Basketball Practice Structure Key for Program Success

The common thread of great basketball programs whether it's youth, high school, college or professional is structure.

When I coached in college, the players knew every type of warm-up and drill so the structure was different than it would be for a youth program. We had a daily practice plan starting with team warm-ups, conditioning and individual ball drills. Players took ownership of that and started practice on their own because they knew the routine and how to get ready for practice.

The coaching staff then proceeded to work on our team offenses and defenses and finished practice with walk-throughs of scouting reports of our next opponent, followed by more conditioning. When we went on road trips we received the itinerary well in advance so there was no confusion among the players or staff.

Priorities change when coaching a youth school basketball program.

Basketball coaches have to introduce structure because kids have no idea what it is. While they may chose to play basketball because it's fun, they usually have never played in organized competition. It is up to coaches to post the practice agenda every day and consider what's the most important thing to cover daily due to time constraints.

Coaches must be patient and learn to be excellent teachers and communicators given kids' lack of knowledge and inexperience. And kids must also know that there is one voice only: the basketball coach.

Given that responsibility, the coach must be prepared, thorough and organized every day.

If there is doubt about how to be structured like that, do research, go to clinics or talk to experienced coaches. It will benefit the program and accelerate individual and team development. It's a lot of time and responsibility, but it's worth it.