One of the things I haven't talked that much about overall on this blog has been how to prepare and plan practices. As an assistant the past 6 years or so, I haven't had to really think too much about it, as the head coach was the one responsible for putting it all together, I just did whatever the head coach wanted me to do.

Probably the most important part of being a head coach is how you put your practices together. For me, I find that it is important that practices start out with something where the players really need to focus and concentrate, to set the right tone for the rest of the practice. Because, I seen it where if you start off practice on the wrong track, it's extremely hard to get the players back on track.

I've used a bunch of different drills. I like doing 2 ball dribbling or tennis ball drills, as it forces players to really concentrate on the task (or they lose their ball). I also like doing team passing as again, it forces players to concentrate hard on the task, or they mess it up for everyone else. I've used this 4 corners passing drill from Bobby Knight before as well:

The real key to running any of these drills is coaching the details. If a player makes a mistake, stop and correct it right away. Now, you can argue that these drills aren't very game relevant, Hubie Brown's philosophy is that you never do anything in practice that you won't use in a game. I agree to some extent, but mental concentration is a skill that is highly relevant, and cannot always be practiced in a "game-like" scenario. I explain to players that what I'm looking for in them right now is whether they can maintain focus and discipline to do it right, because in the game the players have to maintain the same focus and discipline to help and recover on defense, or to break the other team's press.

Anyways, hopefully that gives you all some ideas on starting out your practices the right way. The season is just about halfway done. We've been adding a couple of wrinkles here and there, but basically from here on out, it's all about execution and attention to the details.