By: Tony Alfonso

Planning basketball practice is one of the most important details in the job of a basketball coach. Planning a good basketball practice is even more important.

Regardless of the level you coach, basketball practices should be planned out in advance. It amazes me that there are still coaches who do not have a written plan prior to leading a team through practice. If you are one of those coaches without a practice plan and find yourself to be successful, think how much more successful you could be with a plan!

A basketball practice is essentially your classroom. How many math, science, or history teachers go into class without a plan? I think you will find a classroom in chaos if they do not go in with a plan!

Practice planning – good practice planning – allows you the ability to work toward pre-set goals and to progressively teach your team throughout the rigors of a long season.

Here is a list for why you should be doing written practice plans:

  1. Practice plans, in conjunction with an overall season plan, help you determine what needs to be taught and when it should be taught.
  2. Written practice plans allow you to effectively communicate with your assistants so they what is going to be drilled on during the practice session.
  3. Properly planned practices allow you to teach all areas of the game in a progressive manner so that your players learn what you are teaching. Without a plan, it becomes difficult to recall where they are on the progression.
  4. Can you really remember in your head everything you want to do and how long you want to spend on it?
  5. Written-down practice plans can (and should) be saved for future reference. You may want to look back throughout the season as well as in future seasons.
Planning a good basketball practice does require a concerted effort on your part but it need not become a full-time job in and of itself. Planning a 2-hour practice generally will take anywhere from 15 to 60 minutes … depending on what you are planning.

It also works best to follow a template where you can write or type in your drills so you can carry it with you and save it for future use. If you are interested, you are free to download our Basketball Practice Plan Template. It contains an example plan so you can see how to fill it out and it contains a blank template so you can print it off and make copies for your personal use.

As you work on writing out your practice plans, here are some tips that will help you plan effective, efficient, and excellent basketball practices:

  1. Before the season, begin by developing your overall season plan. This can be a quick and simple outline that mentions the key systems, philosophies, and skills you plan to teach over the course of a season.
  2. Build a collection of basketball drills covering all aspects of the game. You will be able to pull from this collection when you want or need something specific. You will find a nice collection here at Hoops U. to help you get started. If you are a member of Hoops U. Insider, you’ll find hundreds of drills covering all areas of the game with more and more added each and every week. You can also find drills in all the various books and videos available at the Hoops U. Basketball Store. Apart from Hoops U, you can also attend coaching clinics, talk to fellow coaches, and search the internet!
  3. Allow time in each practice for offense, defense, special situations, and individual skills. Time spent on each will fluctuate throughout the season but all areas should be covered in each practice.
  4. Limit time spent on each drill. The majority of your drills should be in the 5-10 minute range. A few may get up to 15 minutes. When the time is up, move on to the next drill. If they don’t get it in the timeframe allotted, they aren’t going to get it that day. Redo the drill again and/or figure out a better way to teach it.
  5. Skills and techniques are not going to be mastered in 10 minutes. Whatever you are working on, plan on doing so each practice over the course of several days and/or weeks.
  6. Have your plan accessible during practice so you know what you’re doing and you’re doing it. Don’t waste time looking for your plan during important practice time.
  7. Give copies to your assistants and managers so they are prepared throughout the practice.

Hopefully this article will help you better prepare to plan your practices. If you are not currently writing down your practice plans, I urge you to do so starting now! I think you will find your practices to be better organized and your players more focused.

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