At Burlington Basketball, we love sharing great ideas for both coaches and players. We all get better as players (and people) by learning from others. Often, we look to what other coaches are saying an publishing and recently, we came across famed coach John Wooden’s 15 practice rules. He would share these rules to his NCAA UCLA Bruins players.
With a lifetime coaching win record of over 80%, 10 national titles and 4 undefeated seasons…who are we to argue that he may be among the best basketball coaches – ever.
Reading through, you think “yes” as a coach to just about all of them. To recap, here they are…and then we share our favourites and to sum up, place them in simple themes players will remember.
- Be dressed, on the floor, and ready for practice on time every day. There is no substitute for industriousness and enthusiasm.
- Warm up and then work on your weaknesses and shoot some free throws when you take the floor until organised practice begins.
- Work hard to improve yourself without having to be forced. Be serious. Have fun without clowning. You develop only by doing your best.
- No cliques, no complaining, no criticising, no jealousy, no egotism, no envy, no alibis. Earn the respect of all.
- Never leave the floor without permission.
- When a coach blows the whistle, all give him your undivided attention and respond immediately without disconcerting in any manner.
- Move quickly to get in position to start a new drill.
- Keep a neat practice appearance with shirt tails in, socks pulled up, and hair cut short.
- Take excellent care of your equipment and keep your locker neat and orderly.
- Record your weight in and out every day.
- Do things the way you have been told and not have to be told every day. Correct habits are formed only through continued repetition of the perfect model.
- Be clever, not fancy. Good, clever play brings praise while fancy plays bring ridicule and criticism.
- When group activity is stopped to correct one individual, all pay close attention in order that you will not require the same correction.
- Condition comes from hard work during practice and proper mental and moral conduct.
- Poise, confidence, and self control comes from being prepared.
So if you wanted to shorten this list for youth players (say your pre-teen rep players or house league players), you might pick your favourites, or those most applicable.
Here are my personal favourite 4, paraphrased with comments.
2. Work on weaknesses until organized practice begins. Of course, we all see the kids taking half-court shots during this time. This goes double for them working outside of practice. Work on what’s uncomfortable – always – to notice the greatest overall improvement and development as a skilled player.
3. Work hard to improve yourself without having to be forced. Who can argue with asking for effort and focus. Many coaches say they love “teachable” and hard working players. For players that love playing the game, this comes easy. As a player, if you have this one covered, you have many others covered (like 1, 2, 4, 6, 7, 11, 14….at least).
4. No cliques, no complaining, no criticizing…no egotism…alibis. This all speaks to character and being a team player – easy.
12. Be clever, not fancy. Some players fall into an obsession with “breaking ankles” or making 5 moves to get to the rim when 1 was necessary. Over thinking and over dribbling lead to turnovers. The most skilled players are efficient and can quickly assess what’s in front of them to make the right play, rather than dazzle the crowd.
15 Practice Rules – 3 Themes
To summarize these 15 practice rules, we can say that they fall into three buckets which shared with your youth players will help guide them to success.
- Be focused and ready to learn
- Work Hard
- Be a Team Player
Reinforcing these three every practice with all player just might make us better coaches, and players.
What do you think? Share your thoughts as a player or coach here with Burlington Basketball!