Do Players Stand in Line During Your Practices?

Let me ask you a question... How often are players standing around during your practice?

If you stop to think about it, I'll bet 9 out of 10 coaches will say... "Too often!!"

In my opinion, players should NOT be standing in lines during practice!

I have noticed that as the season goes on I let this slip too much and I have noticed lots of other coaches do too. It drives me a little nuts when I see this happening...

Standing in lines = BOREDOM! Your players should be getting lots of touches and reps or they're going to lose focus FAST.

Not to mention, how will a player get better if he/she is standing in line? They must be doing something and working on a skill to get better. Your lines should be very short and your practices should be fast paced!!!

With a little planning you can keep ALL of your players busy. Of course, there will be times when you have an activity that doesn't allow for participation of the entire group. During these times, give your players "busy work" drills they can do on the side with little supervision.

Here are some ideas for "busy work" drills and/or activities to keep your players active and learning at all times.
  • Jump rope (for quickness and conditioning)
  • Two Ball Dribbling
  • Mikan Drill
  • Free Throw Challenge
  • Partner Passing
  • Lay up drills
  • Rebounding drills
  • Spider Dribbling
  • Figure 8 Dribbling
  • One on One
  • Form Shooting
You can almost always come up with the right combination of drills to keep everyone busy.

You should also choose drills that require little standing around. I can't stand those drills where 1 player is shooting and 10 other players are standing in line behind them. Don't do those drills. We have plenty of drills on this site to give you ideas on better ways to keep players busy and keep them from standing in line.

In addition, every player should have a ball.

This is important because it allows each player to get more touches and makes practice more enjoyable for the players.

It pains me to see practices when two players have a ball (or maybe none) and a bunch of players are standing around. Sure, there are things you can do without a ball. But when it comes to skill development (which is really important for young players), how do you expect players to get better if they don't have a ball in their hands?

Players need lots of touches! They need to be passing, dribbling, and shooting as much as possible. They all need a basketball to do that.

Source: eBook - 60 Fun Youth Basketball Drills

What do you think? What are your experiences? Do you have any thoughts, ideas, and suggestions?


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Ken says:
9/3/2012 at 10:45:33 AM

Mike -

I agree, when they just aren't getting it, stop, move on and either go back to it later in practice or the next day. It doesn't help anyone to keep beating your head against the wall ... it also gives you a chance to ask yourself WHY they aren't getting it ... do I need to teach it differently or?

As for the teaching part - when we were introducing something new, we had the rest of the players stand behind half court, that way they could see things as we did.

We kept our drills competitive and short, that way they don't get bored and they will work harder.

I learned that by making good practice plans, a couple of hard fast paced drills, then a shooting drill was a great way of conditioning them without running sprints after practice. The kids knew this and they weren't afraid to go hard during the practice.

End your practices with something FUN that THEY like to do, for us, it was running "Situations." They looked forward to this and when you end practice that way, they look forward to coming to practice the next day.


Coach Kajca says:
9/3/2012 at 10:11:14 AM

There is absolutely a great point to be made concerning keeping kids going during practice. I think another aspect to consider is that the busier they are early in practice. The more they are willing to listen later.


Mike says:
10/18/2010 at 11:44:41 AM

I agree with both Coach D and Jeff. There's a balance that has to be met. I'll use the classroom alot to go over new offenses, defenses, or whatever. I always use my assitant coach to work with two different groups at the same time. We switch groups at certain times to get a different look. Works really well. Otherwise, drills have to be fast paced and we try not to drag them out too long. If it's not working, move on!


Jeff Haefner says:
10/13/2010 at 2:27:10 PM

Good point Coach D. There are times for everyone to listen and learn.

Related to the topic, I would get frustrated when I was getting my top 10 players reps on inbounds plays or certain situations I knew we had to be ready for. And I could see the bottom players getting bored out of their mind and losing their enthusiasm for basketball. It seems like there is a certain point where you get an assistant to work with the bottom players on the same thing at the other end. Even if they just work on 2 on 2, or 4 on 0, they can still simulate the situations.


Coach D says:
10/13/2010 at 1:51:55 PM

While I agree with much of what''s said here, I think its important to point out that there are times for watching and learning during instructional periods and even half court work particularly at the older levels. You don''t necessarily need to have everyone doing something all the time. Nothing drives me more nuts than watching a coach try to teach and there are kids on the side shooting or dribbling and nobody is listening and the same things have to be explained daily.


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