GOAL: Take the pulse of the team/parents and change things up!

First 10 Minutes

Talk to the players and encourage them to work hard and have fun. Concentrate on better technique today and tell the players what will be done during this practice.  Plus go over some new rule each practice, or something that might have happened in a pro or college game and how it applies to their level.  Also, review the previous games and ask the players what they think went well and what needs work and see if it matches what you were thinking.

Next 5 Minutes (Stretching)

Stretch legs for two minutes and stretch arms for two minutes. Stretching prepares the muscles to prevent injury. The last minute should be used to jog around the field once.

Some stretches:
  • Sit, with legs extended out flat on the ground in a V position. Lean forward, reach for the toes and pull back on the toes. Hold for a 10 count (have the girls count down from 10). Repeat. This works the hamstrings, calves and lower back.
  • Sit, with legs extended out flat on the ground in a V position. Reach and touch the right hand to the outside of the left foot. Mimic the other side. Hold for a 10 count on each side. This stretches the outside of the upper back.
  • Stand straight, bend a leg behind the body, grab the ankle and pull the heel toward the backside. Hold for a 10 count. Mimic with the other leg. This stretches the quad muscles.
  • Stand straight and extend the right arm behind the body. Grab the right wrist with the left hand and pull back and over toward the left side. Hold for a 10 count. Mimic with the other arm. This will stretch the front of the shoulder.

Next 20 Minutes (Game Management)

How have the parents been?  Do they know the rules?  Now that the season is well underway, you have to teach them as well to stop yelling for 3 seconds every minute and remind them to cheer for their team and for any kid who tries their best.  Sometimes, we will spend a late season practice scrimmaging the whole time as well.  Drills are great, but let them officiate themselves and play a game for the whole time.  Also, make sure each kid gets to play all the spots on the court.  Don't make the tall kids play near the basket all the time.  Remember, every kid thinks they are a point guard!

Next 20 Minutes (Offense)

Basic Man to Man Sets

Every coach loves to draw up plays on a board and here is a chance to be creative.  My advice is to use simple sets and then teach the players that they are designed to get everyone moving without the ball and to look for one another.  Also, at this level, if they can reverse the ball at least once, they make a defense work that much harder and will open up more chances.  Use a basic 1-4 setup, high or low and become creative with screening the ball and away from it, places to cut and uses of the dribble.  Try it versus man to man or zone defense, you might be surprised how a man to man defense works against a zone defense.

Next 3 Minutes (Water Break)

Before the break, while the players are tired, shoot some foul shots.  Give the players time to break for water. It is extremely important for the players to remain hydrated at all times. But have them hustle back to the court.

Competitive Foul Shooting

By now you have had chances to go over foul shooting, so break things up by making it competitive.  Divide the teams into 2 groups and have them shoot 2 at a time.  First team that makes 4, 5 or 6 in a row as a group gets to pick a conditioning drill for the loosing team to run.

Competitive Rebounding Drills

Break the team into groups of 3 or 4 and have them do rebounding of live shots from a coach and reward the defense team if they can successfully rebound the ball and outlet to the coach and reward the offense team if they can get a rebound and score.  Play to 5 and losing team runs.

Next 3 Minutes (Water Break)

Give the players time to break for water. It is extremely important for the players to remain hydrated at all times. But have them hustle back to the court.  Coming out of the break, take time to shoot some foul shots.

Controlled Scrimmage

Now that you have advanced to playing games, you should have controlled scrimmages where you can go over problem areas, reiterate new concepts and set up real game scenarios that they players try to figure out without the coach's help.  Go over certain scenarios only a few times, and move on even if they do not get it, and review again next practice.

End of Game Scenarios

If possible, put 1 or 2 minutes on the clock, and one team up by 2 or 3 points, and let them play it out on their own.  Put one player on each team with 4 fouls and give each team 2 timeouts and each team shooting the bonus.  After it plays out, review what went well and what needs work and replay the scenario again.

End of Practice

Foul shooting when tired is the best way to simulate end of game.  Introduce end of the game plays.  Begin to show them plays that can be used in the last 10, 5 and 2 seconds of a game or quarter.  Start from half court inbounding. Then, while the players are drinking water, huddle them together for a talk. Take this time to recognize the work that was done well, but also discuss what needs improvement. Always finish the talk in an upbeat, positive way. Tell the players the next practice time and follow up with an email to their parents. Remember to place hands together and yell, '1, 2, 3 (with the team name)!'