The reason that we practice is to prepare for our basketball games and also to give our teams the best chance to win those games. This means that we should be doing our best to make practice as game-like as possible and generate as much game pressure and intensity with our players as we can.
By doing this, you will help your players experience some of the different game pressures that they will face in a game. They will learn to deal with adversity, make shots under pressure, work on end of game situations, etc. So how can you, as a basketball coach, help generate pressure and intensity in your basketball practices?
There isn’t a way that you can mimic the pressure of a real basketball game completely, but there are ways to come close to it. The closer that you can get your basketball practices to being game-like, the more you will be prepared for your games. So here are some tools that you can use as a coach to make sure that you are doing everything you can to help promote a game-like feel in your basketball practices.
Establish Your Basketball Culture
The first thing you need to do with your basketball team is to develop what you expect from them during practice time. Explain to your players why it is important, what will be required of them, and then hold every player in your basketball program accountable.
It will be hard at first, but you will find that the players will begin holding themselves accountable once the team culture starts to build. This is when your basketball practices start to get exciting, and you start seeing real growth in your team.
A great way to help speed this process up is to go to your player leaders and ask them to help you make sure that practice is on an elite level.
Let them know that it is essential to having a successful basketball season, and then teach them how to be player leaders. You must have players that are willing to step up and set the tone in practice, and it doesn’t always have to be your most skilled players either.
End of Game Situations
A great way to put pressure on your players is to set up end-of-game situations. Have your basketball team play a two-minute game, start one of the teams down by 5 points, or whatever type of situation you want to work on. Use situations that they will experience in games throughout the season to help them prepare and put added pressure on them.
This will also help your players understand how much time they actually have at the end of a game and will help them execute the game plan in a pressure situation and succeed. Game pressure will always be there, but you can teach your basketball team not to allow it to impact them negatively.
Competition in Practice
A big part of having intensity in basketball practice is having a healthy competition between your players. Every day your players should be challenging each other in practice for playing time, roles on the team, shots, etc., because nothing helps a team grow like healthy competition.
A great way to promote competition in your practices is to do basketball competition drills with a limited number of players on the floor (1 on 1, 2 on 2, etc.). Playing 5 on 5 is great, and there are a lot of things that can be worked on, but it also allows players to hide and be complacent.
A 2-on-2 rebounding basketball drill or a 1-on-1 offensive/defensive basketball drill will force players to compete, or they are going to get exposed.
However, I would recommend that this be done towards the beginning of your basketball practice; that way, you can set a competitive tone early. It doesn’t have to be done for very long; 10-15 minutes should be plenty of time.
Hate to Lose
Losing should not be comfortable for your basketball team. Every player on your team needs to hate losing. Whether it is a basketball shooting drill or a 5-on-5 short game in practice, there needs to be that hate for losing. Instill in your players the idea of never wanting to lose and giving their best effort in everything that they do.
One of the best ways to help promote this is by having consequences for the team that losses a team basketball drill or short game in practice. It could be some form of running, push-ups, etc., but establish the consequence before the game or basketball drill starts, and you will help your players to play harder and learn to play with pressure. It has to hurt to lose.
Generating Pressure and Intensity in Basketball Practice Conclusion
At the end of the day, you are going to play the same way that you prepare. So if your basketball practices are full of energy, players are being held accountable, and you are preparing at a high-level, your gameplay will reflect this. Unfortunately, though, this does not just happen naturally. It takes a conscious effort by everyone involved to ensure that practice is being executed at a high-level.
So take advantage of this basketball coaching article and these different ways to generate pressure and intensity in your basketball practices and start setting yourself up for success no matter what situation you experience in a game throughout the season.