• BJ Mumford, B.S.S

Wondering how to help your child practice at home? Here's our 4 P’s for a great practice!

Here are our best tips for helping your player have a great practice session while you're at home this holiday season:

1. Prioritize

  • Ask yourself - what does your child do most frequently in a game? (Note: this may be different than what you WANT them to do in a game)

  • The goal here is to start with the familiar - something they are already attempting in games, such as catching a pass within range to shoot.

2. Play first!

  • Create context by playing first - 1v1 closeout vs mom/ dad is immediately motivating! (Examples below)

  • Limitation drives focus - Without the option to pass to a teammate hot-potato style ( I used to be that kid) they will have to shoot or drive, simplifying the process.

  • Focus on offensive skills first - Player on permanent offense - scores 2 or 3 points on a made basket, parent defender scores 1 point for a player's miss. Play to 7 points.

  • Create "desirable difficulty” (Credit to Noah LaRoche for this term!) - be a great defender and still let them succeed (If your child is 7/8th grade or older, this may require your best effort!)


3. Practice!

  • Establish 1 consistent technique for 3-5 perfect reps - in our example of catching a pass, focus on footwork when they catch the pass, using either “yes” when they do it correctly, or “try again” if not. For an example of our stride 1-2 footwork see below:

  • Isolate a binary decision to go with technique - e.g. Defense hand down = shot, hand up = drive. Again 3-5 correct decision reps are all that is needed and can be done as slow as the player needs to do it comfortably.

Hand down = shot


Hand up = drive



4. Play again!

  • Repeat the 1v1 closeout game you started with.

  • This time, the technique must be executed on every catch to be valid. If not executed correctly, replay it.

  • The decision function will take care of itself - correct decisions lead to advantages that lead to scoring!

  • For best results, use the 1-second rule = they must decide to shoot or drive within 1 second of catching the pass. (Counting out loud "one-one-thousand" as a decision clock works great!)

You’re done! 15- 20 min total practice is best, 30 min max. Short, focused, and effective practice applied to real game situations is what players need most to increase their comfort level, courage, and capability for executing any skill correctly at game-speed.


If your player lacks confidence, this process is THE best way to bridge the gap between what they know in theory and what they can execute in live competition.



BJ Mumford, B.S.S

Practice Design Specialist, and Confidence Guru

BJ@play-practice.com 603-303-3972



"We help kids bridge the gap between practice and games, giving them the confidence they need to compete at their next level.”

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