For all coaches, especially new or inexperienced coaches, how you manage your practices will determine how much your players will pay attention, learn and implement your ideas. Youth coaches have one added issue confronting them.  You will often have a player who has never played organized basketball, thus creating the need to keep things basic.

Here are 3 keys to having a great practice.

1 ) Time Management.

All coaches feel as if they don’t have enough practice time. If you have a 90 minute practice, all must have an accounting of all 90 minutes. Each drill should have a set time limit as well how much time for breaks. Make sure you leave enough time at the end for scrimmages.

2) Make It Fun

Most kids at the youth level play because it’s fun.  It’s another game to them.  Others who are more serious still need coaching that holds their attention.  What better way to do this than making it fun? 

This begins with you.  If you speak in monotones without any excitement, your team will respond accordingly.  I don’t mean yelling at the top of your lungs as if you are hosting one of those infomercials, but you have to be a bit animated.

What also has helped me in the past is to make each drill competitive. Divided them into 2 teams, and have each team cheer for their teammate as a criteria for extra points.  The losing team runs an extra drill like suicides while the winning team watches and also cheer them the other team running the drills.

The above is a great team building exercise.

3) Keep It Simple

We all have visions of diagraming plays various defenses.  Sometimes, we are our worst enemy.  For time management purposes as well as keeping practice fun, we must keep it simple.

Teaching the fundamentals of dribbling, passing, defense, and shooting will take up most of your time and must be kept to as simple as possible. If your team can perform the aforementioned basics, you will have prepared them for higher level play, such as high school.

Follow these 3 keys and your practices will be a blast.

Keith Smith coaches youth basketball and provides information, ideas, and tips for new and inexperienced coaches.

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