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Monday, February 15, 2010


Thanks to Coach Shane Dreiling for passing this great article on to me from Ernie Woods. Shane was quick to make sure we all know about Ernie's website:

Practices should be designed with the objective of preparing a team physically, technically, and mentally for game competition. Emphasis should be focused on execution and effort. Players must learn and develop the habit of working and playing hard at all times. Great teams are a result of the best players being the hardest workers. Motor learning and timing requires practicing at game speed. Get rid of the non-workers. No one steps on the floor without full hustle attitude. Insist on a team effort at all times.

- It is imperative that any time a coach talks everyone listens including other coaches. Demand and get eye contact of all players prior to speaking. Make sure that the coaching staff is well coordinated and uses the same offensive and defensive terminology.

- Clarify rather than confuse. Do not over coach. Keep instructions simple. Tell players what you are going to teach them, teach them, and tell them what you taught them.

- Be sure to teach when and why as well as how. There are certain fundamentals every player must master, and in addition each position also has specific fundamentals to learn.

-Coach players not the system. It's not what you run, but how you run it that counts. Basketball is not a game of offenses and defenses, but a game of effort and execution. If you are experiencing problems during games, go back and work on basic fundamentals and execution. Do not change or add new plays.

- Establish season master plan, weekly and daily practice schedules. Don’t expect players to know or execute anything that has not been covered in practice. During a game if a situation arises that you are not prepared, take note and include it in the next workout.

- Develop all of your players to the best of their capabilities. Coaching great players is easy. Where great coaches excel is in getting the most out of every player on the squad regardless to physical abilities and skills.

Make up detailed practice schedules. Post and give copies to assistant coaches. If at all possible hold a pre-practice coaches meeting, Carry a note card to refer to during practices. Every drill must have value or purpose otherwise throw it out. Alternate physically tough drills and less strenuous ones. Be sure to include individual defensive skill development in each practice.

- Whenever possible introduce and demonstrate a drill or activity one day, and then practice and make correct on the next day. Review (analyze) and reinforce skills and techniques as needed.

- Pay attention to detail. Precise execution and footwork are vital. Make precise corrections. On first time mistakes, stop action and make everyone aware of correction. On repeated mistakes substitute or wait for break in action to correct. Do not waste other players’ time to correct one individual. Do not get caught up with lengthy explanations.

- Use positive reinforcement and point out successful performances rather than negative ones. Find reasons to praise and encourage rather than condemn. Use constructive criticism when appropriate, but never yell. Have you ever heard of a successful teacher that yells at their students?

- If a drill is going poorly, stop it and go onto something else. Come back to it later or next practice. End all practices on high note or successful achievement (made pressure free throw, make ten consecutive free throws (make 10 for younger players), shooting contest, half court shot, etc.).

Some very useful scrimmage ideas. During practice have assistant coaches referee. For intersquad scrimmages bring in regualar officials.

- Have players make ten consecutive free throws before substituting. In lieu of just standing around. On jump balls, first player to dive on a loose ball gets it or give it to the defense.

- Eliminate the dribble. Especially at the start of preseason practices. During full court scrimmages make it a violation when a player dribbles. Players may struggle a little at the start, but they will soon adapt and start playing with their heads up and making cuts away from the ball. This is great for team play.

- When working half court on offense, have the defense make four or five defensive stops (combination of turnovers & defensive rebounds) before going to offense. This will provide incentive to play tougher defense which will improve the offense.

- Defense and break. During offensive half court work, allow defense to fast break on turnovers and missed shots. This will not only give the defense incentive to play harder, but it will also check and insure the defensive balance responsibilities.

- Free throw and press. When practicing full court presses or attacking full court presses, start with a made free throw.

Practice Preparation
-Starting a strenuous physical activity, such as basketball, without proper warm-up is detrimental to athletic performance and health. The purpose of a warm-up is to prepare for muscular activity, and is not an exhausting activity to bring on fatigue.

- It should be composed mainly of stretching and light running exercises. It should be of sufficient duration and intensity to adequately prepare players for the physical demands of the game or work-out.

- Cooling down and/or stretching after practice can be more beneficial to injury prevention than stretching at the start of practice. Think about ending workouts and practices by having players make 10 consecutive free throws. For younger players make 10 free throws. This will allow the players to cool down along as practice shooting free throws when tired.