5 Tips for Making Your Youth Basketball Practice Effective

As a coach of an elite youth basketball team I have to look at the strengths, weaknesses, and tendencies of my players and formulate game plans. With limited time to prepare my team for competition it’s imperative that I maximize every minute and focus on the areas that are most important. Here are the 5 tips for making your youth basketball practice effective:

  1. Always be prepared. Every minute of practice with your team should be planned out – though one must always be fluid and flexible to change if need be. The preparation is a guideline, but should always be fluid. Focus on building up your team by designing practices that help develop each member so that they can meet your goals – and remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day!
  2. Be Strong. Be Firm. Be Consistent: Every coach has different thoughts on what is/is not acceptable behavior. You must set the tone for this early and stick to it. Are your players expected to be ready, already stretched out when you start practicing? Or do you want them relaxed but ready so that work can begin as soon as you blow your whistle? Whatever your expectations, it’s important that they realize that one is able to effectively communicate their expectations for a performance or practice and hold others accountable.
  3. Keep them moving. Try to keep everyone moving as much as possible. Standing promotes laziness and is not an effective use of practice time. Use drills that will utilize as many players as possible at once.
  4. Make everything competitive. Making practice competitive is not only helpful for game play – it helps players get mentally prepared so that they won’t be caught off guard by the intensity of a game. Holding a competitive practice will boost overall team morale and get more out of practice time overall.
  5. Game Speed Always. This is the last tip and certainly one that I feel is most important, when it comes to effective youth basketball training. Every drill and every play should be run at ‘game speed’ as much as possible. When you perform exercises or drills, its important to get the players moving at full speed. If you practice and train at less than full speed, what do you expect to happen in a game situation?

Im interested to hear from you to learn what tips, tricks and strategies you employ to get the most out of your players and teams – so please feel free to share!

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