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13 Ideas on How to Run a More Successful Basketball Practice

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1. Players love coaches who sweat with them! Wear shorts and t-shirt to practice and be actively involved. Rebound, pass, shoot, demonstrate - lead by example!

2. Every drill must have a purpose. Don't run a drill just to run it. Just because your coach ran it when you were in High School doesn't necessarily mean that you should run it too.

Drills should teach, fit into your particular philosophy, be competitive, apply to game situations, and provide repetition.

3. Use repetition with change. Emphasize the same things but not always in the same way. For example, pick five different closeout drills and do one of them every single day.

The same can be done with shooting, passing, ball handling and nearly every other offensive and defensive fundamental.

4. Be positive and good things will happen. "A negative thought is a down payment on the obligation to fail." (Seth Greenburg) Hall of Fame Coach Chuck Daly said one of the best things he ever learned was to bite his tongue whenever he was tempted to be critical or negative in practice.

5. Teach every day, the whole season. Don't lose your enthusiasm for helping your players improve. The best coaches in the game today are also the best teachers. You will always have the love and respect of your players if you take the time and make the effort to teach them how to get better.

6. Do stance work every day for at least 4 to 5 minutes. Knees bent, back straight, butt down, and proper hand placement depending where the defensive player is in relation to the ball.

7. Screen out every single day. Every drill is a screen out drill. Remember you will always get what you emphasize the most.

8. Do skill work every day at the beginning or end of practice. Include jumping rope and working on basic fundamentals of shooting, shot fakes, getting open, etc. Skill work at the beginning sets the tone for the rest of practice while skill work at the end tends to send the players home in an upbeat and confident mood.

9. Practice must include some transition work every day. If you want to fast break on offense then you definitely need to work on it in practice but getting back quickly and efficiently on defense is the most important because it can eliminate easy baskets for your opponents.

10. It's virtually impossible to work too much on time and score situations. Set up "games" of 10 seconds, 30 seconds, one minute, and two minutes. Your players will love them and look forward to them every day. Not only will they learn to be more competitive but will also get much needed experience in executing under pressure.

11. Keep everything as simple as possible. It's much better to do two or three things extremely well than to struggle with a dozen things. Simplifying doesn't mean "dumbing down." Remember that the more players have to think the slower they move their feet!

12. Be consistent with your personality. Players do not respond well to "Jekyll & Hyde" personalities. Care about your players every day.

13. Make practice fun. It doesn't have to be silly or squirrelly but it can't be boring or monotonous or you will lose their attention and focus. If you are coaching older players then teach them that winning is fun; that getting better is fun; that helping each other get better is fun.

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