Maximizing Winter Break

By December 27, 2013 No Comments

Most coaches are in the midst of their winter breaks from school. Teams are either playing in holiday tournaments or refining their game through practice. This week we’ll discuss five ways to maximize your break and improve your team.

First and foremost, use this time to relax and recharge. The basketball season is a grind. Winter break offers the perfect opportunity to take a step back and recharge. Enjoy the down time with family. Many times during the season our time with spouses and children is stressed. Spend the extra time during break at home with your loved ones. January and February are the busiest months of the season, so take the time to recharge mentally before school starts back up. A recharged coach with plenty of energy is great for the team.

During practice over break, take the time to condition your team. Push your players during break. Work them past their comfort zones. Remember, the best teams and the best players are in the best shape. This doesn’t mean solely running wind sprints at the end of practice. Utilize full court drills and drills that mentally and physically challenge the players. Yesterday, we did an eight-minute shooting workout I picked up from Drew Hanlen that is excellent. You won’t be able condition much in practice with the amount of January and February games played, so take advantage of this time to prepare your team for the final stretch.

Thirdly, analyze your strengths and weaknesses. Do this not only for your team but also for yourself. Personally, think of things you can do better as a coach but also celebrate the things you do well to help your players. To break down our strengths and weaknesses, we use Krossover. If you haven’t checked them out, do yourself and team a favor and give them a look. I use their player and team analytics to break down where we need to improve. It’s a great resource that allows us to focus our practice time on improving in critical areas. Many teams practice just to practice. Make sure your practice is purposeful and improves your team.

Winter break offers more time to work on fundamentals and specials. During the normal grind of the season fundamental skill work and specials (end of quarter, game scenarios) often get pushed aside. I’d rather have five great players at the end of the game than five great plays. We’ll spend at least 45-60 minutes each practice working on fundamental skills. Again, Krossover will give great analysis to help you prepare your practice. I made the mistake of not working specials enough in the pre-season and it cost us a game. So during break, we’ll go over all them in detail and be prepared for the second half. Make sure your players understand the importance of them and how they can determine a game.

Lastly, teach your players more than the game. Emphasize the importance of character and teaching them life skills. Winter break offers the perfect opportunity to get your athletes involves in community service. Every year, our players deliver gifts to pediatric patients in the hospital with our FCA group. This is a great way to give back, but it also illustrates just how fortunate our players are. It’s a humbling experience. I would also suggest creating team-bonding events. We have a pizza night with players and their families. Our team also has a Christmas party after practice, and our girls even held a team sleepover. Winter break is a great time to bring your team closer together.

Coaches, what are some ways you utilize winter break for yourself and your teams? I’d love to hear your ideas.

As always, thanks for reading, have a great week and be an RGP today!