GOAL: The press is killing us!  We have to review it offensively and defensively.

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.  Since the full court press is often a game changer at this level, time to spend a day reviewing.

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 (Full Court Passing and Dribbling Drills)

Now we take all the basic skills of passing, dribbling and shooting and incorporate them into a series of full court drills so that you can see how they handle everything on the move.  Give the series of drills a name so they can do these and any drill on a moment's notice without much coaching to get it started.  Basically pair them up and go through a series of drills in your assigned full court area that incorporate:
  • Chest passing back and forth around the inside of the perimeter of the court.  The outside player keeps his back to sidelines and stays inbounds and switch positions when they go through once.
  • Outlet pass and speed dribble for a full court lay-up and then switch on the way back.
  • Outlet pass and speed dribble to a jump shot from the foul line and switch on the way back.
  • Outlet pass and speed dribble to the foul line and jump stop and bounce pass to the passer for a lay-up and switch on the way back.

Coaching Points
  • Remind players of eye contact for passes.
  • Make sure they speed dribble with their head up.
  • Jump stops on the foul line.
  • Maintain form on all shots.

Next 20 Minutes (Defense Series)

Defensive Trapping

Depending on the skill level of the league and players, you will at some point be allowed to trap in the front or back court.  You need to begin by explaining how and when to trap.  My advice is to trap in the corner of the front court to start with and how to approach the ball handler when they have the dribble and when they don't.  This is called corralling.  Explain that if the player has their dribble, you need to be more cautious and if they pick up their dribble can guard closer.

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.  Foul shooting after break.

Defensive Trapping (players not trapping)

Now teach those closest to the trap how to read the trap.  If the player being trapped, but still has their dribble, always have to guard closest to the basket.  If the player picks up their dribble, defense can anticipate more closely to the trap.  If the player turns his back to the basket in the trap, then can anticipate the next logical pass.  Let the offense think it is open and then be ready to at least step in or deflect the next pass.

Defensive Trapping (retreating back to cover basket)

If the offense beats the trap, teach the players coming back to the defensive basket that they need to retreat into the paint and find someone close by to defend.  Everyone needs to sprint back to the paint and then recover to their position or man only when the basket area is properly defended.

Coaching Points
  • Players love to trap or press, but they need to know the consequences if they don't hustle.
  • Successful pressing is not from the trap, but reading the next pass.
  • Deflections are good because they will frustrate the offense.
  • Sprint back on defense to the paint and then recover.

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.

Zone Offense (20 minutes) versus a trap

To start, try to teach them where on the court to avoid traps, especially the corners in the full and half court.  Do not turn your back to the trap.  If you have your dribble still, try splitting the trap or reversing the ball around the trap.  This is where all the skills from the man in the middle drill will come in handy.

Coaching Points
  • Keep the ball moving either by passing, dribbling or using fakes.
  • Keep dribble alive until you have someone to pass to.

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)!'