Tip for Warmup Drills in Practice

You know how it is, you get to practice with your team and it's afterschool, some of the kids are tired, they're not really motivated to work. You start practice off with some warmup drills, simple ball circles around the body, around the legs, some dribbling drills, 1 or 2 passing drills etc, and most of the time the kids just sleepwalk through them trash-talking with each other waiting to get to the meat of the practice.

I was reading some notes from a John Beilein Michigan clinic the other day and thought this might be a nice tip to change things up. Coach Beilein makes his players qualify every drill they do. Basically, count how many circles, how many passes, etc... His players have to be able to do a certain number before they qualify or they can run instead to qualify. Here is an excerpt of what he has them do:

• make players qualify with runs in order to practice
• If they cannot make their times on these drills they must re-qualify with a run time
• These teach them a sense of achievement
• Make drills harder than the game will be
• Tape them to show them how hard they are practicing
• Give them goals and hold them accountable to them

• Circle the ball around your body
1. Guards- 120/min
2. Forwards- 110/minute
3. Bigs- 100/minute
4. Circle the ball around your waist
5. After 10 rotations slap the ball and reverse directions

• Ball between the legs
1. Both hands are in front of the knees
2. Release the ball and catch it with both hands behind the knees
3. Goal 40 in 30 seconds counting only the hands forward position

• Pretzel
1. Ball between the legs with one hand in front of the knee and the other behind
2. Goal 40 in 30 seconds counting only the right hand forward position

• Dribble behind the back
• Goal 55 in 30 seconds counting only the right hand touch

• Fifty 3’s in 5 minutes
1. Shoot 3-3’s and then a 2 at the elbow
2. Keep moving to different spots

• Michigan Passing- 2 players and 1 ball
1. If the ball is in the air your feet are in the air to receive a pass
2. Catch it on 2 and step with a hot foot (the shooting hand foot)

I like the idea of making the players accountable at all times. That's the way it is in real life right? We're always inundated with things to do in the real world and people are always checking on you. Did you remember to use the right coversheet for your TPS report? Did you get sign-off from the customer? Did you complete the functional checklist? Teaching kids how to be goal and task oriented will prepare them for real life.

If you're looking for some more practice drills for your team, I recommend to take a look at Jerry Petitgoue's Practice Drills DVD. I have notes from this DVD as well if you want to take a look at them, just drop by the X's and O's Basketball forum to request them.