By Alan Stein, Pure Sweat Basketball
They say, ‘you play the way you practice.’
Assuming that’s true, and I have full confidence it is, then coaches and players alike should do everything in their power to maximize every practice.
8 Things PLAYERS should do to maximize every practice:
1) Be well fueled, well hydrated, well rested, and take care of your body. Do exercises like these 2-3 times per week:
2) Get to practice early. Don’t wait for practice to start, prepare for it. Making 100 extra shots before every practice will have an enormous compound effect over the course of the season.
3) Approach practice with a ‘game like’ mentality. After all, how you do anything is how you do everything. Want to play well in games? Then practice well every day.
4) Listen with your eyes. Your coach won’t say it if it’s not important. Absorb everything your coaching staff and teammates say by having great eye contact.
5) Leave your comfort zone every practice. Leave it mentally. Leave it physically. Leave it emotionally. You should be drained at the end of every practice. Leave it on the floor!
6) Make your enthusiasm contagious. Raise the level of those around you with constant energy. Be vocal.
7) Be a ‘Glue Guy’ (or ‘Glue Girl’). By definition, glue binds and holds things together. Be the glue on your team.
8) Value the ball for the entire practice. Every drill. Every scrimmage. Every play. Don’t take bad shots or make sloppy passes.
8 Things COACHES should do to maximize every practice:
1) Have a practice plan. Have written out to the minute, the entire practice. You will certainly need to make tweaks and adjustments, but stick as close to the plan as you can. Plan your work and work your plan!
2) Have a theme for the day. Will today focus more on offense? Defense? Drill work? Conditioning? Instruction? Don’t try to do everything every practice.
3) Coach in bullet points, not paragraphs. Keep practice flowing!
4) What 3 things do you want your team to be known for this season? Rebounding? Pressure defense? 3-point shooting? Whatever they are, emphasize them every day.
5) Do NOT allow bad attitudes or poor body language… ever. Those things are understandable, but never acceptable. Nip them in the bud quickly.
6) Focus on quality over quantity. Time efficiency is important. If you can do it in 90 minutes, don’t take 2 hours.
7) Get up shots! The name of the game is to put the ball in the cup. Make sure your players get up a few hundred quality shots every practice.
8) Have fun! While I respect Gene Hackman’s line in Hoosiers, ‘My practices aren’t designed for your enjoyment’… I wholeheartedly disagree. If you find ways to make practice fun, your players will give a better effort. If they give a better effort, you’ll get better results. Then everyone wins!