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 3

Cultivating Values & Developing Wellness

5%
5%

Confidence

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  • Have players define confidence and explain how to build confidence.
  • Believe in yourself. You can do it! The coaches and your parents believe in you.
  • The Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) reminds us that coaches can always instill confidence in their players by encouraging them and letting them know you believe in them, but also through non-verbal cues.
  • Confidence also comes from hard work. If players know they have put all they can into preparing, they will feel much more confident when it’s time to play the game. Even in practice, going as hard as they can on every drill and in every scrimmage lets them feel their improvement and have a sense that they are earning their success. The more they see hard work paying off – even in small advances – the more confidence they gain and thus the more willing they are to put in even more toward the next level of advancement.

Warm Up

5%
5%

Running Stop Drill

(1 x 3 minutes)
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  • Players will start on the baseline without a ball.
  • The coach will say “Go!” and the players will start running around the gym in any direction.
  • The coach will then say either “2 Feet!” “Left Foot!” or “Right Foot!” to indicate how the players should stop.
  • The players will then stop in the manner in which coach has commanded and hold that position.
  • Stopping should be very quick and work on balance.
  • Repeat the process for 3 minutes.

Building Skills

70%
70%

Ball Handling

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.

Single Leg Rolls

(2 x 30 seconds each leg)
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  • All players need a basketball (or share) and should stand on the sideline.
  • Players should be in a stance with their legs wide and their chest up.
  • The players will then put the ball on the floor and roll it around one leg for 15 seconds and then change directions for 15 seconds.
  • The players will then do the same activity on the other leg which completes 1 set.
  • Players should maintain contact between their hand and the ball during the entire roll.

Key Points

Get comfortable with the ball, warm-up the fingers and hands, develop the ability to control the ball. Be sure to have the players keep their chest and eyes up. Encourage the players to go as fast as possible and not worry about losing the ball.

Double Leg Rolls

(2 x 30 seconds)
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  • All players need a basketball (or share) and should stand on the sideline.
  • Players should keep their feet together and bend their knees while they put the ball on the floor.
  • The players will roll the ball around both feet by keeping one hand always in contact with the ball for 15 seconds.
  • The players will then change directions for 15 seconds.

Key Points

Get comfortable with the ball, warm-up the fingers and hands, develop the ability to control the ball. Be sure to have the players keep their eyes up. Encourage the players to go as fast as possible and not worry about losing the ball.

Stationary Crossover Low, Middle, High

(3 x 20 seconds each)
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  • All players need a basketball (or share) and should stand on the sideline.
  • Players should bend their knees and begin dribbling back and forth swinging the ball from right to left low and quick below the knees.
  • After 20 seconds, the player will dribble at knee level and continue for another 20 seconds.
  • Last, the player will dribble the ball higher swinging it from from side to side for 20 more seconds.

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 back and forth from side to side with quick dribbles to improve coordination and ball control.

Passing

Catch With Coach Drill

(2 x 1 minute)
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  • All players need a basketball and should line up on the sideline.
  • All players will dribble their ball in one place.
  • The coach will approach each player and ask for a pass by showing their hands and looking at the player.
  • The player must see the coach and make a good chest pass.
  • The coach will pass the ball back to the player.
  • The player will then continue to dribble the ball as the coach moves on to the next player.
  • The coach will continue through all of the players.
  • After completing 1 minute with the chest pass, the players will execute a bounce pass.

Key Points

Ensure that the players make eye contact before passing and show their hands as a target before catching. With a bounce pass, the pass will need to bounce more than halfway to the teammate. Encourage the players to make good quick sharp passes, communicate loudly by calling names, and work on their ball handling.

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

Perfect Shot No Basket Drill

(3 x 8 attempts)
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  • All players need a basketball (or share) and should stand on the sideline.
  • Remind them of the perfect shooting form; knees bent, elbow under the ball and shoot up and follow through.
  • Now, on the coach’s command, have the players do this by shooting the ball up in the air.
  • To make a perfect shot to self, the player must hold up their follow through from where they finished their shot and not move their hand.
  • The ball must go up in the air then bounce on the floor just in front of the player and bounce up and hit their shooting hand follow through without them moving it!

Key Points

Make sure the players are focused on everything being perfect and don’t allow them to move their hand after they follow through. Good rotation will help the ball bounce back up to the player’s hand.

1.2.3. Shooting (at basket)

(1 x 3 minutes)
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  • All players need a basketball or share and will start in the paint facing the coach standing under the basket.
  • One at a time, the players will follow the coach’s command of “1. 2. 3. Shoot” and shoot the ball to the basket executing the following actions according to each number:
  1. Bend down into the “leap jump” position; the basketball will be in front with the players dominant hand in the middle of the ball, and other hand on the side of the ball.
  2. Without moving from the “leap jump” position, players will lift the ball slightly over their dominant hand shoulder with the elbow under the ball and forming a 90 degree angle.
  3. The players will explode upwards using their legs while simultaneously extending their arms to shoot the ball toward the coach. The players should follow through by flicking their wrist and hold that hand up while landing on balance. The coach will pass the ball back to the player and begin the process with the next player.

Key Points

Ensure that you focus on each player. It is important that the players move in one fluid motion while also working on their mechanics. If there are more than 8-10 players per coach, divide the players into smaller groups. Encourage the players not shooting to be prepared and stay on the 3-point line but allow them to independently work on their ball-handling as well.

Team Concepts

10%
10%

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

10%
10%

Coach Says

(1-2 games)
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  • Coach says is similar to Simon says.
  • The objective is to do everything the coach instructs, but the coach must first say “Coach Says” before every request.
  • If the player does the action that a coach says without the coach first saying “Coach Says,” they player is out.
  • When the coach states “Coach says defense!” the players will slap the ground and yell “Defense!” as they assume the defensive stance.
  • When the coach states “Coach says this way” and points in a direction, all players will quickly hop and twist there body to face that direction and immediately hop back facing the coach.
  • When coach states “Coach says foot fire!” the players will quickly tap their feet against the floor as fast as they can while yelling.
  • When the coach states “Coach says up!” the players will jump as high as they can to grab an imaginary ball with their arms and yell “Rebound!”
  • Coaches can add other elements but remember this is a listening game and the player is out if the player does something that the coach didn’t preface with “Coach Says”.
  • The game finishes when there is just one player remaining.

Key Points

If the players do a great job listening be creative with what you ask them to do in an effort to trick the players.

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