From Coach:

This years team is relatively small with the post players at about 5’6
– 5’7. The guards are quick and my point guard is a good shooter and
ball handler with very quick foot speed. The forwards are really the
size of the guards 5′ 1 – 5’3. A couple of them can interchange with
the guard positions. The pivot men are a big boned so they don’t really
get pushed around and they seem to be able to maneuver well for
rebounds. As a whole, I’d like your advice on and thoughts on how to
keep practices fun while getting the most out of our 1 1/2 hrs. We
practice 2X/wk with tourneys on the weekends. Your program has been a
God’s send but is there anything else that you might suggest for my
small but big hearted team. ( ie. fitness training [tag]basketball[/tag] oriented
drills for both offense and defense) In addition all the examples you
outlined in this email are ones which would be considerably helpful.
(Aggressive post play, point guard ball handling and penetrating
skills, court vision, team speed, team shooting range, best zone and
man on man press, best ways to bust the press, suggestions on what
offense might work well for us in both man on man and zone situations,
how to distribute playing time and still play to win)

From Pat:

Hi Coach,
Thanks for your support.  I hope things are going well with the software so far!

I’ve put together a pretty comprehensive set of videos which should answer some of your top questions.  You can watch them here:
PRIVATE COACHING VIDEO- to get your own coaching conult video, visit

I’ve also attached the three Basketball Blueprint files… which you can download and customize for your own team.

Here’s where I decided to go with this:

1) Increasing Aggresion

This is a pretty common problem with youth coaches as some players have a tough time treating basketball as a “contact” sport.

A lot of kids are worried about fouling out… so they shy away from contact completely.

Others prefer a finesse style of game, and struggle to battle with larger, more physical players.

I find that the biggest disadvantage of lacking aggression is usually on the boards.

That’s why I created this video of the Animal Rebounding Drill for you.  When you’re running the Animal drill, here are a couple things to focus on:

– light fouls are permitted
– no play stoppage for scoring, out of bounds, travelling -> players just keep going until you tell them to stop
– keep control of the drill by splitting off into several small groups (get a parent or assistant coach to help out)

2) Conditioning & Fast Break Skills

In addition to being a great cardio workout, the Celtic Passing [tag]basketball drill[/tag] will help teach your team:

– how to run the passing lanes on a fast break
– how to push the ball up quickly
– different options to score off the fast break

and some other cool stuff.  To add an extra wrinkle to this drill, run it for exactly 5 minutes and count the number of missed layups.  For each missed layup, they have to run a windsprint as a team.  This will encourage them to concentrate on finishing, and not rushing their layups.

3) Building Post Skills

The last drill is a competitive 3 on 3 drill that focuses on post to post play, sealing off defenders in the lane, and using screens to get open.  It sounds like you have some solid (although short) forwards on your team.  You can use this drill to teach them how to use footwork, physical play, and body positioning (ie. sealing off their defender) to get easy shots against taller opponents.

Try to emphasize:

– Being physical, using footwork and lower body strength to seal off defenders down low
– Using good fakes and step-around moves to deliver effective post-entry passes
– Rotating the new teams in and out quickly… keeping the continuity of the drill

4) The last point I wanted to make is on distributing playing time without compromising your desire to win.  Here’s what I’ll suggest:

Every practice, have an assistant coach or parent track “Hustle Stats”.  Count the number of offensive rebounds, loose balls gained, dives to the floor, charges taken, passes deflected or stolen etc.  At the end of each practice, choose a “Hustle MVP”.  That player will get an extra shift during your next upcoming game.

This will give the less talented players on your team a chance to earn more playing time by working harder in practice.  It will also increase your practice intensity, which will benefit all the players on your team.  You can even sweeten the deal by offering the Hustle MVP a free Gatorade or some other small prize.  But also make sure that you recognize his contribution in front of his teammates… make a big deal out of it.

Try that and let me know how it goes!

Coach Pat