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”.


  • All non-taggers have a basketball and must dribble when


  • Divide into two teams: One team is “it” and must attempt to freeze the entire other team as fast as they can. After one round, switch roles and the team with the fastest time wins.

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.


  • Have the players get into pairs and stand a short distance apart facing each other. One partner will be the leader and dribble with either hand low, middle or high. The other partner will try to mirror the leader. The leader will continue to change their dribble hand and level of the dribble in an effort to “lose” the other partner. Switch partners and continue.


  • Have the players get into pairs and find a line on the court. Both partners have a ball and stand on opposite sides of the line shoulder to shoulder. Both players will start dribbling with their outside hand with the goal of getting two feet on the other side of the line. This will require the players to stay low, be physical, and use their lower body and shoulder to move over the line while dribbling.

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.

Pac-Man Dribbling

(2 games )
  • Identify 1-2 players as taggers. These players will try to tag all of the other players while only running on court lines.
  • All other players will have a ball and are “Pac-Man.” These players will have to dribble around the court lines to avoid the taggers.
  • When Pac-Man players are tagged, they leave their ball and become taggers as well until there are no remaining Pac-Man players.
  • Remember players must stay on the court lines (sideline, baseline, lane line, free throw line, 3-point line) throughout the game!


Partner Pass or Shoot Drill

(2 x 2 minutes each)
  • Have players partner up, get a basketball and line up about 10 feet apart.
  •  The player with the ball will react to cues from their partner. When the partner without the ball shows their hands, the other partner must make a pass. When the partner without the ball puts their arms down to their sides, the other partner will shoot the ball to their partner as if they were shooting at a basket.


  • Add a defender to each partner group. If the defender crowds the player with the ball, they must make a pass around the defense. If the defender gives the player with the ball space, they will shoot the ball to their partner.
  • Instruct the defender to either crowd the player with the ball or give them space in order to help them make a clear decision to shoot or pass.

Key Points

Ensure that players execute passes the correct way. 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 and extend their elbows to make a good pass. When shooting, partners should bend their knees, extend their arms, and snap their wrists when releasing the ball.

Basketball Tennis

(2 x 2 minutes )
  • Use cones or objects to create rectangle boxes (approximately 10×20 feet) with a line or cones dividing the box in half.
  • Divide players into pairs with 1 ball per group.
  • Players will stand at opposite sides of the rectangle and will try to throw bounce passes across the middle line inside the court so that the opposing player cannot catch the ball after one bounce.
  • Just like tennis, the goal is to make the other player move and not be able to catch the ball.
  • Be sure to encourage ball fakes and pivoting and remind players that tennis scoring goes “15, 30, 40, game”

Key Points

Instruct players to utilize pass fakes to try and get their opponents to move. Be creative by changing passing angles and the distance of the bounce passes. Receivers should stay in an athletic stance and be ready to anticipate passes.


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.

Competitive Drills

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.


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 can share) and divide into 3 lines at each basket.
  • The first players in line 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.
  • Once players land with the ball, they attempt one shot at the basket. They get their rebound and return to their line.
  • The drill repeats with the next group of players.


  • Players must yell “I got it!”,”Mine!” or “Ball!” when they grab the rebound.


  • Players do not have basketballs. The coach shoots the ball off the backboard and the first 3 players in line attempt to get the rebound. Whoever gets the rebound gets to attempt a shot without defense.

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. Add a second line and the coach moves from elbow to elbow facilitating the give and go for each line

jrnba_rookie_pp5_giveandgodrill_diagram1of3 jrnba_rookie_pp5_giveandgodrill_diagram2of3 jrnba_rookie_pp5_giveandgodrill_diagram3of3


  • Coach holds the basketball on their right or left hip. This cue indicates to the player to cut on the right or left side of the coach. Have the player fake the opposite direction before their cut. Add a defender to the cutter. After the pass to the coach, the defender will move to one side of the passer. The passer will fake towards the defender and cut off the coach for their pass and score.



Key Points

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



Coach Assisted 2v2 Small-Sided Game

(16 x 30 seconds)
  • Divide the half-court into two separate sides, with two offensive and defensive players on either side at the wing and corner. A coach stands at the elbow on either side to start.
  • One side of offensive players start by passing to the coach and making a cut to the basket. The defender plays live defense and the coach will try to pass back to the cutter or their teammate.
  • If they don’t receive a pass from the coach, the cutter must return to a spot outside of the three-point line. Play continues with passing and cutting until a score or the coach calls “Live” and players play 2v2.
  • After the score or defensive stop, the two defenders become offensive players and two new defenders rotate in. The coach will move to the other side of the half court and start a new round.


  • When the defense gets a stop or a rebound they run a fast break to the opposite basket for a layup before returning to the line as offense.


  • Teams keep their score. They get 1 point for a live 2v2 basket and 2 points if they score off of a give and go pass. At the end of the game the team with the highest score wins.

Key Points

Encourage players to read their defender’s position and fake before cutting to the basket. If offensive players get stuck they can always pass to the coach as an outlet to continue play. Players may also pass to their teammate (if open) and cut for a give and go.

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 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