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.

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Rookie Practice Plan 5

Cultivating Values & Developing Wellness



  • How do you show good sportsmanship other than saying good game after each game?
  • Does good sportsmanship mean you don’t mind losing?
  • 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


Freeze Tag

(2 minutes)
  • One player or the coach will be designated as “it.”
  • When the person designated as “it” tags another player, they are “frozen” and must stand in place without moving.
  • A player can on be unfrozen if another unfrozen player comes and touches them.
  • Designate boundaries based on numbers (i.e. stay inside of half court.)
  • Complete the game when all players are frozen.
  • If needed, add multiple players who are “it”.

Building Skills


Ball Handling

One Hand Moving Rolls

(1 x each hand to half court and back)
  • All players need a basketball (or share) and should stand on the baseline.
  • The players will start in a good stance with the ball on the floor and their hand behind the ball.
  • The players will walk to half court while rolling the ball and keeping their hand on the ball the whole time.
  • Once the players reach half court they will turn around and do the same thing coming back and will repeat with the opposite hand.

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.


Stationary Partner Pass: Bounce & Chest

(2 x 2 min. each)
  • Have players partner up, get a basketball and line up about 10 feet apart.
  • Based on the fundamental passing skills and wall passing previously taught, have the players now step and pass to their partner.
  • The 2 partners will make bounce passes to each other for 2 sets of 60 seconds and then do the same thing with chest passes.

Key Points

Ensure that the players make eye contact before passing and the receiver shows their hands as a target. With a bounce pass, the pass will need to bounce more than half way to the teammate. The players should take a big step towards their partner, extend their elbows and snap their down to make a good pass.

Catch With Coach Drill

(2 x 1 minute)
  • 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.


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.


Fundamentals of Rebounding

  • When a shot is missed, the player that retrieves the ball is credited with a rebound. Rebounding requires players to be physical, have quick reactions and pursue the ball.

Self-Toss Rebound Drill

(3 x 8)
  • All players need a basketball (or share) and should stand in an open space on the court.
  • The players will use two hands to toss the ball into the air.
  • The player will move towards the ball, jump and catch the ball at their peak.
  • They will then repeat or give the ball to the partner.

Key Points

It is important for the players to see the ball, track its trajectory and jump and catch the ball at their peak.

Team Concepts


Give & Go Drill

(2 minutes each side)
  • Players should start on the 3-point line with the ball on the wing.
  • The player will pass the ball to the coach on the ball side elbow.
  • After passing the ball, the player will immediately cut/run to the basket.
  • The coach will catch the ball and pass the ball back to the cutting player so the player can catch the ball and shoot a lay-up.
  • Utilize multiple baskets to maximize reps.

jrnba_rookie_pp5_giveandgodrill_diagram1of3 jrnba_rookie_pp5_giveandgodrill_diagram2of3 jrnba_rookie_pp5_giveandgodrill_diagram3of3


Key Points

Make sure the players make good passes and cut hard for a full speed lay-up.



Dribble Freeze Tag Game

(5 x 1 minute)
  • All players should have a basketball and spread out on the court in a designated area.
  • The coach will designate a few players to be “it.”
  • The players who are “it” will dribble around and tag the other players while they are trying to avoid being tagged.
  • When a player is tagged, they have to jump stop and stay in one spot until another teammate unfreezes them.
  • It is the goal of the “it” players to tag as many players as possible in 1 minute.
  • Change who is it and repeat.

Key Points

Work on controlling the ball and executing good jump stops. Remind the players to keep their head up so they don’t run into each other and can avoid being tagged. Players cannot be un-tagged in this game.

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.

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