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 September 25

Coaches in GHSA we are less than 30 days away from the start of our seasons as college basketball practices begin today. Therefore, coaches it’s that time to start gearing up for the start of practices. Coaches decide what you want your team to be really good at & make a plan to do it. You can’t be great at everything. Trying for that will make you worse, not better. A great example of what this means is the statement from Jesse McMillan (Head Coach at Norcross HS): “Rent vs Own: what do you rent versus what do you own as a team?” Thus, make emphasis clear. Players want to please & perform, but they have to understand what their coach needs.

Every successful basketball coach is a master teacher of the game. Just as excellent teachers who teach any subject, the outstanding “teachers of the game of basketball” must be certain that he/she thoroughly teaches every facet there is of the game that he/she is coaching. To prevent the coach from omitting a minor or a major aspect of the game, the coach must also have a “game plan” for each practice session. This daily practice plan allows the coach to adhere to the specific foundations, techniques, skills, and strategies being taught, worked on, and/or prepared for in the practice sessions. Some of the major factors of successful practices are that each drill or activity in each practice should be:  
1) Organized, 
2) Smoothly flowing, 
3) Extremely time efficient     
4) interesting yet meaningful (and not boring to the players)
5) All-involving (for each and every  player)          
6) Educational and informative
7) Competitive
8) Physically, mentally, and emotionally challenging to every player 
9) Motivating to all  players 
10) Meticulously detailed and imaginative
11) Intermittently repetitive. 
In order that practices constantly have these attributes, a coach must carefully and conscientiously establish fundamentally sound practices for each and every day. He/she must be painstakingly detailed in his/her planning to achieve as many of the previously mentioned attributes in each of the activities of each and every practice. Coaches must follow these two old clichés:  “Plan your work!! , Work your plan!!, and Failing to prepare is preparing to fail!!”
There are three major components in the successful administering  of basketball practices. These vital components are:  
1) Practice planning (before the actual practice takes place). At Duluth, we discuss the next day’s practice plan based off what we saw that day in our post practice meeting which usually lasts 15-45 minutes depending on what needs to be discussed. Since school starts at 7:15am, we try never to go over that time as all other concerns with the next day’s practice plan can be discussed via our coaches group chat or email.
2) Executing of the practice plan (during the actual practice). Your style dictates whether you stay on a drill until it’s done right or are you the coach that stays strictly on the time schedule when it comes to the practice plan….There is no is right or wrong answer except be you as a coach. I, myself, am somewhere in between as it depends on what we need as a team that day. Example: If we are lacking in our side ball screen defense then I usually will schedule more time into our practice plan for it, but I want us to get it right so we may go over. In addition, I am a believer in ending every drill on a positive note: a stop, a make, etc. depending on the nature of the drill.
3) Evaluating and critiquing of the practices (done after the practice has concluded). As stated in number 1, we do this daily were we discuss the next day’s practice as well as the evaluation of today’s practice. 
It is of utmost importance to successfully perform all three components to have informative, worthwhile, and therefore worthwhile practices to prepare your players for absolutely anything and everything that could possibly happen in a game.  This is done in order for those players to be prepared and ultimately to be successful in their games.

This third component of the administration of basketball practices sometimes can easily be omitted, forgotten, and ignored. It is a requirement for successful programs to devise an overall master plan of each of the daily practice sessions. This tool aids a coach to plan ahead and also to keep a season-long summary of past practices to record every aspect and phase of the game. This ‘diary of the practices’ should illustrate the frequency and the quality of each and every drill and activity of every practice session. I find it very useful to go back in my notebook to a drill I’ve used in the past or just to see if around the same number of practices am I where I feel we should be based off previous years. Keep in mind I still have my practice notebooks from y time in college as I often look into that one as well. I hope this helps us all as me move closer to October 22nd.