Wrapping Up Your Basketball Season: 15 Surefire Coaching Tips to Make Next Season More Successful Than Ever!

The season is winding down. Routines change, friendships have grown, priorities change. As a coach, what should you do now? When practice time comes and there is no practice, what do you do? When there are no games to prepare for, what do you do with your time?

Coaching is an all encompassing job. It takes time, devotion, and is very crisis oriented. To do it well, you have to plan your year, just as you have to plan your practices. Those outside the profession don't understand it. Don't try to explain it to them or expect them to understand. Coaches are a special breed.

Here are a just a few thoughts as to how to recover and prepare for the next season.

1 - 2 weeks post season
  1. Relax - After every season, there are decisions to be made. Whether they are career, personnel, or personal, immediately after the season is not the time to do it. Take some time for yourself, catch up with family and friends and try to settle back to a traditional lifestyle. Let your mind and body rest.

  2. Organize - collect all of your practice plans, put all your game films in order, and collate your statistics.

  3. Make the most of extraordinary clarity that you have after the season -- If you're like most coaches, you'll have some amazing clarity a few days or weeks after the season is over. It's very important to document what you've learned while it's still fresh in your mind. You'll find that this tip alone can have an enormous impact on your team's improvements next year. You never think it will happen, but it's amazing how much you forget during the off season. And you'll be just as amazed how much documenting these thoughts will help you. Document what you've learned. Document what you should do different next year. Get those thoughts and ideas down so you can reference them next year.

  4. Be sure your players have their priorities straight. Players often let their schoolwork slip after the season. Be sure they are caught up and on time with their classes.

3 - 4 weeks post season
  1. Begin your evaluation process. Interpret your stats and decide what you feel is important and what you can affect by coaching. Start watching your game films and evaluate what you did well and what you did poorly. Evaluate your practice plans and determine what type of practice flow was most effective. Be sure to include your assistants in this process. Different points of view can be very helpful.

  2. Meet with your players. Discuss their thoughts of the season. What do they feel the team did well, what was done poorly? What do they feel they did well personally and what they need to work on? Discuss your feelings in regard to their performance. Talk about expectations for the next season.

  3. Develop an off-season development program. Rules differ from state to state in regard to what coaches can do in the off season. Many coaches also have other responsibilities (teaching, other sports, etc.) so the program should be simple and self moderating, the players should be able to get through it themselves. At least the first half of the off season should be spent on development as opposed to playing. In addition, if you wish to have your team strength train, maximum gains should be achieved during the first 75% of the off season.

A month after the season you are essentially in the off season. Use this period to recharge.

  1. If you can work with your players on skills, do so.

  2. Start to improve your team's shooting percentage. In order for you to have a great team of shooters, you must get started right about now. The off season is the time to fix mechanics, start implementing player development programs, and give your players instructions on how to develop their shot. Great shooters become great in the off season.

  3. Sharpen the stone. In other words, continue to develop your knowledge and personal development. Never stop learning. Read books, attend clinics, talk to other coaches, and gather ideas for the next season.

  4. Shore up your coaching weaknesses by exploring other philosophies and teaching techniques. Expand your strengths by exploring additional areas that you can apply what you do well.

The summer months are a great time of the year for coaches. This is the time you begin thinking about next season.

  1. Experiment in summer league with new ideas. Decide what you can live with and what you can't. Try new offenses and defenses.

  2. Evaluate how your team has improved and how the players have worked on their game. Let them play different positions, allow them to experiment and expand their game.

  3. The summer workout program should be about 50% skills - 50% play. Don't overload your team with summer league games. Don't worry, they will get enough play. On the whole, players don't do enough skill work.

Once school starts again, you have entered the pre-season.

  1. Put together your playbook. Decide what offenses and defense you think you can succeed with.

  2. Build a master practice schedule when are you going to install each aspect of your program. Establish your teaching progressions.

  3. Start your preseason program. Work should be about 25% skills, 75% play. Change your strength training program to one of endurance and maintenance.

  4. Be sure that your players are doing their best in school. They should use this period to try to get ahead.

2 weeks before the season -- Start to taper off of your workouts.

1 week before the season -- Everybody takes off. Do some things with your family and friends. It might be months before you get to do it again.




Comments

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Coaching Toolbox says:
11/16/2018 at 3:04:33 AM

This was a great post! In fact, having this kind of preparation and coaching tips will surely help every player once they get inside the court.

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gerard remacle says:
3/26/2012 at 5:46:43 AM

Great article,Jeff , its a great help for a lot off coaches , greets from belgium

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Joe Haefner says:
8/25/2009 at 10:45:16 AM

Hi James,

We have an article for you. Check it out: http://www.breakthroughbasketball.com/coaching/pre-season-tips.html#chapter2

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James carr says:
8/25/2009 at 4:49:21 AM

Any tips or articles that I can get to form a master schedule plan?

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Jeff Haefner says:
8/22/2009 at 1:42:38 PM

Coach C,

I would mostly work on shooting, footwork, and some ballhandling skills. I would try to incorporate footwork and shooting drills that use the same cuts/movements used in your offense. Example, curl cut, pivot, jump shot, repeat.

I would also do some fast paced drills that get them in condition for the season. I wouldn't do sprints, just skill building drills that condition at the same time.

Have you check out our Basketball Workout Guide?
http://www.breakthroughbasketball.com/pr/workouts.html

It offers some great skill drills, off season workout tips, and skill/conditioning drills.

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Coach C says:
8/22/2009 at 11:49:17 AM

I just got hired to be a head coach for a junior varsity boys team at a local high school. Although tryouts are months away, we are working with those interested in off season work-outs. What would you recommend I concentrate on that would be beneficial when try-outs come around.

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kitsi says:
3/13/2009 at 10:32:53 AM

this website is very useful..tnx again... btw, im planning to do a man to man defense:full court pressure(always limit the dribble of your man) and deny 1 pass away when i need to force a TO. my team is small. so i want them to run.like the run and gun of the suns. my only concern is my def require a very high energy and stamina. if i include the run n gun offense or the 10 secs offense(high school style of 7secs offens of d'antoni) would this overkill my players in my summer camp? since this offense also needs a high energy and stamina. or i should focus my offense first then def during preseason or the other way around?

tnx

kitsi

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Joe Haefner says:
3/10/2009 at 6:49:36 PM

Hi Dave,

Another thing is to take a look at your youth program. Are these coaches playing tons of games and burning out the players before they even get to you? Are they making things fun? If not, the kids will burn out and have negative feeling towards basketball. That's nearly impossible for you to fix.

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Joe Haefner says:
3/10/2009 at 6:44:47 PM

Unfortunately, I don't think anything replaces winning. If the kids are winning and having fun, it creates a buzz. Everybody wants to be part of it when you're winning.

Also, think of some fun things you can do during the offseason that only the basketball team is a part of. Try to create a positive vibe about the team. Maybe, athletic girls who are bored will go out for the team if other girls say it's fun. Go on a trip. Attend some summer camps and make it extremely fun.

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David Anderson says:
3/10/2009 at 11:40:13 AM

I just finished up my second year as the varsity girls basketball coach at a very small high school. The school had a lot of success back in the late ''70s and early ''80s in girls basketball. However, girls basketball has been pushed to the back of the line in the last 20 years or so. I have been fighting hard to get more girls involved through camps and open gyms. With all of this, I still seem to be pushed to the rear behind softball. I need some advice or help on how I could possibly rejuvenate girls basketball. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Dave Anderson

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