Here is a list of some ideas that I have gathered from various sources to use to plan, execute, and evaluate our practices. The list is not intended to be all inclusive for every situation, but just what has fit our programs over the years. Feel free to add a comment below if you have ideas to add or something that you disagree with. The list is not in order of importance. It is helpful to me to have these types of checklists in my planner to review both while planning and evaluating practice.
I have added in some commentary to make my checklist easier to follow.
Every Practice Checklist
1. Every day our coaches need to be teaching our players and setting standards in a way that will make them better and tougher both as individuals and as players.
2. Our goal is to practice every day with the technique, intensity, toughness, and togetherness of a state champion. We have that as a sign in our locker room. I can’t say that we are even close to perfect, but I want to set our standards high. And, I think that it makes it clear in our players’ minds that an average or ordinary effort is not what we are after and not something that we will accept.
3. Spend 30 minutes in individual skill development every day.
4. No purposeless possessions, drills, discussions. If we expect that in a game, we cannot accept less in practice.
5. Establish and make clear to the players a standard, score, or accountability measure for each practice activity. Examples: If it is a pre-practice meeting, the players must look the speaker in the eye, if it is a warmup layup drill, establish how many makes in a row they need to complete the drill. Make as many drills that we can make competitive against a team record, personal record, a team standard, or another player or players.
6. Put our players in as many situations as we can that are harder in practice than in games. Examples two ball dribbling, 2 on 1, 4 defenders guarding 5 offense, run our offense with no dribble, second team gets double the points for each made shot are just a few ways to do that. Our starters and others in our rotation will be playing against much better competition on game night than in practice. Players and coaches find ways to overcome this discrepancy. Play at a disadvantage each night.
7. We videotape the practice and have managers keep stats that are significant such as turnovers per quarter or defensive points per possession.
8. Provide repetition with variety. We want to practice our system and skills, but vary up the drills so that things don’t become stale.
9. Evaluate–Is everything we do contributing to our team goals for this year? Our goals are: daily improvement, being the toughest team on our schedule, making the year the most rewarding of each player’s basketball experience.
10. The emphasis should be on what’s important. 20% of the activities bring about 80% of the results. Take into account what the individuals and the team needs to improve on and what we need to keep sharp.
11. We emphasize communication in everything.
12. I do not want a practice with purpose, not one that moves so fast that we are are not making any improvement. I want one where teaching and learning is constantly taking place. The process must be one where the players learn and then can react quickly and properly in games.
13. Players slap five at the end of practice and shake coaches hands before leaving the floor.
14. Huddle up to start and end practice
15. Play and teach basketball, don’t just run drills
16. Play until the whistle in everything
17. Conditioning (psychological and physical)
18. Experiment with new ideas, drills, sets, etc.. a couple of times each week.
19. Practice is about Skill Schemes, Conditioning/Toughness (Mental and Physical), Our Program’s Way.
20. End on a positive note. Players slap 5 and shake hands before leaving the floor.
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