I challenge you to try a different mode of practice.
I’m assuming that you want your team to play a certain way – let’s assume it’s the Read & React. Then you must PRACTICE playing that way. I know that sounds obvious, but the word “Practice” has taken on a different meaning. It means Player Development and Scouting Walk-throughs, conditioning, competition, etc. Instead of following your typical practice plan, I challenge you to look at your Practice as a Rehearsal. Here’s the plan:
Start your practice with Drills of Layers 1-4 so that you can get in a lot of shots and a lot of defensive “reminders” – how to help and recover; how to defend cuts; how to defend that ball; stance, hands, footwork, etc.
Then go to 5-player REHEARSAL and REHEARSE without stopping and talking about every detail of every possession AFTER each possession. The average possession is only about 10-15 seconds. When the coach talks for a minute, the team has lost a chance to rehearse 4 or 5 possessions. When the coach talks for 2 minutes, you’ve lost 8 or 10 possessions.
(This 5-player Rehearsal might be 5 vs 0, or 5 vs 5 Shell Defense, or 5 vs 5 LIVE.)
You might be wondering, “How am I supposed to teach and correct what they’re doing?” Here’s how:
- When you see a Pass without a cut, then you stop and drill everyone for one minute.
- When you see a Read Line that’s not taken, you drill the Read Line for one minute. When you see no Circle Movement, then choose one of Layer 4’s drills for a minute.
Even defensively, when you see poor help and recovery, as an example, go to Layer 4 Natural Pitch drill and EMPHASIZE the help and recovery of the defense.
At the end of your one minute drill, go right back to 5 player REHEARSAL. Continue this Rehearse-Drill-Rehearse-Drill-Rehearse until there’s no need to stop and drill!
Just try it! I dare you to send that message to your players!
MESSAGE: This is what we do.
MESSAGE: If you cannot do it “Live”, then we will do it in a drill!
This puts TREMENDOUS peer pressure on the players who will not play the way you want them to play.
Players don’t want to drill!
Players don’t want to listen to the coach talk, lecture, and threaten!
Players want to play!
Base the amount of 5 vs 5 playing time (during practice) on their ability to learn the reactions, spacing, and decision-making of the Read & React.
At the heart of this mode of operation is the following message from the coach to the players: “I’m not going to lecture, threaten, or punish you with sprints or push-ups or things like that. Instead, the moment I see a player NOT do what they are supposed to do, WE (the entire team) are going to stop the action and DRILL! It might be one minute or it might be five minutes, but at least, while we’re learning, all of us can continue to develop our skills. When I am satisfied that you have learned that particular skill, reaction, decision, or whatever it was, then we will return to 5 on 5.”
So, I challenge you to try just ONE practice using this mode of operation. Your practice may be shorter than you planned because you’ll be in continuous motion. But just consider that if you want your team to learn how to PLAY a certain way, then you must REHEARSE that way a LOT!
Isn’t that what “Practice” is supposed to be about?