This article was written by FIU assistant men's basketball coach Chris Capko
This time of the year everyone and every team is in the midst of the most important part of their season; conference play. As the year goes on, practices start to become shorter to preserve players health and practices become more scout specific. They pertain more to that specific team than anything else. Practices might last an-hour-and-a-half depending on the coach’s philosophy.
Skill Development Philosophy
What is your philosophy in terms of skill instruction for this time of the year? Are you getting a lot of shots up still with your guys? Are you incorporating individual instruction into your practices or are you relying on the work ethic of your guys? At FIU we still do about 10 minutes of individual instruction a day (up to that position coach’s discretion) and an additional 10 minutes of just shooting.
After that all of the assistant coaches meet with different guys for additional individual work to make sure that they are still working on their game. Here are some of my beliefs as to how I approach the extra time with my guys.
Dynamic of a Workout
The intensity of the workouts depends on the player. How much he plays per game and what time of the day we work out. If I am working out a freshman who is not playing as much at 8 am, we will get a full intensity workout in. If I am working out a senior who has had a full day of classes an hour before practice, we will definitely scale back the intensity but focus on many of the same things. Here are some things I touch on with every player I work out this time of the year. I rarely ever exceed 30 minutes.
- Form Shooting: 50 makes with just one hand from different spots, 50 makes with both hands from different spots and 50 form jump shots from just outside the paint. Makes may vary depending on time and player. Form must always be perfect or the make doesn’t count.
- Touch Shots Around the Rim: Bigs and guards will both perform Mikan Drill and floater or hook specific shots.
- Ball Handling: I personally try to break up the monotony and do something a little different every day. One ball, two ball, using a coach, cones, etc. both bigs and guards will do this.
- Game Specific Shots and Moves: I will usually end the workout with a look or shot they will get during the course of a game.
None of this totally requires the players to exert a ton of energy and they still get the basic fundamental practice that will serve them everyday. What I have learned over the years is that when a player gets hit with the demands that come with playing basketball and competing in school, they start to practice less once the actual practice is over. Some players might only get 20 makes in practice and do that 3 times a week. That is not enough.
Encourage your players to get in the gym and don’t be afraid to get in the gym with them as well. If they are on your team, they are probably worth your time to improve. Invest time in the kids and hopefully it pays dividends for you and your team.