Starting Basketball Practices the Right Way

We all understand the importance of practice, especially when it comes to basketball. Those looking to make it to the collegiate level need to be willing to put in the work on a daily basis.

Knowing how to start basketball practice the proper way, whether you are practicing with your team or by yourself, will allow you to be at your best throughout practice. Solid sessions on your off-days will translate to productive performances on game day.

There are plenty of things that get neglected on a daily basis during basketball practice, most of them the little things. Don’t be fooled, the littlest things are usually the most important.

Warming Up

Much like any other time you’re preparing to be active, it’s a good idea to warm yourself up to avoid stiffness and injury. A good warmup will always start with stretching. It’s important to loosen up your joints and muscles before partaking in any exercise.

You’ll want to focus on the main areas of the body. Follow the list below for the most important stretches and what area they target:

  • Quads – balance on one leg, stretch your opposite leg by bending it towards your butt, hold it
  • Hamstring – stand upright, bend one knee, extend the other, lower your chest down to stretch
  • Thighs – sit in a butterfly position and gently push down on your knees
  • Arms – stretch your arms behind your head, across your chest, and spread them wide with your palms facing behind you

To finish your stretching, it’s always nice to mix in some simple body weight exercises like push ups, jumping jacks, or just simply running in place. Keep in mind, you don’t want to do these until failure. This is a warm up, not a burnout.

When done stretching, you’ll get your blood pumping and feel loose. This is a great time to move on to the next part of your warmup!


Now that you’re feeling loose, you’ll want to get your basketball skills warmed up. This is a great chance to take 10 minutes for a brief shootaround. Much like stretching, take it easy and don’t overwork yourself. The goal of this is to just get the blood pumping.

Use this time wisely and get a healthy mix of different movements in. Take some layups, mid-range shots, long-range shots, free throws, dribble around the court, practice some moves. By the end of this small drill, you’ll be ready to roll for practice.

Bringing It In

That was a pretty good warmup and the energy is starting to build. You’re awake and alert, but don’t neglect a quick break to gather yourself. Take a sip of water, collect your thoughts, and plan out how you want the practice to go for yourself.

If you’re with your team, this is a great opportunity for coach to go over his plan for practice and what the players should expect. If you’re coming off a game, it’s a good time to regroup and talk about what went right, what went wrong, and what needs to be worked on.

This is a chance to take a breather, while getting the team on the same page. With that, you will all be equally prepared for what lies ahead — mentally and physically.