If you’ve ever coached youth rec basketball, one of the hardest things to do is to convince your players to practice when they’re not at actual practice.  After coaching one year and not having much luck with it, I finally came up with a pretty good way to do it…trophies and gift cards.  While not for everyone (gift cards can get expensive but trophies aren’t) I held a shot competition where whoever had the most shots at the end of the season would get a big trophy.  So instead of having 7 kids who wouldn’t practice, I had a team that put up over 20,000 shots over the course of a season, which is fantastic.  Of course, I also ran into one other small issue, what if the kid shooting can’t count, lol?  Luckily it didn’t affect the final outcome but it very well could have, just something to be aware if you decide to do it.

Season 2

The next season I got a little wiser with the competition, and made it the ‘5000 shot club’.  Whoever shot 5000 shots would get a big trophy, and if you shot 3000 you would get a little trophy.  That seemed to work better in that if you couldn’t count, you would only screw me out of a trophy and not another kid.  🙂  That’s the method I’m going to use going forward for sure to eliminate the counting problem from the first year.  Here’s a couple pictures of the trophies I handed out both years.

The first year I also handed out gift cards to whoever shot the most shots that week.  It actually worked quite well but got a little expensive so I decided not to do it the next year.  If I had unlimited resources it was worth doing though too, although the same kid ‘counting’ issue could crop up.


Just wanted to share one of the methods than can be used to inspire your team to practice.  Btw, the trophies shown in the pictures were $20 apiece, not bad at all for such a big trophy.  One thing I didn’t understand before I did this contest was how cheap trophies are, I always thought they were like $50 for the large ones, not true at all.

I think this year I’ll probably do the same thing as last year, where I gave out the big trophies for 5000 shots and the smaller trophies for 3000 shots.  I’m also trying to think of some additional goals for the players other than shots, but it’s more difficult because counting dribbles and things like that are a lot harder to do.  If I had unlimited practice time I’d probably make skill competitions for people to ‘graduate’ from and move to the next level but I’ve never had enough time to actually do that.  In most practices we have just enough time to do basic dribbling, layups, etc.




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