The following are some notes on practice from Coach Bob Hurley that were sent to me from Zak Boisvert:
-Maximize your facility:
-Whatever you have, maximize it. Take pride in it. Make it clean.
-Sweeps floor before every practice and at halftime of JV game. “This shouldn’t be the custodian’s job. The coach should take pride in doing this.”
-Practices after school during the week and in the mornings on the weekend (either 9:00 am-11:00 am or 8:00 am-10:00 am)
1. Team play
2. Keep individual skills up
3. Prepare for opponent
-Early season practices:
-Know exactly how many opportunities you have to work with your team before the first game. We have 16 practices and 3 scrimmages before our first official game.
-First day of practice: 4 hours with a 15 minute food break (bananas) at the 2 hour mark. This practice is followed by another 4 hour session the next morning (a Saturday) and a free clinic Sunday morning for area coaches.
-Post your practice plan:
-It doesn’t have to fancy or even typed out, but it has to be on paper.
-Players should have an idea of what practice will be about. They won’t study it, but give them an idea at least.
-Be careful not to overcoach on the day before a big game. Your players will catch on and they will know something up (2 bad things can happen: they’ll tense up or, later on, will relax during the next “day before” practice when you’re not as tense)
-Bad coaching: spending too much time on one thing
-Once saw P.J. Carlesimo, then at Seton Hall lose his team over 45 minutes of pick & roll defense. “The next drill was a shooting drill and you could just see that they didn’t want to be there.”
- “I love teaching, but how long can you maintain their attention?”
-Late in the year if you’re in a drill that’s scheduled for 4 minutes, but you’re sharp and after 2 minutes you realize your guys get it, call it after 2 and move on. “Don’t be a slave to your practice plan.”
-Your practice must fit how you play
-Stay short with drills (5-10 minutes) alternating easy and hard drills
-Philosophy > Plays.
- “Basketball is over-coached and under-taught.” –Pete Newell.
-Simplicity: “I just need to be smarter than the guys on my team”
-Coach Hurley holds players accountable for 2 things in practice
-Mood/enthusiasm: we have to practice hard every day
-Correct their mistakes.
-Make practice a learning situation for your assistants and players
-Position work daily: guards on one end with 2 coaches, posts on the other end with 2 coaches and Hurley walks in between (If a coach is on the road scouting, Hurley goes to an end to give each group 2 coaches). If you just have 1 assistant, put the assistant with the more veteran of the groups as you, the head coach, works the younger group.
-Practice needs to be competitive. You can’t ignore shell drills and walkthroughs, but just make sure you follow them up with something competitive and hellacious.
-Make practices harder than games. Hurley uses no more than one timeout in about half of his team’s games so most of them are over in under an hour. A St. Anthony practice runs for 2 hours on the dot; “By the second half of the season, when our game is done my players are looking around the gym for someone else to play.”