A comprehensive and well-structured practice plan has a great impact on a player’s skill development and team performance. Many great sportsmen fail to deliver in the field just because they don’t get proper coaching. Basketball is more about skills and less about power and therefore great basketball coaches focus on the well-structured drill before the match.
Great coaches like John Wooden consider plans important and say that they spend the same amount of time on structuring practice plans as they spend while executing them in the field. Whether you are a professional coach or a beginner-level trainer, this guide is going to be pretty helpful for you. In this comprehensive guide, we have shared three best basketball practice plans for all age groups (7-18 years).
Before we jump to plans, it is critical to discuss the key elements of a basketball practice plan for all age groups.
Warm-up sessions are one of the most overlooked parts of a practice session and most of the basketball teams have 3 to 4 minutes warm-up sessions. Like all other sports, your performance in basketball largely depends on body control. In a warm-up session, players focus on body coordination, change of speed, and change of direction.
This lays down the foundation for advanced gaming skills. The random body movements and warm-up include some common exercises like landing, jumping, back paddling, sliding, and some particle exercises like skipping change of pace, and change of direction.
The second most important element of the practice plans is skill work. This session is more focused on specialized gaming skills. In this session, the roles and gaming positions are defined for each player and he is given the instruction accordingly. Depending upon the skill level and player roles in the team, they learn new techniques like dribbling, passing, and shooting.
Strategy development is another critical element of the basketball practice sessions. It is particularly important for the players above 10 since they have learned the basic game techniques and it’s time for more cognitive development of the basketball players. This is a short part of the whole session in which players get to learn offensive and defensive strategies. Also, they are taught how to deal with particular situations during the game. Another important part is setting play against different teams in different situations.
Along with learning the basic skills and techniques, it is quite important to help players learn how and where to execute them. Scrimmage or small games allow the players to learn how to use a specific technique at a specific gaming moment.
Cool down is a short yet essential part of the training session. This includes stretching exercises and walking around the court to normalize the body’s temperature and blood flow.
For 7-10 years old boys we have had a 60-minute plan.
Some of the best warm exercises for this age group are:
High Knee is an exercise in which athletes bring the knees close to the waistline while running. This is pretty helpful in improving muscular coordination and balance.
Stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart. Kick your feet until the heels touch the glutes. Additionally, it is advised to pump your arms continuously during this exercise.
It is one of the common body movements that improve body control and hands eye coordination. This is a pushing and cutting run along the diagonals.
Jumping And Landing
One of the easiest exercises that you can do to improve body control. The best way to perform this exercise is to run in a forwarding direction and jump as high as you can and try to land as quietly as possible.
Run through is running practice at varying seed levels. Also, this part includes the training about recovery runs.
The stretching exercises for this age are Squats, Into Out, and Toe Grab. However, for this age group, you need to focus on dynamic body movements instead of dynamic stretching.
Skill Work- 25-35 minutes
Dribbling is a repetitive drill in which players continue to bounce the ball on the court with a single hand. This drill is done by dividing the team into pairs. Make the pairs of athletes who have similar skill levels.
Start a dribbling drill in which one player has an offensive role while others have a defensive role.
The offensive player runs forward, pushes off, and hops back.
The defensive player chases the other player and tries to step in front of the other player. The offensive player can change the direction at any moment.
Flip the roles after every 45-50 seconds.
The advanced dribbling drill is done by dividing the court into two halves.
Pair up the players of equal skill levels. The offensive player dribbles the ball to the half of the court line while the defensive player chases him. If the ball is caught or the offensive player loses the ball control, get them back to the original position and start the exercise.
Strategy development is not a critical part of this skill level and coaches should be focused on the basic techniques and skill development of the players. Give a brief overview of three gaming strategies including 1-4 person breaks, Man-to-man Defense, and 5-out Options.
Scrimmage is not a regular part of practice sessions. However, it is an additional 35-40 minute session that should be done after every 3 to 4 regular practice sessions. Provide all the necessary instructions to all team players about the techniques and their role in the game and start a 5-on-5 short game.
Begin the game with a toss and critically monitor the game. Notice the performance of individual players and encourage them if they successfully execute the plans. Note down the mistakes and work on the weaknesses of players.
Jogging and walking around the court are two basic things you can do during this session. Static stretching exercises also normalize the blood flow level and body temperature.
This is a 90-120 minute session that is designed for full-court drill and advanced levels of exercise and drill at every level:
For this age group, you should also focus on the thought process of the players along with the physical exercises. Clearly define the goals and purposes of training sessions to the players. The warm-up session begins with regular exercises like High Knees, High Jump, High Quiet Landing, and Grape Wine.
Foam Rolling is one of the easiest and best warm-up exercises. Ask every player to bring their own foam roller. Roll the foam along with different body parts like the front of legs, glutes, and back and sides of the legs.
Dynamic stretching is another important part of this age group and these are some of the best drills during this session.
Run a few steps forward and bring the knee-high to the waistline. Keep your back straight with your knees pointing forward. Then bring the knees from pointing forward to pointing sideways.
Bring one leg forward while keeping the other straight. Put your heel on the ground and bend your body to stretch the toe. Repeat the drill for the left to right legs alternatively.
Lunges and squats are two other dynamic stretching drills you can consider at advanced levels.
It is a running exercise at varying seed levels like 50%, 70%, 75%, 90%, and 100%.
3v2 Around The Key(10-15 Minutes)
This skill exercise includes 4 players, two having defensive and 2 having offensive roles. Offensive players are positioned around the key while the defensive players are just right in front of the basket.
One defensive player stands close to the basket while the other is positioned two to three steps forward. Play the game until the defensive player catches the ball or the offensive player scores a point.
3v3 is just played as a regular game on the full court. In this drill, you should focus on the decision-making ability of the payers. The players must call the name of their teammate before picking the dribble or passing the ball. This rule should be strictly followed and if any team doesn’t follow the rule, consider it a turnover.
This is a 1v1 drill that is performed in pairs. Pair up the players according to their physical health and skill level. This is also a full-court exercise and the offensive player runs along the court dribbling the ball. The defensive player chases and tries to step in front of the offensive player. If the ball is caught, flip the player’s role and again start the drill from the baseline.
Discuss these gaming strategies for this group level.
- Man To Man Defense
- Run And Jump Defense
- 4 out-1 In Motion
This is a 20-to 30-minute practice session in which you need to focus on the real-time play and the player’s ability to deliver what they have learned in the practice sessions. Short games are played in the full court in 2v3, 3v3, and 5v5 configurations.
To put pressure on players, strictly follow the game rules and try to make the game as natural as possible. Monitor the performance of individual players and point out their mistakes on the field.
Have some conversation about the training session, while jogging and walking around the court. Also, perform some static stretching exercises to normalize the blood flow.
This is a comprehensive basketball practice plan for teenagers. This plan is also for full court and includes the most advanced drills and skill development.
Clearly define the aims and goals of the session before you start warm-up body movements.
The warm-up session should be well-structured beginning with body movements like High Knees, High Jump, Grape Vine, and Butt Flicks followed by dynamic stretches like Lunges, Squats, Toe Grab, and Into Out.
Run Throughs (10 Minutes)
Speed control is one of the key skills at the advanced level of a basketball game. Indulge the players into a thorough running session where they practice running at various speed levels.
Dribbling practice at an advanced stage is divided into chunks and the players will get to learn hand-ball relationships, arm-body relationships, touch dribbling, and ambidextrous dribbling.
Ball On Back
Ball On Back is a 1v1 drill in which one offensive and 1 defensive player take part. The defender is positioned in the 3-point line while the offensive player stands behind the player. The offensive player takes the ball and tries to take it off the defender’s back. Once a player scores a paint, flip the roles and again start the drill.
In this 2v2 drill, an offensive team of two players starts from the boundary of the baseline and tries to bring the ball into the key-way to the other court. One offensive player is positioned in the court and the inbounder passes the ball to his teammate in the court.
One of the players in the defensive team should closely case and guard the ball. The second defender should be positioned behind the ball line and focus on narrowing space to put the offensive team in trouble.
This is a 3V3 skill development drill that borrows an ice hockey rule and is named Hockey or Ice Hockey. Thai drill strictly follows the ice hockey rule in which no player can cross the court line before the first offensive play.
This is a dribbling exercise that improves the passing and dribbling skills of the offensive players.
Strategy development is an important session for this age group. Discuss the key gaming strategies and allow the players to develop their gaming strategies.
Short but well-structured 3v3 and 5v 5 games help players execute the plans they have developed. Closely monitor the game and make regular substitutions throughout the game. Make dot points of the player’s individual performance and discuss all their key points.
Recall the weak points in every session and help them try to overcome these issues.
For beginners, it is important to devise basketball practice plans. You should develop a 50-60 minute practice session in the half-court. Warm-up drills, skill development, strategic developments, and Scrimmages should be key elements of practice plans.
Dribbling, Rebounding, Shooting, Passing, and Defense are the five basic skills in basketball.
You can learn basketball skills by participating in well-structured basketball practice sessions. It is critical to learn basketball skills like pace control, hand and eye coordination, dribbling, defense, and shooting.
In this guide, we have discussed three comprehensive basketball practice plans for all age groups (7-18 years). Remember, skill development and scrimmage are the two key parts of a basketball practice session. A well-structured scrimmage session is a key to improved gaming performance. A coach should spend most of the time structuring a practice plan. A planned practice or training session is efficient and results in better results within a limited time.