Basketball Contests That Will Add Life to your Everyday Practices

How to Add Fun and Excitment to your Practice Sessions

Basketball Practice
Basketball Practice. Peter Macdiarmid / Staff / Getty Images

Every now and again our practices might border on routine and as a result our team would need a lift. Maybe we had just lost a close game and were a bit down, or maybe the team was just in need of a change of pace.

One activity we used to relieve the situation and give us a boost from the mundane would be to run a series of contests that were skill based, but fun and competitive. We called the contest "The Battle of the Basketball Stars."

I would divide our basketball team into small groups of three or four players per team and make up a number of shooting, passing, and dribbling contests to decide a champion of the contest for the day. Each team would compete against the other teams for total points. You can make up your own games and be creative as you wish.

Here are some simple drills and activities that we did in order to switch things up and to keep practices fun and competitive.

Dribbling Race

Have each team race from one end of the gym to the other and time them with a stopwatch. They could be directed to dribble right handed to half court, left-handed to the end line, and dribble behind their back all the way back to the start. Run the race like a relay race where a player has to tag his teammate so that the next player can go. I would give points for first place, second place, and so on. These contests would not only be fun but also result in team bonding.

 

Slalom Dribbling Race

Set up cones up and down the court in a straight line that players would have to dribble between.
Have each player race up and down the court and switch hands every time they dribble between the cones and then hand the ball off to a teammate. Have each team race the others like in the previous dribbling contest.

Again, give points for place-finishers in the race.

These activities are fun for the players and can also help to improve dribbling abilities. 

Shooting

Have each player on each team take ten foul shots, jump shots, or lay-ups in one minute and add together all of the scores for the team totals.

Run a hot shots contest, commonly known as "around the world", and give points for each basket made. Set time limits. I used to have the block, elbow, foul line, and top of key be the hot spots. Every shooter had to shoot from each spot within the time limit. The team with most points would win.

Three on Three Contest or Four on Four Contest

Have a team tournament with games to one (Make it and Take It). The first team to score wins that game and gets to stay on the court. Losers rotate to the next court in a round robin format and play the winner there in a game to one. Keep the round robin going for 15 minutes. The team with the most individual wins is the champion.

Trick Dribbling

Have another dribbling race up and down the court but this time, but with a catch. For example, the players must dribble with one hand behind their back, or with two basketballs at one time, or up and down the court while dribbling between their legs.

Of course, be sure to monitor the activities for safety. Award points for first, second, and third place.

In the end, total all the points earned by each team from all the individual contests to determine a champion for the day. I used to give a small prize to each member of the winning team. You would be surprised how hard players would compete to win a small prize! 

The idea of such contests is to add spirit to your practice while continuing to foster a fun, competitive environment. Such competitive activities serve as a change of pace for a day. Every now and again a change can be a good thing.