No matter what level of basketball, there are many areas in basketball coaching that are more of an art than a science.
Getting players to continually play hard is one of those areas.
If you can come up with a list of things for your program that you believe constitute playing hard and then look for and praise those things when they happen, you are likely to develop a culture in your program that playing with all out intensity is the only way you practice and play.
This list was designed for a high school basketball program, but I believe that it can be modified and adapted to fit whatever level of basketball coaching you are at.
- Beat the ball down the floor in transition and conversion.
- Rebound position every shot—back, space, pinch on free throw.
- Play defensive in a stance.
- Help and then recover.
- Help the helper.
- Close out with hands above shoulders.
- Dive on loose balls.
- Protect the ball when you have it.
- Rip through on pivots—strong with the basketball.
- Chin rebounds.
- Meet every pass.
- Change direction and speed on cuts.
- Take a charge.
- Steal passes that are thrown too far.
- Sprinting from spot to spot in basketball practice.
- Contest every shot.
- Ball Fakes.
- Deflect passes.
Togetherness Looks Like
- Verbal response and applause for good plays (regardless of shirt color in basketball practice)
- Encourage a teammate after an error or a missed shot that was a good shot
- Help a teammate up off the ground
- High fives and back slapping
- Huddles on the floor
- Never criticize a teammate
- Bench stands when a player leaves the game
- Acknowledge a player being substituted for in practice as he leaves the floor if you are also on the sideline