Basketball Coaching Tips for Your First Practice | PRO TIPS by DICK'S  Sporting Goods

Designing a basketball practice plan is both an art and a science, and it takes both to be successful. However, although the best shooting drill for basketball should be included in every practice session, it is your responsibility to build each session to match the unique requirements of your squad.

As a starting point, here’s a simple A-B-C formula for putting together a good basketball practice. It may be tailored to fit 1.5 to 2 hours practices. Please replace your own basketball exercises or change the periods to match your program’s requirements. I’ve also included a template for creating a basketball practice plan. Simply click on the picture below, which will expand to full size, and you may use it as a reference to help you with your project.

Conditioning Drills

Conditional Exercises, the first block, should be completed in 10 minutes. Get your athletes warmed up and ready to perform at their peak. Use plyometric circuits to help develop fast-twitch muscle reaction, “footfire” exercises (which entail quickly tapping both feet on the ground while in a defensive posture), or other activities to get the heart beating and the limbs warmed up before training.

Shooting Drills

Coaches often abuse the best basketball shooting drills portion of the second practice block. Practice your offense’s shot placements instead of randomly scouting the court for opportunities. Players should form three lines around the perimeter with the ball in the center if you’re running a three-out-two-in-motion offense. The ball handler would pass to one of the wing lines, then establish a screen for the first player on the opposing line. This player gets the screen, cuts over the top of the key, and then shoots the ball from the opposite line. In a standard motion offense, you’d run this sort of play and receive an open shot like this one.

An attack that uses the “1-4” setup may lead to several open looks in the short corner (i.e., around 8 feet from the basket along the baseline). Another option is to work on skipping the ball to an open 3-point shooter on the other side of the court if you play a lot of games in a zone defense.

It’s also a good idea to divide your “bigs” (i.e., your forwards and centers) and your “smalls” (i.e., your guards) and have them practice on the precise shots they could receive within your offense.

Defensive Drills

Defensive Drills, the next component of your basketball practice schedule, should take only 10 minutes per player. Five different exercises, each lasting two minutes, are our favorite to use. Because defensive exercises are often exhausting, you will sustain a high energy level during the whole drill session.

Individual defense exercises (which concentrate on individual tactics such as shuffling, sliding, taking charges, and blocking shots) and team defense drills (which work on team methods such as blocking shots) are both vital to practice (which work on playing a defensive scheme to support your teammates and keep your opponent away from high-percentage shooting areas).

Offensive Drills

The offensive drills portion of the fourth practice block, which lasts around 10 minutes, completes the session. Use this opportunity to practice your offensive setups against zone and man defenses in a controlled environment. Begin by identifying the individual talents you’ll be using inside your offensive set – for example, screening, catching, and executing layups, hitting spot-up jumpers from the elbow, and so on.

Once you’ve mastered that, try running your basketball plays against a “dummy defense.” The defense should just provide minimal pressure and let the offense go unhindered through the play without being called upon to interfere. As a further step, you may “go live” with your defense and force them to play at full pace in the half-court (5 on 5).

Fast Break Drills

The fifth practice block is 15 minutes long and is dedicated to improving your fast break and transition game strategies. Start with some easy 3-man weave exercises to get your heart rate up. As your players get more adept at the weaving’s passing and movement features, you may raise the complexity by switching to a 5-man, 6-man, or even 7-man weave to challenge them even more. After you’ve practiced the weave, try going 2 on 1 and 3 on 2 in the entire court.

Make improvements to your transition offense by placing all five players on the court, in bounding the ball, and moving it up the court with the fewest amount of dribbles as workable. Typically, the most successful configuration for conducting a fast break is the four-man in bounding arrangement, with the one receiving the ball, the two and three covering the lanes on the court’s perimeter, and the five-man barreling straight down the center. Consider practicing the transition from your fast break into your best quick hitter play if you pursue an “early offensive” plan.

Pressure Drills

This 15-minute block is dedicated to both practicing your own pressure defense and working on how to counter an opponent’s pressure defense. Set up your defense in a 2-2-1 configuration. Then, have your offense attempt to break the pressure and score a layup on the opposite end as your defense watches from the sidelines.

Of thumb, defensive players should continually attempt to trap the ball in the corners of the court. In contrast, offensive players should reverse the ball calmly and try to hit a cutter in the center of the floor at half-court.

Special Situations

Special Situations include out of bounds, fast hitters, tip-offs, free throws, and buzzer-beaters. Spend at least 5 minutes rehearsing these plays.


The previous seven blocks total up to around one hour and fifteen minutes. If you have access to a gym, the last session of your basketball practice schedule may last anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes, depending on the time you have. Take advantage of the best shooting drills for basketball to focus on anything you believe your team needs at the moment.