Finding a variety of basketball practice plans, tips, ideas and plays is always a challenge. We will post the best ones we can find from top coaches from around the world. Please find the following article by Coach Randy Brown.

The 30 Minute Practice Test – Would You Pass or Fail?
By Randy Brown

The incredible thing about being a basketball coach is the unlimited supply of information and resources available. Books, DVD’s, magazines, and the Internet provide more information than we could sift through in a lifetime. Is that good news or bad news?

As basketball coaches, our job is to present a simple game to young players. Through teaching methods, drills, and on the floor execution, players are sent into games prepared to play with a purpose and execute the coach’s game plan. Too often players are ill-prepared to execute on game night because of a lack of fundamentals and focus on key components of winning. The problem lies not with the players on our team, but with us as coaches. Are you part of the problem?

A common mistake by coaches at all levels is to attempt to be good at every aspect of the game. Personally, I made this crucial mistake coaching in high school. My pride wanted to show that I was a master of the game in all aspects. Reality tells us that no coach, regardless of level including the NBA, can properly teach all aspects while expecting his players to execute at an optimum level on game night.

Fortunately for me I have worked for and known some wise coaches of the game. Tim Floyd at USC, Gary Garner formerly at SEMO, Larry Eustachy at Southern Mississippi, and Greg McDermott at Iowa State are masters in terms of melting the game down to three main teaching concepts. Each of them instilled in me this important skill. I was challenged to choose three main aspects of the game and make them representative of my coaching philosophy. It was difficult to do, but this advice remains the single most powerful part of my coaching career.

Today I advise every coach I mentor, young and old, to adopt their Top 3. Once they have done this, the focus of their program, practices, and games will clearly come into view. A common thought in coaching states this: “The coach who emphasizes everything, teaches nothing!” I couldn’t agree more with this statement and is the backbone of the Top 3 philosophy.

This test is an exercise that I have used many times in gyms around the country. As I have observed practice I look closely at the drills, terminology and teaching being done on the floor. On occasion the coach will have his Top 3 in place, though it is rare in my experience.

Let me prepare you for the test. During any random practice session I will stop by and watch your practice for 30 minutes. After this time I will write down what I believe are your Top 3 based only on what I have seen. Do you think your Top 3 would match my list? It’s a great test and I encourage coaches to sit down and take time to establish the foundation of their basketball philosophy. Would you pass or fail?

If you are serious about building a base for your team, you will continue reading this article. The next step in this important exercise is to honestly answer the following five questions. Your answers will form the foundation of your program forever. If you cannot honestly say that you have a Top 3, then congratulations. You have opened the door for an incredible discovery in coaching.

Take as much time as you need to answer these questions. I have had some coaches take an entire off-season just to address this timely issue. The time you spend developing your Top 3 will be the greatest investment of time you could ever make.

Question 1-What are your Top 3 priorities or values as a coach?

Question 2-If I observed your practice for 30 minutes could I name your Top 3?

Question 3-Where does your Top 3 come from and why are they on your list?

Question 4-How do you make your Top 3 an all-time emphasis, every day?

Question 5-Are you true to your Top 3 in every drill, practice and game?

Great coaches challenge other coaches, but never before they look in the mirror and challenge themselves. Take this test and begin to experience the fruits of your labor as a basketball coach. Be the best you can be!

Randy Brown has dedicated his life to the game of basketball. His 18 years in college basketball highlights a successful 23-year career. Coaching positions at Arizona, Iowa State, Marquette, Drake, and Miami of Ohio fill his resume. Mentored by Basketball Hall of Fame coach Lute Olson at Arizona, he learned the game from the best. At 39, Randy became the head coach at Division I Stetson University in Deland, Florida. His efforts have helped develop 12 NBA players including Steve Kerr, Sean Elliott, and Jaamal Tinsley. His passion for mentoring young coaches and developing youth programs is known and respected throughout the country. Over the years he has authored over 50 articles on coaching basketball and has taught over 24,000 young players in summer camps and clinics. He works as a basketball consultant and mentor for coaches. He is also an author and public speaker. For free articles and questions, Randy can be reached at

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