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There are certain elements every basketball practice should contain. All basketball practices should start with a warm-up and light stretching. Practices should then move into skill development and drills, where coaches determine what their team most needs to work on. Finally, basketball practice should end with a cool-down and more substantial stretching to avoid injury and soreness.
Though the specific drills of each basketball practice will change, the basic elements should stay the same. By creating a routine, coaches encourage athletes to stay focused during the practice and put their full effort into the activity.
Basketball practices should always begin with a warm-up. This is the time for athletes to warm up their muscles and get their body ready for an intense workout. Coaches should consider warm-ups that mimic the movements athletes will be making during practice.
For instance, a coach could ask athletes to run a few laps to warm up their legs and ankles for the fast pace of basketball practice. Coaches could also give each athlete a ball and have them dribble a pattern on the floor to warm up the wrists and hands. Whatever the coach chooses, a warm-up should last about 10 minutes and cover all the major muscle groups used during practice.
Athletes should stretch lightly prior to beginning basketball practice. These light stretches gently wake up the muscles and encourage them to work. Stretches at the beginning of practice should be held for 10-15 seconds, with one stretch per major muscle group.
At the end of practice, athletes should go through a more rigorous stretching program. Stretches should be held for 20-25 seconds with the intention of cooling down the muscles and relaxing them. Stretches held for 20 seconds or longer encourage the muscles to relax and start to rebuild.
Sample stretches that can be used both before and after practice include the cross-arm stretch, where a player takes their right arm and crosses it in front of the body. The left arm grabs the right arm and gently pulls it farther across the body, stretching the shoulder and arm muscles.
Players should also stretch their quadriceps with a flamingo stretch. Players lift a leg off the ground and kick the foot directly behind them, grabbing the heel with the same arm. Players gently pull the heel back toward the backside, making sure to keep the knee facing straight down and in line with the hip.
The majority of basketball practice will be made up of skills practice. This is the time that the coach can teach new skills, practice old ones, and encourage the team to work together on new plays. Coaches need to determine what skills their players need most. Often, a coach will work on both offense and defense during a practice to help players stay sharp.
The cool-down comes at the end of basketball practice and allows the heart rate to return to normal prior to stretching. The cool-down can consist of additional jogging, deep breathing exercises with movements similar to yoga, or simple walking around a gym or track.
Once players have had 3-5 minutes to cool down, they should spend another few minutes stretching, as outlined above.
Basketball Practice Reminders
Basketball practice has several crucial elements that need to be included every time. Each basketball practice should start with a warm-up and light stretching, followed by skills and drills, where basketball coaches really teach players the technique of basketball. After the heart of the practice, players should cool down for a few minutes and end the practice with stretching to prevent injury and muscle soreness.
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