Saturday, December 12, 2015


The following is a great passage from the book "Toughness" written by Jay Bilas which speaks to the mindset of a player in regard to practice.

How many players start practice with the intention or goal of simply “getting through” practice? Instead of “getting through” a workout, players need to “get from” a workout-to get the most from it, and the most from themselves. No player ever got better by just getting through something. True toughness is competing through the end of a practice or workout after having prepared yourself mentally to compete. That is a key mind-set of the toughest players.

A key question for us as coaches is how can we help our players with this process? There are several things that have served me well and here are a few.

We often begin the day in our film room or meeting room.  We might watch some video clips or go over things and I've found that notebooks are a tremendous way to get a point across to a team and have them hold on to it because they are writing it down.  We never have one of these sessions before practice that we don't outline a couple of objectives for practice.  Here is an older post about the topic of Notebooks.

This is a short period at the beginning to do position work.  It's also quality time between a coach a small, select group of players.  As a coach, you can set the tone in terms of what needs to be accomplished as a player and a team for this particular day.  Here is an older post about the topic of Pre-Practice.

We believe this is a great way of focusing a team's attention for a practice.  Picking a phase of basketball or an intangible and making that a special focus for that day.  We will have specific drills to highlight it as.  Here is an older post about the topic of Emphasis of the Day.

If its going to be important, find a way to measure it.  We keep practice stats everyday.  We might keep a special stat on a specific day to compliment a particular emphasis -- and we share it with our players...often in the middle of practice to let them know how they are doing.  Here is an older post about the topic of Practice Stats.

Something I started last here with our freshman post player Khaalia Hillsman was to have an individual practice goal.  I created some cards for her and placed them in her locker.  Each day she has to pick something that she wants to give extra concentrated effort on.  I let her pick it...she writes it down...she gives it to me when she first comes to practice.  I then make sure I am watching her to see how she is doing.  I compliment her when she is successful and remind her when she falls short about her goal.  After practice, I give her a grade on her goal and from time to time support that grade with video.