Rookie Practice Plans

Welcome to the Rookie Level practice plans. The Rookie level focuses on having fun, being active, and learning the basic fundamental skills of basketball. There are three options for viewing these practice plans.

  • Download a full practice plan to review and study
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  • Review the interactive plan below complete with videos

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Rookie Practice Plan 1

Cultivating Values & Developing Wellness

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Have Fun!

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Share with the players the importance of having fun and remind everybody that the Jr. NBA is all about enjoying the game of basketball!

Have fun, smile, learn, and enjoy your teammates!

The Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) reminds us that keeping basketball fun for players is key to their success as players and as people. After all, if the sport is not fun, players may stop playing and never develop into the athletes they could become. If that happens, they are also denied the opportunity to learn all the life lessons available through basketball. However, as long as we keep the game fun, they will always love the game and become all they can as players and people.

Know Your Team Game

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  • Have the players stand in a circle with the coach in the middle.
  • The coach will have a ball and toss it quickly to a player.
  • As the player catches the ball, the coach asks the player a question (see suggestions below).
  • The player will quickly answer the question and toss the ball back to the coach.
  • The coach will repeat this process tossing the ball to different players and asking different questions.

Here are a few suggested questions:

  • What is your name?
  • Do you have a brother or sister?
  • What is your favorite color?
  • What is your favorite basketball team?
  • What is your middle name?
  • When is your birthday?

Warm Up

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The Escape Game

(3 times each partner)
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  • Have the players partner up and designate a partner “1” and a partner “2” for each pair.
  • All 1’s will go to the center of the gym, face the center, and cover their eyes.
  • Have all 2’s start next to their partner 1.
  • At the coach’s command “Move with..”, partner 2’s will move away from 1’s by moving with the movement the coach chooses from the selection below.
  • On the command, “Find your partners!” partner 1’s open their eyes, move as their partner was commanded, and locate and gently tag their partner.
  • Once tagged both partners must go back to the center of the court, where they will switch roles and repeat.

Movement Options: Hopping on 1 foot, hopping on 2 feet, skipping, lateral slide, running, running sideways, running backwards.

Key Points

This is a great game to help the players actively warm-up. Players should only run if commanded to run. Make sure that both partners use the movement that coach commands.

Building Skills

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Ball Handling

Ball Handling Fundamental Skill

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The act of moving and controlling the ball. Ball-handling includes ball control, dribbling, and dribble moves. The better the ball-handler, the easier it becomes for the player to move with the ball and create opportunities for their team.

Holding the Ball

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Players should hold the ball with 2 hands on the sides of the ball so their palms are facing towards each other. It is important that the players are able to bend their wrists and can keep the ball close to their body.

Toss & Catch

(1x45 Seconds)
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  • Players need a basketball (or share) and should find space on the court facing the coach.
  • With two hands on the ball, the players will toss the ball into the air and catch it on its way down.
  • The players can toss the ball higher if they are comfortable.
  • The coach can have the players work together or at their own speed and should feel free to add wrinkles to the drill.

Key Points

Develop hand-eye coordination and familiarity with the ball by tossing and catching it at different heights. Emphasize a controlled toss and a soft catch.

Smacks

(1 x 20 seconds)
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• All players need a basketball (or share) and should stand in a designated area.
• Players will hold the ball with 2 hands in front of them and alternate smacking the ball with each hand.

Key Points

Get comfortable with the ball, warm-up the fingers and hands, and develop comfort being physical by smacking the ball in this fun ball handling warm-up.

Taps

(2 x 30 seconds)
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  • All players need a basketball (or share) and should stand in a designated area.
  • The players will start with their arms extended over their head and tap the ball quickly from hand to hand for the allotted time.
  • The players will then bend their arms and tap the ball quickly from hand to hand in front of their face for the allotted time.
  • The players will again tap the ball from side to side with the same motion in front of their waste now for the allotted time.

Key Points

Get comfortable with the ball, warm-up the fingers and hands, and develop the ability to control the ball. Emphasize using their fingertips to develop comfort moving the ball which will directly translate to dribbling. Keep the hands close to each other as these should be small, quick taps.

Waist Wraps

(1 x 10 reps each way)
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• All players need a basketball (or share) and should stand on the sideline.
• The players should start with the ball in front of their waist and wrap it quickly in circles around their waist.
• Once they have completed the allotted wraps, they should do the same movement going the opposite direction.

Key Points

Get comfortable with the ball, warm-up the fingers and hands, and develop the ability to control the ball. Help the players gain confidence moving the ball as if it is an extension of their body. Push the players to wrap the ball fast in order to challenge their control.

Head Wraps

(1 x 10 reps each way)
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• All players need a basketball (or share) and should stand on the sideline.
• The players should start with the ball in front of their face and wrap it quickly in circles around their head.
• Once they have completed the allotted wraps, they should do the same movement going the opposite direction.

Key Points

Get comfortable with the ball, warm-up the fingers and hands, and develop the ability to control the ball. Help the players gain confidence moving the ball as if it is an extension of their body. Push the players to wrap the ball fast in order to challenge their control.

Passing

Passing Fundamental Skill

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Passing is the act of throwing the ball to a teammate. A basic pass happens by holding the ball with two hands, stepping towards a teammate, and pushing the ball from the middle of the body to a teammate. Passing the ball to teammates moves the ball quicker than dribbling, and also forces the defensive players to move and react. Just like ball-handling and shooting, passing is a skill that must be honed.

Stationary Wall Passing – Chest

(3 x 10 passes)
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  • The players should get a basketball (or share) and stand a short distance from a wall and find a target on the wall.
  • Teach the players to step with a lead foot toward the target as they snap their thumbs down and extend their arms to pass the ball to the target.
  • After the ball hits the wall, the players should catch the ball and repeat the process.

Key Points

Make sure the players have good balance, look at the target, step towards the target, extend their arms, and snap their thumbs down as they pass the ball. The ball should have backspin as it is in the air.

Shooting

Shooting Fundamental Skill

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Shooting is the act of throwing the ball with the purpose of it to go through the basket.

  • Players should start in a good stance with their shooting hand elbow under the ball and the other hand holding the ball steady on the side. The players will use their whole body to push the ball up toward the basket.
  • To shoot with good form, it is important to bend the knees for both balance and strength. The players should have their feet a little wider than shoulder width apart, and often, shooters will have the foot on the side of their shooting hand slightly ahead of their other foot. The player’s feet, knees, hips, shoulders and head should all be facing the basket. The shooting hand elbow should be under the ball while the other hand should support the ball on the side. The ball should be in the fingertips of the shooting hand with a small gap between the palm and the ball. Then in one motion the player should extend their legs while extending their shooting hand. The hand and elbow should come to full extension up high with the ball primarily coming off the fingertips of the index and middle fingers. The player should flip their wrist forward creating backspin on the ball which allows it to land softly on the rim. The opposite hand should come off the ball just before the player releases the ball from the shooting hand. The player should land in the same place they jumped from on both feet nice and balanced and hold their follow-through until they see if the shot goes in.

Form Shooting No Ball

(2 x 8)
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  • All players should stand on the sideline facing the coach.
  • With bent knees and the dominant hand elbow in, have the players move their body upward in one motion to simulate shooting the ball.
  • The players should follow through by straightening their arm and flipping their wrist in an effort to have a perfect shot.
  • The players should hold the follow through until the coach indicates for them to reset in a good stance.

Key Points

Have the players emulate the perfect shot and perfect form as they go through the drill.

Shooting Line Game

(2 games to 8 makes)
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  • Divide the players into two or more group lines and have each group at a designated shooting spot on the court.
  • The group lines will operate as a team and keep their score together.
  • The players will shoot one time, get their rebound, give it to the next player and return to the back of the same line.
  • Continue this drill until one team makes the designated number of shots. Then switch spots and repeat.

jrnba_rookie_pp1_shootinglinegame_diagram1jrnba_rookie_pp1_shootinglinegame_diagram2

Key Points

Have the players count the makes out loud for all teams to hear. Encourage the players to cheer for their teammates and utilize the shooting form they have worked on.

diagram

Footwork and Conditioning

Jump Stop Fundamental Skill

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  • The act of landing on both feet at the same time when either receiving a pass or after a player’s last dribble. Landing on both feet at the same time helps the player gain balance, and allows the player to use either foot as a pivot foot.
  • The players should keep their eyes and chest up and stay balanced by having their knees bent.

Jump Stop Drill – No Ball

(2 x down and back)
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  • Players should form balanced lines on the baseline and the first player in each line starts in an athletic stance.
  • The first player in each line will jog to the foul line and make a deliberate jump stop at the foul line.
  • On the whistle, the players will repeat at half court, the opposite foul line, and the opposite baseline.
  • Once the group in front of the player moves towards the next jump stop location, the next player begins the same process.
  • The players will wait at the opposite baseline until all the players finish and then do the same process going back.

Key Points

To ensure balance, have the players land in the jump stop position and count to 3 before blowing the whistle to allow them to jog to the next spot.

Team Concepts

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Teamwork Carry Drill

(1-2 games)
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  • Pair the players up according to their height and have them start next to their partner in a few lines.
  • The first partner pair in each line will be responsible for getting the ball to half court and back to their line.
  • The partners will place the basketball on their hips and put their hands in the air.
  • They are not allowed to use any other body parts to carry the basketball, and must always be in the side-to-side position and not back-to-back or side-to-back.
  • If the ball drops, simply pick up the ball and go back to where the ball was dropped and continue.
  • Have each partner pair do this at least one time. If desired, play the next game by carrying the ball with their shoulders.

Key Points

This is a fun team building exercise that forces players to work together. Have all the players encourage each other and have fun.

Competing

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Mr. Coach, What Time Is It?

(1-2 games)
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  • All players will start on the baseline. The coach (“Mr. Coach”) will start near the opposite baseline facing away from the players.
  • The players will all together say “Mr. Coach, Mr. Coach, what time is it?”
  • The coach will then respond by yelling out any number 1-12 (e.g. “10 o’clock!”).
  • The players will then take that number (ten) big steps (and dribbles if using a ball) forward.
  • After completing the steps, the players will ask again, “Mr. Coach, Mr. Coach, what time is it?” the coach will continue with another number or yell out “Game time!”
  • At any point, if the coach yells “Game Time!” the coach is allowed to turn around to tag the player(s).
  • The players will run back to the baseline that they started on to be “safe.”
  • If a player is caught, they will then join “Mr. Coach.”

Key Points

If needed, add the ball and have all the players dribble the number of steps they take, as well as dribble when the coach yells “Game Time!” to get away from the coach.

Compliment Session

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  • Gather the players in the middle of the court and encourage them to raise their hand and give another teammate a compliment.
  • If needed, have the coach start the session by giving a compliment and let the players follow.

Key Points

All compliments should be natural. Not every player has to give or receive a compliment.

Skills Checklist

At the conclusion of the Rookie Level, Jr. NBA players should be proficient at each of the following skills. Judging proficiency at this level is the responsibility of the coach.

Ball Handling

    Passing

      Shooting

        Rebounding

          Footwork & Conditioning

            Offense

              Defense

                Other