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Archives by Tag 'Program Development'

8 Tips and Strategies for Practice Planning with Bob Hurley

By adam.warner - Last updated: Wednesday, November 2, 2011

St. Anthony’s (NJ) head coach Bob Hurley is widely recognized as one of the nation’s most respected and top overall high school basketball coaches. The two-time National Coach of the Year and winner of 25 state titles was a recent inductee to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

In this exclusive look, learn eight tips and strategies for practice planning from Coach Hurley. The segment covers everything from drills to time management and to practice organization. Finally, we’ll reveal one of Coach Hurley’s favorite warm-up drills that gets players thinking and playing sharp early in practice.

Practice Planning Strategies

1. At all times, you must get your practice plan on paper and stick to the schedule. Difficult things (like rebounding drills and screening drills) must be short in duration so the kids can follow and pick them up.

If a drill didn’t work, like a blockout drill, it’s up to the coach to come back the next day with a different drill. Don’t come back and be stubborn and try the same exact thing. In terms of drills, variety is really important for successful practices.

2. Alternate hard and easy drills/segments. We go four minutes with a particular segment. For instance, we got the explanation in the beginning and validation at the end (Coach Hurley picked this up from Vance Walberg).

With validation, pick a person at the end of the drill to shoot a free throw. If he makes it, move on to the next drill. But if he misses it, the team must run a sprint, do crunches or pushups. Do this for every segment. It incorporates pressure free throws. Plus, winning and losing is involved, some conditioning/running, and pressure situations.

3. Use the clock daily. Make use of your managers. One can do the clock and the other can help with drills. This is helpful for keeping time of drills, rebounding, and keeping track of makes.

4. Make practice competitive and fun. Competition lends to game speed. End practice each day with something challenging but fun.


5. When the team comes in to stretch, they do dynamic stretching now. After stretching, the team does a 30-second meeting and something to motivate the kids right before breaking. The team meets before, during and after practice. Coach Hurley blows the whistle, and everything stops in the drills. Kids must respond to the drill. If Coach Hurley points to the circle, that means the squad must come together for a quick meeting. The last kid that arrives must do 10 pushups. The team might do this 4-5 times a day.

6. In the first 15 minutes of practice, every coach must say something positive about every player. It’s not hard to do. As practice goes on and gets more intense, Coaches tend to get pickier. At the end of practice, the squad will get together again and have a 30-second meeting. John Wooden once said, “Always leave practice on a positive note.” We try to do this every day, even if it was a tough practice.

7. Win and lose starting jobs at practice. Make this happen every single day. Don’t allow guys to become “game-day players.” This will motivate players every day of the season.

8. Implement something new every day. It’s never too early to make the kids think.


Warm-Up Drill: “Fire”

Here’s a terrific warm-up drill to get players thinking and making quick decisions early in practice.

Start at the baseline with two players spaced out about 5-7 feet. First, there’s a pass from the inside player to the outside player. The inside player then cuts to the elbow. Note: Use only chest passes right now and focus on catching and moving. That elbow player gets the ball back. Next, that same player passes to a third player up at mid-court. The player from the corner now comes to the top of the circle. We hit him with a pass. That passer now follows him and heads to the end of the line.

The player with the ball now passes to yet another player up on the right side of the mid-court line. He then follows behind. The ball then goes back to the player at the top of the circle, then on to a player in the far corner/three-point area. Now, this player hits a different player cutting to the hoop for a layup.

The passer and the layup player are then immediately off and the next two players on the baseline start again. Start with layups and then mix in some jumpers. You can also get up to three balls going at once, that is if players aren’t daydreaming.


The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Practice Planning and Program Development.” To check out more videos in the Bob Hurley catalog, click here.

Winning with Undersized Teams: Characteristics and Misperceptions

By adam.warner - Last updated: Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Butler head coach Brad Stevens has created a name for himself by maximizing the abilities of his players. Although not always equipped with multiple seven-footers or a handful of First-Team All-Americans, Stevens has proven year after year that basketball teams don’t necessarily need the tallest and most athletic players to win.

In this week’s team development feature, learn about some common characteristics and misperceptions when it comes to winning with an undersized basketball team. Coach Stevens clearly details his winning philosophy and gives fellow coaches a blueprint for success even if they don’t have a roster filled with the tallest players in the league.

Common Characteristics of Undersized Teams that Win

Coach Stevens has learned over time that his best teams — regardless of size — share certain characteristics. Most importantly, all players need to be ALL IN. For instance, those players would run through a wall for the good of Butler University. It’s not about them. Rather, these players would sacrifice for the team in game situations and make the team better as a whole.

For the majority of Stevens’ teams, if they were undersized, they were undersized at the 2, and either the 4 or 5 positions. Often, Butler would run out there with two point guards, two 3’s and a 5. And although they were undersized, they had tough-minded guys in those spots. These players took it as a challenge and carried that mindset.

These teams also had the ability to playmake from a number of spots. Although playing untraditional basketball, the team’s 4 players could put it on the floor and make plays for other people. That’s very important to be able to do. These are the kind of players that Stevens looks for in that spot – and it’s made his teams better over time.

Also, it’s about defensive versatility and your turnover margin. Before 2009, most of Butler’s teams were in the national top 10 for turnovers in Stevens’ eight years at the helm. However, most of the NCAA teams they played against out-rebounded them. Therefore, when undersized, it’s mostly about trying to be even when it comes to rebounding, but also turning it over less than your opponent, and getting good shots.

There were times when from a physical stature that Butler couldn’t beat people to the ball or get to the rim faster. Plus, as the team got into the tourney and played squads like Florida, those teams would likely win the physical battle most of the time. Therefore, undersized teams must figure out a way to counter that so they have a chance to beat them.


Misperceptions of Undersized Teams

First, a common misperception is that undersized teams don’t recruit for size. In actuality, teams like Butler would love to have that 7-foot pro. But the bottom line is that those guys aren’t in school (college) very long. Plus, everyone else is looking for those guys as well. However, when it comes to recruiting, it’s also about getting guys that will sacrifice inches and make up the difference in speed and skill. These are guys that move well and have an unbelievable skillset.

Another misperception is that undersized teams don’t utilize the post. But at Butler, the goal is to spread the floor and run ball screens. The team wants at least one player at the rim every time. That person could very well be our 1 posting, or even the 3. For instance about five years ago in the Sweet 16, Butler ran post actions for its 1 and 3 players.

Finally, a third misperception is that size dominates the league. However, big men now have to face a flurry of adjustments, like extremely quick guards, containment on ball screens, etc. In Stevens’ first seven years at Butler, there was only one player over 6-8 that made the First Team All-League squad.

Also, Butler didn’t make that jump from NIT team to Sweet 16 team until the squad fully understood that undersized did not mean undermanned. That starts with players and belief. With Butler’s guys, they could sell the fact that they had an advantage.


The previous clips can be found on Championship Productions’ DVD “Brad Stevens: Winning with Undersized Teams.” To check out more exclusive videos focusing on overall team strategy and concepts, click here.

3 Helpful Coaching Tips from Basketball Legend Bob Knight

By adam.warner - Last updated: Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Four-time National Coach of the Year Bob Knight is widely regarded as one of the greatest basketball coaches of all time. Now in this week’s coaching feature of the week, get advice from Knight on three different coaching topics, including ways to set goals for your team, general philosophy regarding team drills, plus understanding team roles. Look to improve your own program by taking some concepts and wisdom from the three-time NCAA championship coach.

Setting Goals

Coach Knight has always tried to set goals for his players. Knight would use a grade card after every game that included the following criteria:


-Hold opponent to 65 points per game.

-Limit opponent to shooting 42% or less from the field.

-Have 12 more shots per game than opponent.

-Never give up 16 personal fouls in a game.


-Field goal percentage should be at 52% or higher.

-Free throw percentage should be at least 75%.

– Have 10 turnovers or fewer.

-Score first in each half.

-Get 58% of all rebounds.

Coach Knight determined that if his team hit everything on the scorecard, then it was impossible for them to lose. Meanwhile, after each game, he would run through each area and make assessments with the team and determine which areas needed work for the days ahead.

Individual Drills vs. Team Drills

When it comes to practice drills, Knight believes in the Pete Newell philosophy called the “Part-Whole Method” where you break practices down into parts and then put the whole thing together. For instance with offense, you had to work on passing, cutting, screening, driving, posting, driving with shot, faking and driving, three-point attempts, and so on. Knight’s teams tried to work on each area in different ways in practice, sometimes combining multiple areas together as well, liking cuts and screens. His teams built their whole from their parts, areas like help and recover, blocking out and pressuring passing lanes.


Understanding Team Roles

When it comes to understanding team roles, Knight believes that everyone on the team has different roles, yet collectively there are a few things the entire squad must follow.

For instance, the entire squad must play defense and everyone must block out. However, the shooters are going to shoot the ball. This area is not an equal opportunity proposition. If there are better shooters than everyone else, then the goal is to try and get the ball in their hands as much as possible. These players won’t screen as much as they cut, as they’ll look to get into positions where they can get open, turn and shoot.

Overall, you try to take the individual skills of the players and utilize them, and that especially comes into play during the season with match-ups and opponent strengths/weaknesses where you hope to gain an advantage.


The following clips can be found on the Championship Productions DVD “Knight School: Teaching Coaches How to Coach.” Look for more exclusive videos featuring Coach Knight in our extensive catalog.

3 Tips From John Calipari on How to Inspire Today’s Athlete

By adam.warner - Last updated: Wednesday, April 6, 2011

It’s a different era for basketball players these days, even at the youth and high school level. With team rankings, influences of the internet and advances of television as just a few examples, there’s so much information coming at young players today that it’s easy for them to be influenced in a negative way.

With that said, coaching the mind is just as important as coaching on the basketball court. Therefore, it’s key for players today to understand what’s coming at them in all directions – and it’s as influential as teaching a kid how to shoot a jumper. Check out these tips from University of Kentucky head coach John Calipari and see how you can make a difference with your own players.

Building Trust

According to Calipari, trust is very important between a coach and an athlete. It’s where you start with a player, and at the college level, it all begins at the recruiting process and the meetings you have with a particular young person. For instance at Kentucky, Calipari never promises minutes in the recruiting process and aims at under-selling and over-delivering. Meanwhile, it’s key to remember that their trust in you is also at stake.

It’s also important to create a family atmosphere on your team where the players know that everyone on the team is there for each other. This builds unity and chemistry over time.


Earning Respect

As a coach, you are always trying to earn respect, and you do that by being honest and making commitments you can stand by. If you are worried about affection and saying whatever you have to say to get the players to like you, then you’re not going to be long for this profession.

But by creating respect between you and a player, by doing the things you say you are going to do, by spending that extra time to communicate or figure out who a particular person is, that respect turns into affection over time. As far as trying to hold players accountable, you must be willing to say no as a coach.


Creating a Dialogue

The most critical aspect when sitting down with players is to create a dialogue and communicate openly, but it’s especially important that you listen to them. Remember, as a coach, that individual player wants to know first and foremost, “What’s in it for me?”

Meanwhile, don’t forget that a player’s perception is their reality. You must deal with that perception no matter what it is and address it.


Check out more tips from Coach Calipari in Championship Productions’ DVD “Coaching and Inspiring Today’s Athlete.” To browse the entire John Calipari collection, simply click here.

New Power I and Program Development Football DVDs!

By nate.landas - Last updated: Thursday, May 28, 2009

We have currently released two new football DVDs featuring Bill Dee and Corby Meekins

Bill Deeis an assistant football coach at Christopher Newport University.  Previously, Dee was the head coach at Phoebus High School (VA), where he led the Phantoms to four state titles in the last eight years.  Dee posted an overall record of 243-76-1 (.761 winning percentage) during his 24-year tenure at Phoebus and guided the Phantoms to nine district championships and seven regional championships.

Corby Meekins is the head football coach at Westfield High School (TX).  Meekins has guided the Mustangs to five straight playoff births and holds an overall record of 52-11.  Coach Meekins won the Touchdown Club of Houston “Coach of the Year” award in 2004, was 1 of 7 finalists’ for the Adams U.S.A. “National Coach of the Year” award in 2005, and was named District “Coach of the Year” in 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007. 

The football DVDs are titled:

Building a Championship 2-Pack
Worst to First: Football System for Success
Building a Championship Program


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