The Importance of Variability in Training

Posted on Oct 28 2021

Morgan Treloar is a South Australian coach who recently graduated from the Basketball Australia Emerging Coach Initiative. She has been sharing a series of adaptive and creative drills through social media for use in team practice and we asked her to share her thoughts on how to keep it fresh and fun for players.

I was once the coach who would turn my assistant during practice and say ‘the girls just aren’t going hard enough tonight’… Cue me calling the girls in for a speech about the importance of always ‘giving your all’ and practicing with ‘the intensity that you want to play at’. Needless to say, probably not the best strategy…

After reflecting on it, and chatting about it with other coaches, I thought to myself; they’re not lazy or unmotivated, they’re just bored (duh – lightbulb!). So, I started thinking about our practices. We always started practice with the same warm up drill (moving stretches into ball handling) and we always practiced our competitive drills with the same suite of 3-4 drills. Who could blame our athletes? When I really thought about it, I was bored too.

So I started looking for ways to practice the same skills with different drills and, most importantly, I started looking for drills that would make our athletes think. I decided I wanted to always start practice with something that made the athletes laugh and made them think!

I also wanted to find or create different SSGs that we could use during practice that would emphasise the same skills, but provide variability for the girls.

I found that by starting with an engaging warm up, our athletes were much more ready to jump straight into competing. I also found that the girls really responded to being asked to think for themselves (a small breakthrough in getting girls to talk on the floor – let them have some ownership of the ideas). I think for them, it meant that we respected their thoughts and ideas, and this was a huge deal.

I love looking at other sports, or even PE drills, to find different ideas that I can adapt to a basketball setting. I think we can take so much from other sports to put into our practices, but I also find it so fun to challenge myself to create something that works and something that’s different.

Follow Morgan on Twitter @morganctreloar for some great drills and small sided games ideas.

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