Practice Planning and Concepts

Concepts to Make Basketball Practice Challenging

Players like challenging basketball practices. Challenging practice practice sessions are more fun, they go by much quicker and players feel their time was well spent in the practice session. Challenging practice sessions also result in more improvement, both as individual players and as a team. Most important, to the coach, challenging practice sessions result in more wins.

What are some elements that make a practice challenging?

1) Mentally challenging: Forces the players to think through situations quickly and to make correct decisions under pressure.

2) Game like: For practices to be truly effective, the session needs to be more challenging than an actual game.

3) Create advantage/disadvantage situations: Give one unit a numerical advantage. If the offense has five players, allow the defense to have four. It forces the defense to “overcome” the disadvantage and forces the offense to think about how to best utilize their temporary advantage.

4) Use restrictions to increase difficulty: As a fast break and motion offense proponent, one of my favorite restrictions was to eliminate the use of the dribble for the offense. Not only does this change how the offense must execute, it creates challenges for the defense as well.

5) Work against the clock: Games involve the pressure of time. In order to replicate that sense of urgency, players need to work against the clock during practice.