March is bittersweet for us. It means action-packed playoff basketball, but it also means that the season is coming to an end. As a coach, it’s best to stay in the moment if you’re making a tournament run. But if your season is over already, it might be time to start planning your offseason. What are the main duties of a basketball coach over the offseason? What things do you need to check off your to-do list? We asked our basketball coaches this question and got some helpful tips in response.
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Ryan Pipes / Ridgeland HS (GA)
The first part of the offseason we take completely off to let our kids recharge and think about what happened this past season. During this time we handout player self-evaluations and goal sheets for each player to fill out. Additionally, we meet with the upcoming senior class to discuss goals and plans for the following season. We firmly believe in getting player input into the plans for the offseason because we believe it helps to build the culture of the program. We want players buying into our system and having them involved in the planning process helps with this.
After spring break, we open the gym three days a week for player workouts. The player does these workouts individually and each player has a designed program for them to follow. It is the player’s responsibility to come to gym and get the workouts in on their own time without a coach.
Our summer program runs through the month of June and consists of team workouts, play days with other local teams, as well as team camps with the upcoming varsity group. Many of our athletes play several sports and are busy throughout the summer so we only go in June with optional open gyms in July. Players who are expected to contribute are expected to not miss any workouts and should encourage all other players to be at these workouts as well.
Chris Poore / Jefferson County HS (TN)
Following elimination from postseason play, Tennessee mandates that you take 3 weeks off. This is a much needed break from the grind of the season and allows time for players to relax and rest. During this time, we reflect over the past season by having a banquet for our team. We will also attend spring sports together to support our teammates that play baseball or run track. This is a time when I can begin piecing together an offseason plan for myself and my team. I will find clinics to attend, meet with other coaches, and rest my mind from the stress of the year.
I will begin meeting with our guys 1-on-1 after the dead period and start developing a plan to help each one of them individually. I will help them develop a plan to work on areas of weakness, as well as strengthen their best attributes. We will begin working together as a team 3 days a week in the weight room, developing strength and coordination. This will continue until the last week of school, which is our spring practice week.
We will hold tryouts for the following year and practice for our upcoming June camps. During June we will practice 5 additional days and play on 10 play dates. We will attend out-of-town camps at universities for some of these dates. We will take the last week of June and first week of July off completely before starting our preseason workouts.
During these workouts, we will develop strength 2 days a week and have open gym time for skill development on 2 other days. We will continue this until we add our jumping program into the mix. Each week, we slightly increase our jumping reps. This will continue increasing until we begin conditioning, which means we will decrease jumping as we increase running. The running will be wide open just before the season.
We will take 5 days off of our conditioning to get our legs back under us before we start practice. This 5 day period will include skill development and open gym pick-up while still maintaining our weight program. When our season begins, we usually have increased our vertical, body mass, conditioning, and skill work. These workouts are also tailored to our guys individually so they are gaining in the areas that we need them gaining in.
Joe Daily / Gila Ridge HS (AZ)
The offseason with my program has always been a tricky deal, and I am sure a lot of other coaches deal with the same issue we have. We are from a small town where all our high school sports have to share the best athletes. Most of my players play 2-3 sports year round. I think in my whole program I have three players that only play basketball, and they are on travel teams.
In the past, we usually go strong in the months of May and June. In July, we take off to allow the kids to prepare for football. Then when August hits, we go strong again, but mainly in the morning to accommodate for all of those athletes playing other sports. I still did the usual open gyms and weight rooms after school during the months of August through October. However, not many of my “good” basketball players were at these workouts because they had football, cross country, or swimming.
This upcoming offseason, I am going to really try to provide as many opportunities for all my basketball players to get better from the months of March through October. We just ended our worst season in the past four years, so we have a lot of work to do. The only way this is going to work is to get the kids to buy into it though. In the next week or so, I am going to sit down with each individual player in the program and we are going to discuss their strengths and weaknesses, and where I see them for the upcoming season. Then from there, we will make short and long term goals together.
As a part of these goals, the athletes will decide how many days they will commit themselves to basketball a week during the months of March to October. For instance, a three-sport athlete that plays football, basketball, and baseball might be able to commit to 2 days a week in the gym or weight room as opposed to a one-sport athlete who can commit to 5 days a week. I am hoping this will give my players more ownership over their commitment and I can stay on top of them if they aren’t living up to their word.
I like to choose workouts that gear towards individual strengths and weaknesses. It will be a lot of work on my end, but those that really want to get better have to want to work on their weaker skills to improve our team overall. Our focus points will be on fundamental skills such as shooting drills, post work, finishing at the rim, defensive principles, etc. We will also focus on team drills and team offense and defense, since we will be playing in summer leagues and tournaments.
Another focus point we will be striving for this offseason is the weight room, nutrition, and monitoring rest. This will provide our athletes the best chance to get stronger, faster, quicker, and better at the game of basketball.
As for me on being a better coach, I am going to head to a few coaching clinics. The only one I know for sure I am going to so far is the Nike Coaching Clinic in Las Vegas in May. In addition to coaching clinics, I will probably watch some game film and find some things we did well and need to work on as a program. I am big on wanting to always learn and take criticism from other coaches, or even my players, to better myself as a coach. Having our postseason player and coach meetings will help me with this.