This post is a follow-up to one I made a couple weeks back with some notes from a clinic John Wooden gave. Here is a link to that post if you didn’t see it:
Coach Wooden on basketball practice
I believe in insisting on punctuality and proper dress for practice. I want players to practice with their shirttails in, their socks pulled up and I want a neat, clean appearance. Some don’t think that will make them better basketball players, I do. If they can discipline themselves in this regard, they can do the same when we get down to the fundamentals of basketball.
When you stop to make corrections, insist on strict attention. When I blow the whistle at the beginning of practice, I want the balls rolled to a designated area and no more dribbling or shooting. I don’t want to have to yell at them. I want them ready to listen attentively. I want their strict attention. They shouldn’t have to be corrected for something that I just corrected for someone else. Have patience. Praise as well as censure. If I have to be critical of the player, I end with a compliment. Encourage teamwork and unselfishness at every opportunity.
Daily practice plans are very important. I could tell you what we have done at UCLA each day of practice in all the days I was there. I can look up any practice session and see what we did on that day and also see my notations. I learn from these plans; as a coach, I must change and grow if I expect my players to improve. I can improve with the help of these plans.
The coach should be on the floor early, before the players. Fans should not interrupt you or your players during practice. You are there to teach your players even during the individual practice segment.
Vary your drills from day to day to prevent monotony. Plan and organize your drills very carefully as to the number participating in the drill, in order to get the best results. Explain the purpose of each drill initially and then supply the little details. Don’t continue the drill too long.
I believe in more drills of shorter duration and being very careful on how we have them spaced. Follow physically or mentally difficult drills with easier ones and vice versa. Use many competitive drills, especially in shooting. Imitate game conditions as much as possible.
Give new material to the entire group on the board of one-day. Then, go through it on the next day. Never work on anything the first day; just show it to them.
Even though one drill is emphasizing a specific fundamental, do not neglect the other fundamentals. Stress offense and defense on alternate days, but they’ll forget that you must be working on both every day. Offense and defense are of equal importance, but because of the basketball, it takes more time to teach offense. This longer time doesn’t mean that offense is more important.
Close each day’s practice on an optimistic, good note. Never punish your players at the end of practice. I may run my players at the end of practice early in the season, but they know doing it for conditioning. Since you never run long distance in a game, we always work on short sprints.
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