Spring Practice is Time to Build Your Foundation
Spring is here, and it is time to get back on the court and play some basketball. As a coach, you will set the tone for your expectations from your first practice. “Everybody has talent, but ability takes hard work.” This quote from Michael Jordan encompasses what spring practice should be about for your program. You’ll probably have many talented players on your team. Your job will be to motivate them to do the work to unlock that potential and actualize it into their gameplay. Below is a guide as to what you should be doing with these practices.
Plan Your Spring Practices
John Wooden was known for stating that he spent more time planning his practices than the actual length of the practices themselves. It’s probably no secret that most folks who are successful in their careers are meticulous about the planning process. They never go into a meeting or conference unprepared. You should never go into a basketball practice; you are running without a plan.
Plan out the practice.
You should know which drills you are going to run and keep notes on how they went. You must note everything that worked and areas that might need improvement. All of the information you collect will help you plan good practices in the future.
Balancing Your Drills
There is no fast-forward button in basketball. You’ve got to prepare your team to win. With spring practice, there is a lot of work to do with a player before they suit up in the custom basketball jersey from Wooter Apparel. A big part of this preparation is making sure the players are running the appropriate drills for an adequate amount of time.
A successful strategy for many coaches is to divide their drill time between individual and team drills. For example, you may want to run individual drills surrounding ball handling and dribbling but work on team defense and ball movement. It might be a good idea to be mindful about how much time you spend on your drills. At some point, what a player is learning may diminish.
Consider spending ten minutes on each drill and then move onto something else. After all, it won’t be the last time your team runs the drill, so you’ll get the chance to go over it again if there are issues.
Make Your Practices Competitive
One way of keeping your players engaged in practices is to make the drills competitive. Basketball players are human beings. They may not be engaged when they are running the same drill for the fourth time. Having the players compete one-on-one or in teams is an excellent way of keeping them invested in the learning. It will also make teaching easier.
You might want to consider a reward system for those who excel at the drills. It never hurts to praise the behaviors and practices you want to see out of your basketball team. You may want to incentivize winning by having something less favorable, like push-ups or lap running for losing.
While competitiveness is essential, it is also to remember that players do have their limits. You make sure that they work hard, but also give them time to rest. If you are going to be doing a drill that requires a lot of running, you can follow it up with something that requires less physical strain.
Spend Time on Conditioning
Even if your players are very talented, they are doomed to lose if they are not as well-conditioned as their opponents. Basketball is a game of endurance. If you are in the fourth quarter or overtime, you will want your players to have the stamina to keep up with the competition.
That being said, you must find ways of integrating basketball into their conditioning drills. For example, instead of just having your players run laps, turn it into a dribbling drill. Have your athletes dribble a ball with their right hand while they do laps. After that, switch it up and have them do more laps while dribbling with their left hand.
Remember to Be Positive
Coaching basketball can be challenging, but it is also rewarding. Make sure that you take time to celebrate the accomplishments and improvements of your players. When you combine this positive mindset with preparation and execution, you will have excellent spring practices.