10 Tips for Running an Efficient Practice

1. Practices must be organized – practice plans should be written out in detailed form down to the second for every drill. Using a clock will allow the practice to run smoothly because it will keep practice on time.

2. Clear articulation of what the standards and expectations are for practices are paramount. What are the objectives to be achieved in practice that day?

3. As the coach try to eliminate as many outside distractions as possible before you enter practice. Develop the ability to departmentalize/prioritize the issues you deal with.

4. Creating an environment where there is a healthy competition throughout practice. Using stats, keeping score, setting goals to be achieved, etc are a great way to create competition. Establishing a reward/punishment system will teach the players how important competition is to helping them improve.

5. Smooth transitions from drill to drill is important. Players must sprint from drill to drill, in and out of breaks, from one end of the floor to the other. There is no wasted time. Everything in practice is important.

6. Peer leadership allows for the players to coach, encourage, and lead in the proper way so that accountability to the standards is achieved.

7. Intelligent use of assistant coaches, and/or managers allows for the practice to have and maintain a high level of fluidity and productivity to be accomplished.

8. To have an understanding/feel for making adjustments to the practice schedule is a skill that the coach must develop. When to add or subtract from a drill or segment practice. Put the most important items at the beginning of practice schedule.

9. To have the ability to read your team. Their verbal and nonverbal cues. Knowing this will help the coach to be able to make the necessary adjustments in practice to ensure the success of the practice. A coach must know when to push, and when to pull back.

10. Constant communication between players, coaches, and staff throughout the practice. The communication has to be product designed to teach, improve, share insight, and encourage or correct behavior. Understanding the difference between Communicating and Talking. Communication is speaking in a language and manner where the information is GIVEN, RECEIVED AND UNDERSTOOD. Talking is waiting your turn to speak. The most important part of the communication piece is that the team’s language/vocabulary/terms have to be clear, and they must be consistent and echoed/repeated. Communication helps to establish the culture of your team and the culture of your team is a product of its ability to communicate.

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Kevin Sutton

Kevin Sutton

Assistant Coach at Georgetown
Assistant Men’s Basketball Coach at Georgetown