practice plan eric smith

A good practice plan is key to creating confident athletes and a winning season for your team.  Today’s practice plan spotlight featuring state championship head coach Eric Smith talks about the importance of making the other team take contested jump shots, pushing the ball down the court every possession especially after the other team makes a basket, and limiting teams to one shot.

Coaching Philosophy:

Coach Smith’s philosophy focuses on 3 things:

  • Defense (making the other team take contested jump shots)
  • Running (pushing the ball down the court every possession especially after the other team makes a basket)
  • Rebounding (limiting teams to one shot).


Practice Plan Drills

Emphasis: Practices are designed to be more intense and harder than games.

Description: All drills are chosen to enhance and better our system of transition basketball and hard nose changing defenses.

smith practice plan 1
Diagram 1: 1, 2 and 3B go 3 on 2 against 1 and 2W. On a change of possession, W3 takes off down the court, W1 or 2 grabs ball out of basket and looks to push, if the person that grabs the ball is not a guard she looks to outlet immediately. If she is a ball handler she pushes the ball up court. 2 of the B’s get back on defense and third B must get off the court before mid court. The B’s must communicate on the fly as to who gets off.


smith practice plan 2
Diagram 2: The W’s try to score as quickly as possible. On a change of possession 4B takes off down court. B’s look to get ball down court as quickly as possible. W’s must communicate which two get back on defense the other player must get off before mid court.
smith practice plan 3
Diagram 3: The B’s try to score as quickly as possible. On a change of possession W4 takes off down the court. W’s look to get ball down court quickly. 2B’s get back the other player gets off before mid court.
The drill continues back and forth until a goal has been made. That goal could be a certain score or time is up. We usually play for 10 minutes. During the drill we rarely have a 3 on 2 situation and it is usually 2 on 1, 1 on 1, or break away lay up. You can play 4 on 3 or event 5 on 4 if you want. This is a great drill for transition, communication and conditioning.
smith practice plan 4
Diagram 4: I picked this zone offense from Harry Perrotta of Villanova. 5 is your best player and she starts at free throw line. 5 should be a post player that can shoot or be a bigger guard. The offense can be run against any zone defense. 1, 2 and 3 are usually guards and 4 is a post player. 1 can pass to either 2 or 3 to start. After the pass 1 makes a basket cut and then out to opposite corner. 5 replaces 1.
smith practice plan 5
Diagram 5: 4 stays behind the bottom defenders in the zone looking to get lost by the defenders. 2 passes to 5. If there is one guard on a side such as 2, the guard cuts and replace herself.
smith practice plan 6
Diagram 6: 5 has the freedom to pass to anyone, attack the basket or shoot. 5 passes to 3 then immediately dives to high post. 3 look to 5 first. 2 moves to open area on weak side ready to shoot.
smith practice plan 7
Diagram 7: If 5 isn’t open 3 moves ball. On pass 3 basket cuts and pops out on weak side. Where there are two guards on one side as 3 and 1 are, 3 cuts through. 5 replaces 3. The motion continues with 5 replacing on perimeter and then diving to high post while the 3 guards pass and cut a good shot opens up. 4 continues to move short corner to short corner. With having four players on perimeter (5 and 3 guards) at times the zone is stretched to get out on shooters leaving the dive to 5 in the high post open and 4 on the baseline. We also had a lot of success getting the ball to 4 and having 5 dive from the three point line to the basket and receiving a pass from 4 for a layup.
smith practice plan 8
Diagram 8: Initial set up. 3 is your shooter.
smith practice plan 9
Diagram 9: 4 screens middle of zone as 5 pops to ball side corner.
smith practice plan 10
Diagram 10: 5 passes to 2 and then moves to screen bottom of zone.
smith practice plan 11
Diagram 11: 2 dribbles to the top of the key dragging the top defender with her. 3 shallow cuts to wing for a pass from 2.
smith practice plan 12
Diagram 12: If 3 is open she shoots. If the bottom defender steps up to help 3 looks to 1 in the corner or 5 posting up.
smith practice plan 13
Diagram 13: Initial set up. 5 is your best post player and 3 is your best shooter. 1 is your point, 2 guard and 4 is other post.
smith practice plan 14
Diagram 14: 3 breaks to ball side corner off 5’s screen ready to shoot. 4 screens 1 more to occupy 4 and 1’s defender than to free 1 for a pass. 2 passes to 3.
smith practice plan 15
Diagram 15: If 3 doesn’t have shot she dumps it into 5 for a 1 on 1 in post. Options: If 3 is covered 2 can pass directly into post. If 4’s defender doubles down on 5, 4 cuts hard weak side block.


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