MVP Practice Plans

At the MVP Level, players will begin competing more frequently in order to apply and refine the skills they have developed. Players will also begin to specialize and fit into more specific roles and positions. Team tactics and game strategy will also be further implemented in the MVP Level.

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MVP Practice Plan 1

Cultivating Values & Developing Wellness



  • Positive Coaching Alliance advances the idea that responsibility lies at the heart of many of the life lessons that youth can learn through basketball. At the simplest level, each person on a team is responsible to all other team members for expending maximum effort, filling the roles needed for team success and upholding the team’s culture. While learning how to be responsible in a basketball sense, players also can learn how to apply those lessons in responsibility to other aspects of their lives, such as family, a school community and our society as a whole. Coaches do well to make explicit to players the connection between basketball responsibility and rest-of-your-life responsibility.

Warm Up


Fundamentals of Warming-Up

  • Warming up is an extremely important part of basketball. Players should make sure their bodies are prepared to play by getting their muscles loose and their body temperature up. Warming up can keep players healthy, lengthen playing careers, and help players do their best.

Follow the Leader Warm-Up

(1 x each)
  • All the players should spread out on the baseline.
  • Each player will lead the team in a stretch or active movement from baseline to half court or back.
  • Encourage the players to lead a stretch or movement that has not yet been done.

Key Points

This is a great way for players to develop leadership skills and gain comfort having a voice amongst their teammates.

Building Skills


Ball Handling

Cone Dribbling

(5 minutes)
  • Divide the group into even groups.
  • Place five cones from sideline to sideline in a straight line for each group.
  • The first player in each line will have a ball.
  • The player will dribble through the cones in a zig-zag motion switching hands as they change directions all the way past the last cone and then stop.
  • Once the player is half way through the cones, the next player can begin.
  • After all the players in the group have dribbled through the cones, the first player will repeat the process by going back through the cones in the opposite direction.



  • Have one or two players act as defenders and stand in place of the cones in each line. The defender will either jump in the path of the ball-handler or stay in their position. If the defender jumps in the path, the ball-handler switches hands as they change directions. If the defender stays in place, the ball-handler continues on their path to the next cone.


  • Make this a relay race. The first team to finish wins!

Key Points

Make sure the players are staying low and controlling the dribble. The players should also be pushing off their outside foot to change directions.


Contact Dribble

(2 x 30 seconds each)
  • Have the players partner up and get 1 ball for the pair.
  • One player will dribble the basketball in a stationary stance (dribbling in the manner the coach dictates).
  • The other partner will give the dribbler contact by fouling the dribbler on the arms, shoulders, lower body etc.
  • After the allotted time, the players will change roles and repeat.

Key Points

Ensure that the partner giving contact does so in a natural way that is productive for the drill. Encourage the dribbler to play through contact and maintain control of the ball.


Pound Pass Drill

(2 x 1 minute)
  • Have the players partner up and get a ball.
  • The partners will stand at least the lane width apart.
  • The partner with the ball will start by pounding the ball and then passing it out to their partner with one hand.
  • The pass should not be underhand, it should overhand with their hand behind the ball and their fingers pointing up.
  • The partner will catch the ball with one hand and repeat the action back to their partner.
  • The players should work at an intense speed.
  • Change the types of dribbles leading into the pass to keep the drill fresh.

Slip Pass Drill

(3 x each side)
  • Place a passing line at the top of the key, a screening line on the wing, and a shooting line on the same baseline.
  • The coach will defend the screeners from the screening line.
  • As the screener goes to set the screen, the coach will either drop back and defend the screen below the play, or step up and jump out on the shooter coming off the screen.
  • The passer and screener must read how the coach defends the screen; if the coach drops back, the passer will pass to the shooter coming off the screen. If the coach steps up the screener will slip and the passer will pass the ball to the screener as they slip to the basket.
  • The passing line will rotate to the screening line, the screening line will move to the shooting line, and the shooting line will move to the passing line.
  • Utilize both sides of the court and multiple baskets to maximize reps.
  • If there aren’t enough coaches, have a player execute the coach’s role.


4 on 4 Rebounding

(1 game each team)
  • Place 4 lines on the perimeter inside the three point line and one line on the baseline for the post position.
  • Have the first player in each line become a defender and the next player step in as offense.
  • The coach will or pass the ball to make sure the defenders adjust to where the ball is and they will pass back to coach.
  • After a short period, the coach will shoot the ball.
  • The defenders will box out, or tag and pursue the ball.
  • If the offense gets the rebound they can try to score. Following the possession, the defensive team will stay on defense again and a new offensive team will come on.
  • If the defensive team gets the rebound, they will reset and a new offensive group will rotate on.
  • The defensive group must get 5 consecutive rebounds before rotating off.
  • After 5 consecutive rebounds, that group will rotate out and another group will move into the defensive/rebounding role.


BIGS: Catch it High, Keep it High

(2 x 5 reps each/each side)
  • Have the players partner up and get 1 ball per pair.
  • One player will be the shooter and one will be the rebounder/passer.
  • The shooter will stand in the paint around the block area.
  • The passer will toss the ball up high to the shooter.
  • The shooter will jump and catch the ball high with arms outstretched.
  • The player will keep the ball up high with their arms outstretched as they land.
  • As soon as the player lands, they will quickly jump back off the floor with the ball high and shoot.
  • The rebounder/passer will grab the rebound and quickly repeat the process until the shooter makes 5 shots.
  • The players will change spots and do the same process.

Key Points

Make sure the players don’t bring the ball down when they catch it. Have the rebounder hustle after the ball, and be sure to use multiple partners per basket to maximize space.

BIGS: Dribble. Bump. Balance.

(2 x 5 reps each/each side)
  • Have one player start with the ball under the backboard and the other player will stand directly behind them (between the offensive player and the basket).
  • The player with the ball will take 1 dribble, will bump the defender back, balance on 2 feet, and go up strong to finish the basket.
  • The players will repeat until the offensive player makes the allotted number of baskets.
  • The players will switch positions and do the same process.
  • Make sure to work on both sides.

Key Points

Make sure the player creates space by taking a power dribble and bumping the defender nice and strong. The player will need to be low, strong and balanced. Make sure they give themselves a good angle for the shot.


GUARDS: Same Hand, Same Foot Finishes

(2 x 5 reps each/each side)
  • Divide the players into small groups and have a group on both sides of the basket. Use multiple baskets to get more reps.
  • The first 2 players in each line will have a ball.
  • The first player will dribble to the basket and shoot the ball with their right hand if they are on the right side of the basket and the left hand if they are on the left side of the basket.
  • If shooting with the right hand, instead of jumping off the left foot, the players will jump off their right foot. The same is true for the left side, the players will jump off their left foot to shoot with their left hand.
  • Execute this for the allotted number of reps and change sides.

Key Points

Help the players begin to feel natural with this style of finishing which may feel awkward for them at first.

GUARDS: Pick & Roll Situational Shooting

(5 reps each/each side)
  • Have all the players start with a ball inside of half court on one side of the court or the other.
  • The players will dribble in and call-up/indicate that they want a ball screen (use a chair or a cone to act as a screener).
  • The player will set up the screen and come off the screen assuming that the player that would be guarding them comes over the top off the screen but gets hit by the screen.
  • The coach will act the defender of the screener and either hedge the screen, drop back, or play between the two.
  • The offensive player will read the coach’s defense and take the appropriate shot.

Key Points

Work on coming off a pick and roll and reading the post defender.

Team Concepts


3 on 0, 2 on 1

(6 minutes)
  • Have the players start in 3 lines on the baseline with 2 balls in the middle line.
  • The first 3 players in line will run down the court passing the ball with the two side lines out wide.
  • The player in the middle will pass to one side, receive a pass back, pass to the other side, receive a pass back, then pass to the first side.
  • On this pass the player will take a layup.
  • The player who laid the ball in will sprint back to the other end of the court as a defender versus the other 2 players coming back.
  • The player in the middle is responsible for putting both feet in the paint and then becoming an offensive player going the other way.
  • The player on the wing that did not shoot the lay-up is responsible for getting the rebound and then becomes offense going the other way 2 on 1.
  • After 1 shot in the 2 on 1, they next group of 3 from the baseline will begin.

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1 on 1 – 3 Stops

(1 x each)
  • Start with a player on each wing and a player at the top.
  • There will be a player in the paint who will start as defense.
  • Utilize other court space or baskets as needed or have additional players join the end of the line on the wing.
  • The defensive player has to get 3 defensive 1 on 1 stops.
  • They will first defend the player on the wing until they get a stop, then move to the top until they get a stop and then finish with the opposite wing before being done.
  • After the player gets their third stop, the players will rotate so that the defender goes to the back of the line on the wing, the player at the front of that line will move to the top, the player at the top will move to the opposite wing, and the player from that wing will move to defense.

3 on 3 from Help the Helper

(6 minutes)
  • Divide the players into teams of 3.
  • Utilize both baskets if there are four or more teams.
  • The game must start with a baseline drive, a help player stopping the ball and the 3rd player “helping the helper”.
  • The offensive player must kick the ball out and then the game is live and the players can move and play as they choose.
  • Every change of possession, the ball must get back to the top of the key in order to start the next possession.
  • If the offense scores, they get the ball back.
  • Keep the game moving quickly but not requiring a “check,” and allowing players to get to the top of the key and start their possession.

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3 on 3 Continuous

(games to 5 makes)
  • Divide the players into teams of 3 and have 1 team start at half court with the ball.
  • Have to other teams start at each side of the court to start as defense on both ends.
  • If there are extra teams, have them line up on the baseline on one end.
  • The offensive team will go to score at a basket.
  • If they score, they will get a point, and get ball back to go the other way towards the other basket.
  • If there is a team waiting on the baseline, they will take the place of the defensive team that got scored on, if there is not team on the baseline, the defensive team will remain there.
  • The offensive team will do the same thing at the other end of the court and if they score or don’t score dictates which team gets the ball to go the other direction.
  • Anytime a defensive team gets a stop, they get the ball and go in the other direction.
  • This version of the game will require the players to start every possession with a pass from the top to the wing and a screen away to start the possession.

5 on 5

(games to 7)
  • Divide the players into teams (have substitutes if needed).
  • Play 5 on 5 until a team makes 3 shots.
  • Encourage the players to cut, move the ball and work on all the basketball concepts they have learned.

Compliment Session


Gather the players together. Players group with 1-2 players next to them and share answers to the prompted questions.

  • Ask players to share something they did well, what enjoyed about today’s practice or something positive about another player’s actions.
  • Have players switch groups and ask some players to share their groups answers. Coach can build onto the player responses.

Key Points

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

Skills Checklist

At the conclusion of the MVP 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