Preseason Preparation

Updated: Oct 30, 2020

Fall is upon us and in just a few short months basketball season will kick off. It is during these months that coaches are making their final preparations for the season. There is an endless stream of things running through the heads of coaches during these months; rosters, offense, defense, transition, special situations, game schedules, assistant coaches, and practice planning to name a few. As a small school coach many of our basketball players are involved in Fall Sports, and when you combine that and state rules that restrict your off season coaching ability most of my attention turns towards my own preparation. My ultimate goal during this time of the year is to be as organized and prepared for those first two weeks of the season as possible.

See what other coaches had to say on this topic:


One of the biggest challenges for modern coaches is to narrow down the mounds of information that you have accumulated over the course of the offseason.

  • Twitter & YouTube Video Clips you have saved

  • Great Special Situation Plays you’ve seen diagrammed

  • Offensive & Defensive Systems you’ve investigated

  • Articles and Books you’ve read on Leadership, Best Practices, etc.

The number one objective of this filtering process is to decide what exactly you are going to ‘go big on’. Coaches have to understand that there needs to be a few things that you do really well. There are perhaps dozens of sets or defensive options that you have set aside as possibilities for your program. But at this point coaches must be able to decide what ‘seamlessly’ fits their systems, and what does not. Some of these things they have explored will have to remain ‘sets they love’, but ultimately ones that are not implemented.

Another factor coaches need to consider is what types of ‘non- X&O’ strategies they choose to implement. The reality is that coaches who try to implement every team building, leadership, or coaching strategy they encounter in the offseason will ultimately fail. Coaches need to be critical in asking themselves what new strategies (if any) they are willing to go big on, and implement those alone. The concept of being great at a few instead of being average at many needs to be in the front of our minds.


One project I worked on last preseason was to create a drill library. The goal was to put all of our practice drills and concepts in one place that I could access quickly. During the season I could easily refer back to the drill library when it came time to plan practices. This drill library consisted of our core practice concepts (skills, transition, short sided games, etc), and for any drill to make the library it had to pass a number of standards, most importantly that it accurately replicated a game moment for us.

My process included watching a number of our own practices on film, examining last season’s practice plans, and using our game model as a guide. We decided to eliminate any concept or drill that did not replicate a game moment, anything that did not elicit high energy from our players, or anything that did not develop skills used within our systems. Trying to simplify drills and then combining skill development and our offense within those drills were key factors in determining what stayed and what did not. Now that we are a year removed from that initial project I think we could even further reduce what is included in the drill library.