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
  • Download a one-page practice plan to fit your clipboard
  • Review the interactive plan below complete with videos


Expands the details for that drill
Collapses the details for that drill
Indicates there is a video
Indicates there is a diagram
PDF Practice Plan One-Pager: Preview/Download
PDF Practice Plan Full Instructions: Preview/Download
Rookie Practice Plan 10

Cultivating Values & Developing Wellness


Respect: Opponents

  • Discuss how to respect your opponents.
  • Another important component of basketball is respecting your opponents. After all, without opponents, we wouldn’t have a game. Jr. NBA partner Positive Coaching Alliance uses the phrase “fierce but friendly” to describe the best type of competition. A player may hit the deck trying for a loose ball or rebound, and it’s OK for everyone to play to the whistle, but then it’s also fine to help that opponent up off the floor.

Warm Up


The Escape Game

(3 times each partner)
  • Have the players partner up and designate a partner “1” and a partner “2” for each pair.
  • All 1’s will go to the center of the gym, face the center, and cover their eyes.
  • Have all 2’s start next to their partner 1.
  • At the coach’s command “Move with..”, partner 2’s will move away from 1’s by moving with the movement the coach chooses from the selection below.
  • On the command, “Find your partners!” partner 1’s open their eyes, move as their partner was commanded, and locate and gently tag their partner.
  • Once tagged both partners must go back to the center of the court, where they will switch roles and repeat.

Movement Options: Hopping on 1 foot, hopping on 2 feet, skipping, lateral slide, running, running sideways, running backwards.

Key Points

This is a great game to help the players actively warm-up. Players should only run if commanded to run. Make sure that both partners use the movement that coach commands.

Building Skills


Ball Handling

Low, Middle, High Dribble

(2 x 20 seconds each level & each hand)
  • 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 to protect the ball.
  • The players will do this for 20 seconds and then switch to their left hand and complete the same process.
  • Next the player will move back to their right hand and dribble at the middle level for 20 seconds and then switch hands.
  • Last, the players will dribble the ball high, around shoulder level for 20 seconds each hand.
  • Throughout this drill, the coach will hold up a variety of numbers of fingers. The players must see the fingers and call out the number.

Key Points

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

Walking Dribble Right/Left/Crossover

(2 x down & back each)
  • All players need a basketball (or share) and should stand on the sideline.
  • Have the players now start in a low good stance and walk and dribble forward to the other sideline.
  • Once the players reach the other sideline they will then walk backwards using the same dribble all the way back.

Key Points

Keep the players in a good stance with their chest and eyes up. Remind them to use their fingertips and try to perfect their dribbling mechanics while walking.

Cone Dribbling

(3 x down and back)
  • 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.


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.


Capture the Cones Game

(2 x 4 minutes)
  • Divide the players into four teams and assign them a corner.
  • Each teams’ goal is to collect cones from other teams’ corners and place them in their own corner.
  • Players are not allowed to protect their team’s corner.
  • Coaches can tag players which means the player must return the cone they have from where they took it from.
  • The game will end after 4 minutes and the team with the most cones wins.
  • Make sure players dribble at all times and encourage them to go for the cones diagonal from them.

Footwork and Conditioning

Cone Jump & Pass Drill

(1 x 3 minutes)
  • Place 3 cones in a line close to a wall (about 8 feet away).
  • Place a basketball on top of (or next to) the cone closest to the wall.
  • Based on number of players, provide this setup again.
  • Players will jump over the first two cones and land in front of the 3rd cone with a basketball on it.
  • The player will then pick up the basketball and pass the ball at an imaginary target on the wall.
  • They player will catch the ball when it bounces back and put the ball back on the cone and go to the back of the line.
  • The next player will repeat the process and the group will continue by moving quickly.

Key Points

Make sure the players are balanced and jump quickly. Emphasize having the players hitting a target on the wall!

Water or Land

(3 x 15 seconds)
  • The players will find a line on the court and all stand next to it.
  • The coach will identify 1 side of the line as land, and the other side of the line as water.
  • The coach will indicate whether to use two feet or one foot (right or left) and will indicate if the player will jump: back and forth, side to side or 4 corners.
  • For 15 seconds the coach will say “land” or “water” and the players will jump to that spot.
  • The players will rest for 15 seconds and do the same

Key Points

This drill forces the players to focus, balance and react quick.


1-Step Form Drill

(1 x 2 minutes)
  • The players will line up in 2 lines, one on each side of the lane with both lines facing each other.
  • The first player in line will alternate pushing off the foot closest to half court trying to move as far across the lane as possible.
  • The players will land on the leg closest to the basket and quickly swing their outside leg around to put them in a nice shooting stance with there arms simulating holding a ball.
  • The player will then go to the opposite line and the player from the opposite line will do the same.
  • This process will continually repeat for a minute.
  • After a minute, the players will do the same push and square up but will now finish by jumping to simulate taking a shot and land the same spot they jumped from with their follow through up.
  • Add a ball tossed from 1 line to the line pushing across the lane to make it more realistic and add the shot if appropriate.

Key Points

Players should cover a lot of ground on the push out and work on landing on the inside foot and turning to square up and on balance.

Team Concepts


Fundamentals of the Drive & Kick

  • Drive and kick is when a player dribbles the ball toward the basket and the defense reacts to the drive by helping their teammate. As the defense helps, the offensive player will kick or kick out (pass) the ball to their teammate.

Drive & Kick Competition Drill

(games to 10)
  • Have one line at the top of the key with a ball and another line at the short corner.
  • Have the player at the top dribble the ball down the middle of the paint with the ball in the hand that is on the same side as the other line.
  • As the player gets close to the basket, they will jump stop and pass (kick) the ball to their teammate in the short corner to catch and shoot.
  • The players will get the rebound and switch lines.
  • There will be another group doing the same action on the other side of the paint and short corner. These two groups will compete.

jrnba_rookie_pp10_driveandkickcompetitiondrill_diagram1of4 jrnba_rookie_pp10_driveandkickcompetitiondrill_diagram2of4 jrnba_rookie_pp10_driveandkickcompetitiondrill_diagram3of4 jrnba_rookie_pp10_driveandkickcompetitiondrill_diagram4of4


Key Points

Make sure the players dribbling into paint with the thought of scoring and coming to a good jump stop. Players should make a good chest pass to the player who is ready to catch the pass with their hands up and knees bent ready to shoot.



Make For a Cone Game

(games of 3 minutes each)
  • Players are separated into 2 even teams and go to 2 designated spots at a basket (the wings, elbows, corners etc).
  • There should be a line of cones equal to the number of players on each team that lines up next to the team.
  • The first player from each line will shoot the basketball get their rebound and pass to the next person on their team.
  • If the player makes the shot, they will take a cone from the other team and put it in their line of cones and move to the back of the line.
  • If the player misses the shot, they will get the rebound and pass to the next person on their team and continue to the back of the line without getting a cone from the other team.
  • After 3 minutes, the team with the most cones wins.

2 on 2 Numbers Game

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

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

  • 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




          Footwork & Conditioning