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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Rookie Practice Plan 4

Cultivating Values & Developing Wellness

5%
5%

Sportsmanship

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  • Have players talk about Sportsmanship and provide examples of good and bad sportsmanship.
  • Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) refers to sportsmanship as Honoring the Game. Basketball is bigger than us all. To keep the game as great as it is, all who play it must honor it. And, with our game kept great, the game can continue to give back to all who play.

Warm Up

5%
5%

Skip Tag

(1 game)
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  • Designate boundaries (such as staying inside of half court) and have all players stand inside that area.
  • One player or the coach will be designated as “it”.
  • All players, including the person who is “it,” will skip around the court. Skipping is the only movement players are allowed to do.
  • When a player is tagged, the game is put on pause so that all players can now see that the new player is now also “it” in helping the original person who is “it” in tagging others.

Key Points

Make sure players do not run and only skip.

Building Skills

70%
70%

Ball Handling

Stationary Figure 8 Rolls

(1 x 15 seconds each direction)
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  • All players need a basketball (or share) and should stand on the baseline.
  • 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 through their legs in a figure 8 motion.
  • Once the players do that for 15 seconds, they should change directions and continue.

Key Points

Make sure the players bend their knees and keep their eyes and chest up while performing the drill quickly.

Moving Side to Side Rolls

(1 x half court and back)
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  • All players need a basketball (or share) and should stand on the baseline.
  • 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 back and forth from left to right hand while walking forward to half court.
  • Once the players get to half court, they will do the same thing back to the baseline while walking backwards.

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.

Walk to Jog Dribble Drill

(2 x down and back)
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  • All players need a basketball (or share) and should stand on the baseline.
  • The players will walk slowly in a low stance while dribbling the ball to half court.
  • Once the players reach half court, they will transition into a jogging dribble to the other baseline.
  • The players will change hands and do the same thing coming back.

Key Points

This is a good opportunity for the players to work on dribbling with movement in a controlled drill. There is no rush and the players should focus on controlling the ball with their eyes up.

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.

Footwork and Conditioning

Fundamentals of Pivoting

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  • Teach the players that a pivot requires the player to have one pivot foot that stays on the ground at all times. The other foot can move in any direction and as far as wanted but the pivot foot can never change in the same sequence or it is a travel.

Forward Pivot Basic

(4 x each foot)
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  • Have the players hold a ball and stand in a good stance on the baseline.
  • Teach them to pivot by keeping their left foot on the floor and pivot around using forward quarter steps on your command “Pivot!”
  • After 4 pivots they should be facing forward again.
  • Have them relax and then repeat the drill using the other foot as their pivot foot.

Key Points

Help the players understand the basics of pivoting while gaining comfort, confidence, and balance while pivoting. Ensure players stay in a good stance while pivoting.

Shooting

Fundamentals of Lay-Ups

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  • A lay-up is a shot taken close to the basket, generally off the backboard. There are a variety of ways to shoot lay-ups and they should be worked on every day by players of all ages and skill level.

Lay-Up High Five Drill

(3 minutes each side)
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  • All players should be in one line with no ball as the coach demonstrates how to take one step with their right foot, a second step and jump off their left foot and extend their right hand to simulate a right handed lay-up.
  • The coach will stand with his/her hand in the air as each player comes by and does this 1, 2 step while saying “1, 2” and gives the coach a high five with their right hand.
  • The line should move quick and if there is another coach, utilize 2 or more lines.
  • Players should repeat this going left with the opposite footwork (jumping off the right) and opposite hand (left) giving the high five.

jrnba_rookie_pp4_layuphighfivedrill_diagram1of2 jrnba_rookie_pp4_layuphighfivedrill_diagram2of2

Key Points

Emphasize the correct hand and foot until the movement becomes natural for the players.

diagram

Lay-Up Skips Drill

(2 x down and back)
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  • All players should line up on the baseline and follow the coaches command of “1, 2 jump.”
  • The coach should designate which foot to step with first.
  • As the players jump off of a foot, they should simultaneously extend the opposite hand up (jump off the left, extend the right hand).
  • All players should move together on coaches command.
  • After going down the court one way, come back the opposite and repeat.

Key Points

Don’t let players move ahead of the coach’s command. Emphasize the correct hand and foot until the movement becomes natural for the players.

diagram

1-2 Step Lay-Ups

(3 x 1 minute each)
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  • All players should have a partner and 1 ball per group.
  • There can be at least 3 partner groups per basket (side, middle, side).
  • One player will line up 3 to 6 feet away from the basket and the other partner will stand just behind the basket.
  • When coach says “1. 2.” The player will take 1-2 steps and perform a lay-up shooting for the square on the backboard.
  • The players will not dribble the ball.
  • The partner will grab the rebound and give it back to the shooter to repeat.
  • That player will work for 1-minute before switching with the partner.

Key Points

Emphasize the correct hand and foot until the movement becomes natural for the players.

Team Concepts

10%
10%

Cutting Fundamental Skill

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A cut is moving without the ball to get open. There are many types of cuts that can help a player get open, such as a back-cut, v-cut, out-cut and more.

Pass & Cut Drill

(2-3 minutes each way)
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  • Have the players line up at the top of the key with a few balls at the front of the line, and have another line on the wing.
  • Have the players pass the ball to the line on the wing and then cut by running to the basket.
  • The player on the wing will catch the ball and pass it back to the cutting player who will complete a lay-up, rebound and then switch lines.

jrnba_rookie_pp4_passandcutdrill_diagram1of3 jrnba_rookie_pp4_passandcutdrill_diagram2of3 jrnba_rookie_pp4_passandcutdrill_diagram3of3

diagram

Key Points

Emphasize a good pass and a quick cut looking for the ball.

Defensive Stance

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The defensive stance is the position used by defenders in which they have their knees bent, feet a little more than shoulder width apart with their toes and knees facing forward, their eyes up and their hands outstretched and active. From this position they can easily move in any direction to prevent the offensive player from scoring.

Guarding Another Player

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Guarding another player, sometimes referred to as “man to man defense,” means that the player is responsible for guarding a specific player, knowing where they are on the court, and staying between them and the basket. Though guarding a player, the defensive player must always see the ball and be able to help their teammate if needed.

Side Lateral Push Drill

(3 x 15 seconds)
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  • Have the players line up on the lane line and face the coach.
  • When the coach says “go,” the players should push off their back foot to slide to the other side of the lane where they will plant and push back.
  • The players will continue this process for 15 seconds.

jrnba_rookie_pp4_sidelateralpushdrill_diagram1of2 jrnba_rookie_pp4_sidelateralpushdrill_diagram2of2

diagram

Key Points

Make sure the players stay in a good stance with their chest and eyes up. Have them work on changing directions quickly and pushing off their back foot.

Competing

10%
10%

1 on 1 Numbers Game

(games to 5)
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  • Assign 2 players to each number and have everybody stand on the baseline.
  • Throw the ball on the court and call out a number.
  • The 2 players with that number will go for the ball and whoever gets the ball will be on offense and the other on defense for 1 possession and 1 shot of 1 on 1.
  • Evenly mix up the numbers you call and the game is over when any player gets to 5 points playing by 1’s.

Key Points

Encourage the players to hustle to the ball and make efficient offensive moves to score. Also encourage the defensive player to move their feet and play active defense.

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