Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Practice Plans

Basketball season is upon us! Friday kicks off the 2010-11 season for college basketball teams all over the country. If you coach high school ball, I am sorry to get you worked up and excited but your time is right around the corner. I challenge you to think about how you organize your practices. There are so many great ways to accomplish outstanding practices. Here are just a few ideas that you may want to implement into your practices.

Listening to Fran Fraschilla this summer at Coaching U, he talked about practice being sacred. The questions in preparing practices you need to ask yourself are, "What do you stand for? Do your players know?" You should prepare practice like your mentors (he used Bill Parcells and Hubie Brown) were coming to watch. Fran also recommended making a list of Clips in order to organize what you want to accomplish. Each Clip is a portion of time, for example clip 1 could be from the first day of practice until your first scrimmage and clip 2 is from the first scrimmage to your first game. Under each clip, you list the things you wish to have completed offensively, defensively, and special situations. It is a fantastic organization tool and measuring stick for where you are and where you wanted to be.

Rick Pitino organizes his practices into eight 15 minute segments. 1 = Warm-up, 2 = Fast Break, 3 = 1/2 Court Defense, 4 = 1/2 Court Offense, 5 & 6 = Press Defense, 7 = Scrimmage, and 8 = Specials and Zone work. In order to provide organization and variety to practices, he lists numerous drills (similar to Fran's clips) that can be utilized in each segment.

When I worked for Ray Giacoletti, he planned practices to be 1/2 defense, with a break, and the other 1/2 offense. The following day, we would flip the order, going offense first and defense second. The break was not only a rest opportunity for the players, but a mental transition. They knew that it was time to shift gears in terms of emphasis. After the break, Ray liked to use shooting competitions to get the competitive juices flowing again.

Tom Oswald had what I consider to be the best practice plan sheets of anyone. He would type them up every day which made them legible and easily read. On the back side he listed the date, the practice #, the emphasis of the day (for example: defensive stance), the thought of the day (usually a motivation quote or a mental focusing point), a list of what players were in what color that day, a list of our MASH unit (guys with injuries), and notes about upcoming events (practices, study hall, community service, etc.). This was also posted in the locker room every day for the players. The front side was an extremely meticulous and detailed practice plan with a column for how much time each segment was and a column with a detailed description of the drill or activity.

One idea I would add to Tom's practice plan would be some blank court diagrams. How many times in practice do you have an idea and want to scribble it down for later? I know I do frequently and this is a great way to make it easier... and in my case much more readable.

Would love to hear more ideas in regards to practice plans. Please comment and discuss!

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