Strength training and conditioning before game preparation, or after? This was the question I had asked my colleague in coaching before making the practice plan. His response was as expected. Too much conditioning will wear them out before they can play ball, and too much ball play will wear them out for effective conditioning. His solution? Surprisingly simple! Do them both together!
We began practice with a talk on responsibility and respect. I blew the whistle and the players know to run it in within 10 seconds. Still, a couple of players decided to take that extra shot while another played around until it was clear that everyone was running in before he decided to join them. I explained that responsibility means working hard for the team. Respect means listening to the coach and, again, working hard for the team. We spoke a bit of the upcoming events, including our visit to the Potters Haunted House on Wednesday and of our dress-up practice next Tuesday. Then we got started.
I gave the players a bit of responsibility today. A number of players took on a leadership role, and volunteered to lead us through dynamic stretches. "A" did the Carioca while "B" had them skipping with arms swinging, etc. Stretches complete, we began to play.
In the first minute, 'K' was dribbling up in the backcourt for the green team when a perfectly good pass ought to have been made. He didn't make it, and wasn't even aware of it. I called his team off and put the red team on in their place, explaining that we have a duty to move the ball up the court when there's no reason not to. Red scored, blue was off, and green was back on again. This time, they moved the ball up the court with speed and took notice of who was open and in a better position.
After a few minutes, we took a break, lined-up on the baseline, and began our resistance training with those green rubber resistance bands with handles. Those things are great, and a staple, in my opinion, to any good or great basketball program. They were given 3 sets of 15 reps of bicep curls. Many didn't get the chance finish before we were back on the court again.
We played for a bit, learned few things, and then tried 3 sets of skipping. 'J' finished his 45 first, followed by 'R'. Then we learned how to fall; how to force the offensive foul Before too long, we had a collision with a bloody nose and sore head. We finished with another few small games, the agility ladder, and the wrap-up at the end. We spoke of respect and responsibility, again, did our cheer, and finished.
See you all at the haunted house!