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Topic:  Motivating Players

Question from Mohhamad:
How do I motivate my players? Sometimes, it seems hard to get them up for practice and even games.

Answers and Comments

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Jeff Haefner says:
1/25/2012 at 7:56:51 AM

You can do lots of 5 on 0 (that's how we start out teaching even when we have 10). You can do 3on3 and just practice pieces of your offense. You can do 2on2 practicing a piece of your offense. Practice screening and cutting fundamentals in drills. Practice spacing and getting open with 3on3 no dribble. Set up scrimmages against other teams. Practice with other teams so you can work on 5on5 at the end of practice. Bring in a few players to help.

I have been working with freshman this year, we only have 9 players in 75% of our practices and we can't go 5on5 -- but it hasn't really mattered. We have improved tremendously. We run motion offense and the majority of our practice is just skill anyway. Lots of 1 on 0 skill work and then when players get the hang of things we do lots of competitive skill development. If your players learn how to become good shooters, passers, ballhanders, move without the ball, screen, cut, play defense, rebound, post moves and footwork -- you will be good. You can work on those all of those things with just 7 or less players.


Ken says:
1/25/2012 at 7:56:08 AM

I never had to do this but IF I were in that situation I would use the whole part whole method ..... Show them the entire offense in a 5 on 0 situation, then break down the offense into parts and run it 3 on 3.

Then you would have to go back to 5 on 0.

If you only have 7 players you better have a simple pass and cut offense and fill spots. It will be hard to perfect it in practice without a D but at least they will have the idea of spacing, cutting and filling spots. JMO


Dwayne says:
1/24/2012 at 10:50:52 PM

How do we work on our offense with only 7 players?


Jeff Haefner says:
4/12/2010 at 12:04:26 PM

It depends on the age, but you could put them on the bench. That is many time the best motivator. But it just depends on the age, the kid, etc. Check out the document for the best motivational advice that I know of:


nat says:
4/10/2010 at 4:54:56 PM

how do you handle a player that's all talk no action?
a player that knows what's wrong but doesn't put in the extra effort to work on it.
and how do you make the rest of the team want it as much as you do?


Joe Haefner says:
5/8/2009 at 9:01:46 AM

Hi Frank,

I believe in equal playing time for youth teams. Coaches coach to develop players. You don't worry about the scoreboard. You make decisions on what's best for everybody, not what's best for the best players.

Players always play to win.

For more on this, read this article:


Frank says:
5/6/2009 at 10:34:49 PM

This question is not related to this category but I do have a question about substituting.I coach in a boys and girls club .I try to give the players equal playing time.However it is tough dealing with trying to win and giving the players the equal playing time.I have nine players on the team.I have a really good starting five and my bench is so-so.There are two 20 minute halves.I usually make substitutions every five minutes.Would you start the best five and sub in four every five minutes or sub in two at a time every three minutes?I feel if I sub too much I never will get the same strong line up in the game at the same time.Any suggestions?


Stacie Green says:
2/13/2009 at 1:17:28 PM

What do you do if your team practice well, but loses their games? They play awful in the games. They are all very talented. but just don't play hard


Joey cook says:
11/22/2008 at 7:29:38 PM

do you have a way I can buy these books and have them printed up by you guys? I don't have no printer so while the e books are good I have no printer to print them up with.


Joe Haefner says:
8/18/2008 at 2:49:06 PM

You can find shooting drills here:


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