Running effective basketball plays and drills is the most important job of a coach.  It can be a challenge not to be overwhelmed with trying to understand too many basketball plays and drills.

That’s why it’s important to keep thing simple in practice.  I recommend following a strictly regimented practice plan that covers skill building, fundamentals, offensive and defensive sets, as well as conditioning.

Most teams only need a small number of basketball plays to be successful.  I would recommend having just one offensive play to run against man to man and one offensive play to run against a zone.  On defense, young teams should focus 90% of their attention on learning good man to man defense.

Zone defense is an important tool to have in your toolbox, but an over-reliance on playing zone can severely damage your players’ ability to improve.  The reason is that zone doesn’t teach players to stick a player one on one… an essential skill for players who want to play varsity high school or college ball.  So only 10% of your defensive attention should be focused on teaching zone defense, with the rest on man to man.

In addition to that you’ll need a solid press break, a press, and inbounds plays to run from underneath your own basket, the sideline, and underneat the opposing team’s basket.

The basketball drills you choose to run in practice must also be carefully thought out.  I advise working on the specific skills that are required in a new play as a build-up before actually teaching the play.  For example, if I were going to teach a 1-4 offense, I would first teach players how to get open off V-cuts and go back door when it is open.  I would also teach my posts and point guards to screen and roll… understanding the various options that are created when that play is run out of a 1-4 set.

Defense is not different.  Before installing a trapping press, have your players work on moving their feet and beating players to the spot.  This can be done best with a simple zig zag drill, with one player guarding another while he zig zags up the court.