Saturday, August 25, 2012


Coaches help coaches by sharing.  Email your response to today's Coaches Share question and have your response added to Sunday's blog entry.  Your response can be as long or short as you like.  Email your response to

QUESTION:  What is your philosophy as to how many minutes of shooting you do in one of your practices?  Do you have a set amount of time for each practice?  Do you try to get a certain number of shots?  Does it vary from day to day?

Email your response to and be part of the discussion.  Your response is then posted in tomorrow's blog.

Thursday, August 23, 2012


Does this sound like your gym?  Practice starts at 3:30.  The first of your players start entering the gym at about 3:00.  Little by little your entire roster is in the gym getting ready for practice.  There might be a group of three over in one corner talking about school.  Another pair of players are off by themselves talking about what they are going to do after practice.  Maybe a handful will shoot the ball, lightly jog after it, and then take their time to shoot again.  Is this time being used wisely?  Quite honestly the answer is, no.

Developing a pre-practice routine for your players can be extremely beneficial in the skill development of your players.  A pre-practice routine is a quick series of activities of skill work. Having a pre-practice routine has it's benefits
1. Gets your players in the gym earlier.
2. Helps develop the skill development of your players.
3. Promotes accountability with your players.
4. Eliminates wasted time in the gym.

Coaches can create any type of pre-practice routine they feel fits their team.  You can make them position specific or develop one that will help develop the overall skills of your players.

The following pre-practice routine can be easily completed in 8 minutes.
*Make 20 Mikan shots
*10 Form shooting shots from three feet (hold follow through)
*Four different 2-ball ballhandling drills (30 seconds per drill)
*1 2-ball partner passing/catching drill (1 minute)
*Take 20 game shots (position specific)

If you were to use this pre-practice routine then it would be important for the coaching staff to first teach the players how to do each one of the parts in the routine. Once the players understand what is expected they will then know that the routine must be completed before the official start of practice.

Changing the pre-practice routine throughout the season could be valuable to keep your players from becoming bored with the same thing day after day.  An idea would be to change the routine periodically:  weekly, monthly, or at half point of the season.

Have fun creating the routine for your players.  It can be extremely beneficial for their skill development as it eliminates wasted time in your gym.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


Full Court Blazer shooting combines a variety of skills into one drill as it emphasizes shooting, passing and catching, conditioning, and communication. 

The drill starts with three lines at each baseline (there are only two lines shown in this diagram).  At one end the first player in each line has a basketball.  At the other end of the court the second person in each line has a basketball.

The drill begins with at the three players (4, 5, and 6) sprinting in their lane to the other end of the court.  As 4, 5, and 6 are approaching the three point line area 1, 2, and 3 will make a pass to them.  4, 5, and 6 will catch, get their feet set, and shoot.  Shooters will get their own rebound.  After they get their rebound they will pass their ball to the next 1, 2, and 3 in line.

The 1, 2, and 3 that made the pass will now sprint to the other end of the court in their their lanes.  They will receive a pass from 4, 5, and 6 as they approach the 3 point line and take a shot.  They will get their own rebound and pass the ball to the next players in each line, and then go to the end of that line.

After 4, 5, and 6 made the pass they will then sprint to the other end of the court to be the shooters, and the drill continuously repeats itself.

The coach can determine the general area where the shots should come from.  You can work on three point shots, mid-range jump shots, or even layups.  A drill variation would be to have the players use a shot fake and one hard dribble right or left then pull up for a jump shot.

To add even more focus or competitiveness to your team put time on the clock and count their made baskets.  Keep track of the number of makes and use that as a number to surpass the next time you do the drill. 

Monday, August 20, 2012


One of the best ways to promote your team is to send out a team newsletter.  It is also a great way to communicate with parents, fans, your administration, and alumni.  People like to read about what is happening with the team.  A simple newsletter can create some excitement for your team or overall program.  With today's technology you have the capability to reach people all over the globe, and can do it so it doesn't cost you a penny.

Creating a newsletter might seem intimidating to someone who hasn't done it.  My response to that is it will be as intimidating as you want it to be.  Your newsletter can be very basic and easy to create, or it can be as fancy as you can make it.  Either way the goal of promoting your basketball team and communicating with the fans of your team is being accomplished.

You will want to be careful as to what kind of information you include in your newsletter.  Obviously you would never want to write about information that could cause any type of turmoil.  Keep the information positive.  Remember you are promoting your team, program, and the wonderful that are a part of it.

Listed below are some things to remember when creating a team newsletter:
  1. You can save yourself a lot of money by sending your newsletter via email only.  You will need to compile a list of email addresses to start.  In each newsletter you might need to add a blurb to your readers for them to forward the email (newsletter) to anyone who they think might be interested in receiving it (former players, school alumni, relatives, community members, etc).  In the newsletter you will also want to include a message on how someone could get on the email list to receive future newsletters.  Your email list will grow as a result.
  2. The newsletter can be as plain as a simple email or you can create something more appealing with different tools, one being in Word.
  3. When sending out your newsletter list it would be advised to use the bcc to include the email addresses.  This will hide all the recipient's email addresses.  Why could this be important?  One reason is that there might be a reader that would rather not have their email address known by someone else.  Another is that there could be a disgruntled parent/fan that could type up an email by hitting "Reply All" and it would be sent to all your newsletter readers.  This is just to protect yourself.
  4. Create and send out the newsletter on a regular basis. Weekly, monthly, bi-monthly, and quarterly are times to consider.
  5. Information to consider putting in your newsletter:
  • A message from you, the coach.
  • Upcoming game schedule.
  • Information on any upcoming fundraising events, promotions, or special events that are associated with your team/program.
  • Action photo(s) of your team.
  • A description and diagram of a drill you do in practice.
  • News about other teams in your basketball program (youth teams).
  • Spotlight on one of the coaches in your program.
  • Spotlight on one of the players in your program.
  • Spotlight on someone who does behind the scenes work for your team (custodian, administrator, booster club member, etc).
  • A motivational quote that you use with your team.
  • Highlight recent accomplishments of your team or players.
If you would like to see a sample of a newsletter that I have sent out I would be happy to send you one.  Email me at to request an actual newsletter I sent out.

A newsletter is a tool to use that can keep basketball in the minds of your players, fans, parents, and alumni no matter what time of the year it is.  That alone is worth the time you would invest creating your newsletter.

Sunday, August 19, 2012


Thank you to the coaches who took the time to submit a response to the Coaches Share.  It is incredible to think about how much we, as coaches, can learn from each other.

This week's Coaches Share question: How much time do you spend on free throw shooting during practice?  Do you have any good free throw shooting drills to share?

"I make sure to incorporate free throw shooting drills immediately after drills that make my players tire out. This way the free throws are executed when the players are puffing and it's more like a game situation.  Usually I get them to shoot 10 free throws each. After they've completed them, they must report to an assistant to get their makes out of 10 jotted down. This holds the players accountable to improve on their current free throw percentage as they can see their progress (or lack of progress)."
 ~ Coach Mac

"We have our players shoot 5 free throws three different times throughout practice.  We try our best to have them shoot those free throws after a tough drill so their legs are tired."
~Coach T.L.

"I have my team do a variety of things with free throws during practice as I don't have any one philosophy on when to shoot them, or how many to shoot.  At the end of at least one practice per week the players have to make 20 free throws before they can leave the gym.  Seems to be a lot of focus with them at that time because the reward is that their practice is over when they make their 20th free throw.  The one downside to this is that players are leaving the gym at different times, which I don't always like but free throw are important so I feel the trade is ok."
~Coach Davis

"At some point during practice, usually after a drill that tired out the players, we shoot ten free throws.  One drill we do (probably once a week) is we shoot pressure free throws.  Each player shoots ten free throws.  I set a number of free throws made as a goal - which is usually 75%.  For each free throw under 75% they run what we call a Tiger (our nickname) which is a sprinting drill.  So making four less free throws would equal four Tigers.  If the team meets the goal we do not run."
~Coach B (IL)

"We chart our players free throws each day in practice.  At the end of the week we have an award for the best free throw percentage for the week.  Usually the award is a Gatorade, nothing big, but it is something that motivates the players."
~Coach Marty

"Our players have to make 15 free throw a day in practice.  They make some of them during our free throw shooting period which is usually seven minutes.  If they don't make 15 during that time then they make the rest of them after practice."
~Coach Scott (NY)

"Keep it simple.  Shoot them when they are tired."
~Coach A.R. (FL)