Starter Practice Plans

Welcome to the Starter Level practice plans. At the Starter Level, the fundamental skills will be honed and expanded upon while the players develop an understanding of what it means to be a part of a team.

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Starter Practice Plan 9

Cultivating Values & Developing Wellness

5%
5%

Sportsmanship

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  • One way to show sportsmanship instead of just saying “good game” is to give each opposing player and coach a firm handshake, eye contact and a sincere “thanks for the game” or “I enjoyed competing with you.” If you are serious about your sportsmanship, you may even pay a specific compliment, for example, if they shot well or played clean, hard defense. Good sportsmanship does not mean you don’t mind losing; it means you are willing to win – or lose – with honor.

Warm Up

5%
5%

Dynamic Warm-Up Part 2

(1x each from baseline to half court or vice versa)
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  • Walking Quad Stretch
  • Walking TFL Stretch
  • Knee Hugs
  • 4 Point Slow & Low
  • Down Out Leg Walk
  • Jog & Drop
  • Light Quick 3
  • Long Straight Leg Run

Building Skills

60%
60%

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 20 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.

3-3-3 Dribble Drill

(2 x 20 seconds)
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  • All players need a basketball (or share) and should stand on the sideline.
  • The players will start in a good stance with their knees bent and eyes up and take 3 dribbles with their right hand.
  • Next the players will complete 3 crossover dribbles.
  • Then the players will execute 3 dribbles with their left hand.
  • The players will go back to 3 crossover dribbles and then 3 right handed dribbles and continue the process for the allotted amount of time.

Key Points

This drill will work on low controlled dribbles with both hands as well as the crossover.

Stationary In & Out Drill

(1 minute each way)
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  • Have the players start with a ball and find a space on the court.
  • The players will take 1 to 2 dribbles to prepare for the move and will then make an in and out dribble move and push forward for 1 step.
  • The players will then back up to their original spot and repeat the process for the allotted amount of time.

Offense

Pass & Cut Drill

(90 seconds 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

Key Points

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

diagram

Passing

Open & Decide Drill

(3 minutes)
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  • Have the players start in a line at the free throw line with the first player having a ball in a triple threat stance with their eyes closed.
  • Have another 2 players, 1 standing on each block and a coach or 4th player guarding one of those players.
  • The player with the ball will open their eyes on the whistle and make a quick decision to pass to the open player who will then shoot a lay-up while the defender will try to contest the shot.
  • The passer will now take the place of the shooter. The shooter will take the place of the defender and the defender will go to the back of the line.
  • Keep a tally of how many made baskets the team scores in 3 minutes so you can compete against this number in later practices.

Key Points

Make sure the defender clearly guards one player and does not leave that player until the pass is made! Have the player make a quick decision and a good pass to their teammate. Next, make sure the receiver of the pass works on finishing the shots with a defender contesting. Since the team is trying to make the most shots possible, ensure that the defense contests hard.

Shooting

3-Line Layups Add Variations

(1 x 90 seconds each line)
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  • Group the players into three lines facing the basket around the 3-point line (1 line on each wing and 1 line at the top of the key).
  • The first person in each line should have a ball and dribble in for a lay-up.
  • After the lay-up, the player will get their own rebound, pass it to the next person in line and go to the back of the same line.
  • The players in each line will have different finishes (right hand and left hand from the wing and a lay-up with no backboard in the middle).
  • Mix in different finishes such as the euro step. After 90 seconds the players will rotate lines.

Key Points

Note that there will be multiple players shooting at the same time. Remind the players that in a game there will be other players close to them as the try to score and it’s ok. Work on finishing lay-up in a variety of ways.

Lunge Shooting Drill

(1 minute each way)
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  • Have 5 players line up along the sideline facing the court with the basket to their left.
  • Have all players lunge with their left leg forward toward the paint and the ball on their right side.
  • Once they hold that position for 2-3 seconds the first player should stay low, and aggressively bring their right foot around so they are balanced and square to the baseline in a ready to shoot fashion.
  • The player will then turn and face the middle of the court again and repeat this motion until they reach the middle of the paint. At that point, the player will turn and actually shoot the ball.
  • Each player will start after the player in front of them has provided enough available space.
  • Each player will get their rebound and give the ball to the next player who will do the same.
  • The goals is to make as many shots as possible in 3 minutes and then do the same thing in the opposite direction, leading with the opposite foot.

Key Points

This player will help the players have a good solid base and work on turning, squaring up and having good balance in their shot. Work on landing evenly on both feet and holding the follow through to finish.

Loop Shooting Drill

(1 x 4 minutes)
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  • The players will start in two lines facing the court where the lane line meets the sideline.
  • Each line will have two balls.
  • There will be one player who starts on the court on the block.
  • The player with the ball in front of the player on the court will pass them the ball, the player will shoot and get their rebound.
  • After rebounding, the player will give the ball to the same line they got it from and then go to the back of that line.
  • After the player passes, they will loop around the outside of the shooter to the other side of the lane and catch the ball from that line.
  • The player will shoot, get the rebound, give the ball to the line they got it from and go to the back of that line.
  • The player who made that pass will continue the process of looping behind, shooting, and going to the other line.
  • Have the players shoot from different distances from the basket when you dictate.

jrnba_starter_pp4_loopshootingdrill_diagram1of4 jrnba_starter_pp4_loopshootingdrill_diagram2of4 jrnba_starter_pp4_loopshootingdrill_diagram3of4 jrnba_starter_pp4_loopshootingdrill_diagram4of4

Key Points

Make sure the players go around the outside of the shooter. Also make sure the players get their rebounds quickly and give it to the line they received the pass from.

diagram

Rebounding

Toss & Get It Drill

(2 minutes each side)
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  • Have the players in a line in the paint.
  • Throw the ball up off the backboard and have the first player in line grab the rebound chin it and toss it back to you and go to the end of the line.
  • Repeat this process and switch sides after two minutes.

Key Points

Work on seeing the ball come off the backboard, timing it and going to get the rebound, and chinning the ball nice and strong.

Footwork and Conditioning

4 Corner Passing Drill

(2 minutes each way)
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  • Have the players get into 4 balanced lines at both sidelines and half court and bout sidelines and baseline.
  • The first person in each line has a ball.
  • The players with the ball will all dribble to the middle of the floor where they will jump stop together keep a right pivot foot and pivot their left foot around and pass to the next line to their right and follow their pass to the back of that line.
  • The new players with the ball will continue doing the same.

jrnba_starter_pp9_4cornerpassingdrill_diagram1of2 jrnba_starter_pp9_4cornerpassingdrill_diagram2of2

Key Points

Work on ball-handling, good jump stops, good pivots and good passes. Make sure the players call out their teammates names as they pass and receive from one another.

diagram

Team Concepts

15%
15%

The Pass is Faster Drill

(2 x down and back each player)
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  • Have players divided into groups of 3 and designate each player as 1, 2 or 3.
  • Player 1 should start on the baseline with a ball. Player 2 should stand across from player 1 at the free throw line without a ball. Player 3 should start on the baseline next to player 1 with a ball.
  • When the coach says “go,” player 1 will pass the ball to player 2. At the same time, player 3 will dribble and jump stop right next to player 2.
  • Repeat this action with the pass back from player 2 to player 1 while player 3 dribbles the same distance and jump stops next to player 1. Repeat and change positions.

jrnba_starter_pp1_passisfasterdrill_diagram1of2 jrnba_starter_pp1_passisfasterdrill_diagram2of2

diagram

Key Points

This drill works on passing, receiving, dribbling and jump stops. Continually emphasize that the pass moves faster than the ball.

Half Court Turn & Trace Drill

(2 minutes)
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  • Have 4 lines at half court and 4 lines on the baseline lined up with each other and the first player in the lines on the baseline with a ball.
  • The players with the ball will make a long pass to the first player in line at half court and will run fast to close out on the player.
  • After the close out, the player with the ball will dribble in either direction.
  • The player on defense will work hard to turn the dribbler and make them change directions.
  • Once the player has changed directions and taken a few more dribbles they will jump stop and move the ball around strongly while the defensive player traces the ball.
  • The player with the ball will pass to the line on the baseline and go to the back of that line and the defensive player will go to the back of the line at half court and the drill will repeat.

Competing

15%
15%

2 on 2 Drive and Kick

(games to 3)
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  • Players will get with partners for 2 on 2 and line up on the baseline.
  • 1 player will start at the top of the key with the ball and one player on the wing.
  • The defensive player guarding the ball will allow the player to have a slight advantage driving the ball to the basket on the side of the teammate.
  • The player will drive and kick the ball out and the 2 on 2 game will start for 1 shot.
  • The defensive team becomes offense and the offensive team goes to the back of the line on the baseline. A new team of two will step on for defense.

Key Points

Encourage the players to play out of a drive and kick situation.

3 on 3 Numbers Game

(games to 5)
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  • Assign all players to a number in groups of 3 and have everybody stand on the baseline. The 3 players with the same number are teammates and will be playing together.
  • Throw the ball on the court and call out 2 numbers.
  • The 3 players with those numbers will go for the ball and whoever gets the ball will be on offense and the other 3 on defense for 1 possession and 1 shot of 3 on 3.
  • Evenly mix up the numbers you call and the game is over when any team gets to 5 points playing by 1’s.
  • There is a 3 dribble maximum each time a player gets the ball.
  • No screens can be set but cutting is allowed and encouraged.

Key Points

Encourage the players to hustle to the ball and make good team plays to score. Also encourage the defensive team to move their feet, play active defense and contest all shots.

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 Starter 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

        Footwork & Conditioning

          Rebounding

            Offense

              Defense

                Other