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 2

Cultivating Values & Developing Wellness

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Active Lifestyle

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  • Have players volunteer to demonstrate the most basic examples of being active and not being active.
  • Have players define being active in life.
  • Explain why they should try new sports and live actively.
  • The Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) explains that one of the toughest issues facing youth sports today is pressure on players and their parents to have children specialize in a single sport before they are ready and to play that sport year-round. Ironically, while many youth programs pursue early specialization, telling parents it is necessary so that their children do not fall behind in chasing any scholarship opportunities, most coaches who do the actual recruiting prefer multi-sport athletes. Athletes who play multiple sports tend to be more well-rounded as players and people due to their variety of experiences and are less susceptible to overuse injuries.

Warm Up

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Run to That Line

(1 x 5 lines)
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  • Walk around the court with the players and identify spaces on the court (half court, 3-point line, sideline, and more).
  • Have the players repeat the names of each area you identify.
  • Choose from the movements below to provide the players with a movement to get to any space you choose to identify.
  • Announce both the way to get to the line or area and the line or area.
  • Movements to choose from: Forward March, Backward March, Lateral March, Forward Skip, Backward Skip, Lateral Skip, High Knees, Backward Run, Quick Feet, Side Push.
  • Example: “Everybody go with High Knees to the baseline!”

Key Points

Teach the players about the court while also teaching them proper execution of fundamental movement skills.

Forward/Backward/Lateral March

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  • These marches are fundamental movements that teach the players about proper running mechanics. Adding backward and lateral marches is essential for neurological variation in order to have success in subsequent movements.
  • Players will march by walking and pulling their knees up, toes up, and arm up at a 90 degree angle.

High Knees

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  • High knees replicates acceleration techniques by syncing the arm and leg actions. Be sure to cue arm action, encourage an elbow angle of approximately 90 degrees and promote movement at the shoulder. Proper leg action is demonstrated by an active drive of the knee upward while targeting the heel to the top of the hamstring and keeping the foot dorsiflexed (toes up). “Heel to hamstring” is an important cue in order to promote the proper shin angle. The players will run and quickly alternate bringing their knees high towards their chest.

Quick Feet

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  • Players should take numerous tiny, quick, short choppy steps as they move in a direction instructed. The activity gets the players’ bodies moving and their foot muscles firing while working their fast twitch movement.

Side Push

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  • Players should be in a slight athletic stance and move laterally by pushing off their back foot. The player should push off their left foot to move right and push off of their right foot to move left. It is important to emphasize pushing rather than stepping and pulling. This movement works hips, feet and balance.

Building Skills

70%
70%

Ball Handling

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 Part 2

(1 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 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.

Dribbling Fundamental Skill

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  • Dribble/Dribbling – Bouncing the ball to the floor with one hand. A player who is dribbling cannot use 2 hands at the same time and cannot put any part of their hand under the ball. Both result in a violation.
  • Dribble the ball by using the fingertips of one hand to bounce the ball off the floor repeatedly. Dribbling is utilized to move around the court and move past defenders.
  • It is important to teach the players to use their fingertips, develop both hands equally and work on dribbling in their free time as well.

Stationary Low Dribble

(2 x 30 seconds each hand)
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  • All players need a basketball (or share) and should stand on the sideline.
  • The players will start by dribbling the basketball with the right hand low in a good stance with their eyes up and using their left arm up to protect the ball.
  • The players will do this for the allotted time and then switch to their left hand and complete the same process.

Key Points

Keep the players in a good stance with their chest and eyes up. Remind them to use their fingertips and execute low, quick dribbles to improve coordination and ball control.

Stationary Middle Dribble

(2 x 30 seconds each hand)
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  • All players need a basketball (or share) and should stand on the sideline.
  • The players will start by dribbling the basketball with the right hand at knee level in a good stance with their eyes up while using their left arm up to protect the ball.
  • The players will do this for the allotted time and then switch to their left hand and complete the same process.

Key Points

Keep the players in a good stance with their chest and eyes up. Remind them to use their fingertips and push the ball down with firm, quick dribbles to improve coordination and ball control. Teach the players to pound the ball with each dribble.

Up or Down Game

(2 games of 4 minutes each)
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  • Divide the players into 2 teams – Team “Up” and Team “Down.”
  • Spread cones around the gym facing up and the same number of cones around the gym facing down.
  • All players will have a ball and the players on the “Up” team will dribble around the gym and try to put all the cones standing up.
  • The players on the “Down” team will dribble around the gym trying to put all of the cones facing down.
  • Players must continually move around and cannot guard the cones.
  • Players can only use their hands to adjust a cone.
  • Players will adjust as many cones as possible in four minutes.
  • After the four minutes, count how many cones are up and how many are down to determine the winning team.

Key Points

Make sure the players continue to move around and do not guard the cones. Try to use at least as many cones as the total number of players if not more.

Passing

Stationary Partner Pass: Bounce & Chest

(2 x 2 min. each)
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  • Have players partner up, get a basketball and line up about 10 feet apart.
  • Based on the fundamental passing skills and wall passing previously taught, have the players now step and pass to their partner.
  • The 2 partners will make bounce passes to each other for 2 sets of 60 seconds and then do the same thing with chest passes.

Key Points

Ensure that the players make eye contact before passing and the receiver shows their hands as a target. With a bounce pass, the pass will need to bounce more than half way to the teammate. The players should take a big step towards their partner, extend their elbows and snap their down to make a good pass.

Offense

Fundamentals of the Triple Threat

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  • Triple threat is the ideal athletic stance for players to stand in when they have the ball.
  • It is referred to as the triple threat position because the players are a threat to 1. Shoot, 2. Pass, 3. Dribble.
  • The triple threat stance requires players to bend their knees with their feet a little wider than shoulder width apart. The players will hold the ball and bend their elbows so they are strong and place the ball slightly towards their dominant hand side.

1.2.3. Triple Threat

(2 x 1 minute)
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  • Have the players line up on the baseline with a ball.
  • The players should stand straight up and hold the ball.
  • After the coach says “1.2.3.” all of the players and the coach say “Triple Threat!” as they drop down into a good triple threat stance.
  • Have the players stand up in a relaxed position before repeating the drill.

Key Points

Make sure the players are in a good stance and understand the reason why.

Footwork and Conditioning

Explosion Leaps

(2 x sideline to sideline)
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  • All players will start on the sideline in a low squatting position with their knees bent, butt down, and hands on the floor in front of them.
  • On the coach’s command, the players will then explode by jumping up and out as high and as far as they can.
  • The players will land balanced on two feet and repeat this movement until they reach the opposite sideline.

Key Points

Emphasize leaping as high and as far as possible while controlling their body. This exercise will help players work on coordination, jumping and landing, as well as endurance.

Team Concepts

10%
10%

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

diagram

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.

Competing

10%
10%

Red Light

(1-2 games)
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  • All players will start on the baseline with a basketball and the coach will stand at the opposite baseline with his back to the players.
  • When the coach says “Green light,” the players will dribble and jog/run toward the other baseline while dribbling.
  • When the coach says “Yellow light,” the players will walk while dribbling.
  • When the coach says “Orange light,” the players must walk backwards while dribbling.
  • When the coach says “Red light,” the players must quickly come to a jump stop and stay in the triple threat stance. At the same time, the coach will turn around and try to catch the still moving.
  • When the coach says “Red light,” and turns around, if the coach sees a player still dribbling or moving, the player must return to the baseline and start over.

Key Points

Make this a fun game for the players to work on their ball handling. Ensure that the players are dribbling and taking controlled dribbles as they move.

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