simulation.
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Other tips for creating a basketball practice plan
While the above points should be included in a basketball practice plan, here are other tips and suggestions that coaches and trainers may want to consider when devising their practice plan.
Create a schedule based on the plan
Make sure that each drill and exercise has a specific time allocation in order to maximize the entire practice schedule.
Warm up drills and basketball exercises don’t have to be static. From the pre-practice stretching down to the cool down, things can be mixed up and varied. Practices and drills can be fun as each player begins their own drill. For example, some drills can be done in the full court while some can be executed in the half court. Different kinds of ball drills can also be utilized in all practice games.
Focus on the team first
Some trainers may focus on the team’s opponents over the condition of the players themselves. While this is still important, it should come second to the players’ overall shape. Trainers should focus on building the team first.
Tips for actual basketball practice
Here are some other tips that coaches and trainers can consider as they facilitate the actual practice session.
Immediately move to the next drill
Teammates don’t have to spend too much time on one specific drill. After finishing one drill, players can pass on to the next.
Add an element of competition
Whether focusing on 3-on-3 drills or dribbling drills, the coach should add a competitive element to the practice by naming a winner and a loser. Losers may face consequences such as a few push-ups or laps around the court, for example, while winners are spared . Making the practice competitive can simulate the actual game and encourage players to do better.
Keep everyone moving
As much as possible, each player should continuously be on the go. Practice sessions shouldn’t leave room for stagnation and laziness.
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Come to practice prepared
Players and coaches should all be prepared for practice. While players should show dedication in the practice matches and exercises, coaches should also make sure that the actual session is worth the time and effort. That is what a basketball practice plan achieves.