Prioritizing your practice design

“If, for whatever reason, you were only allowed three 15-minute sessions a week, what would you do?”

The question above is from Dan John’s Can You Go? and is related to strength & conditioning, not basketball. However, the question is one for a coach to consider. If restricted to three 15-minute sessions per week, what would you do?

Whatever your answer, it should be a major portion of your practices.

Personally, with young children, I would play 2v2 Rugby; with older players, I would play 3v3. I might add 1-2 things to the small-sided games, such as a two-minute shooting drill that I use, as a finisher, but I believe that I get the most bang for the buck with these SSGs. With 3v3, I could switch the emphasis every game by using different constraints or rules to modify the game. To me, in that short amount of time, that is the best use of the time.

If you disagree or have other suggestions, please leave them in the comments. Interested in the ideas of others.

By Brian McCormick, PhD
Director of Coaching, Playmakers Basketball Development League
Author, The 21st Century Basketball Practice and Fake Fundamentals

3 thoughts on “Prioritizing your practice design

  • I would probably start with a little 3 man weave, then jump to some zig zag drills because I know Coach K uses them, and then finish with some 5 on 0 to make sure we can run our plays.

    Such a great question.

    In all seriousness, given the time constraints doing drills would feel like such a waste of time. I would use some 3 on 3 transition (I think you call it Army drill), some cutthroat 1/2 court games and a game we used to play when we used to have two teams practicing at once: 4-on-3-on-4. I’ve seen many versions of this using different numbers. It’s the one where the defensive player has to run and touch the center circle before joining the game on defense

  • Haha @ Mike. I’d for sure incorporate 1v1 Conversion, which I adapted from Allison McNeill’s 3v3 Conversion, which is at the end of her youtube video on decision making. In 1v1 Conversion, there’s a line for white team at FT extended sideline at one basket, a line for black team at FT line extended sideline on the other basket. Start with 1 player at each basket—let’s say we give white the ball first. He attacks 1v1, with black defender waiting and protecting his basket. As soon as white shoots his layup, he has to sprint back defense. Black grabs the ball and outlets to the next teammate in line, who attacks 1v1 against the retreating defender. This is my “layup drill”. It’s continuous and you can play to score or go by time. Day 1 I’d have outlets are on the right side, day 2 left side, and day 3 I’d do 2v2 or 3v3 Conversion where you can outlet to either side. This drill works on transition offense and defense. That would be the first 5 minutes if each practice.

  • “What would you do?” We’d all high grade what is important to us. What we value changes based on the level coached. I’m JV high school girls..

    My suggestion, three parts and I wouldn’t add anything until the practice time contraint is increased to past 30 minutes:

    1) Full count running, passing, catching and finishing drill. With three balls in play we’d get a near a couple hundred full speed layups attemted. And yes, balls can be added to the maligned 3 man weave. Layups are that important. (FYI half way through the season my kids usually pick up on the fact we do not do layup lines.)

    2) Football: 5v5 full court pick up NO DRIBBLING. Much spacial awareness and decision making on both sides of the ball on this one. Huge passing emphasis. Best conditioner in my drill book too.

    3) A 3v3 transition SSG Play making and stoping the ball.

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