Basketball season is 12 months a year these days. Sure, everyone takes a break here and there. But there really isn’t an off-season anymore. High school kids go right from the season to playing AAU and play a ton of games all summer and into the fall. In college, except at the D3 level, workouts have been added in the pre and post-season, and summer workouts are part of the routine. The season doesn’t have the same rhythm to it. It’s one long, steady buzz.
October 15th used to bring a ton of excitement. But that first day of practice (earlier nowadays for D1 and D2 programs) no longer really has any ring to it. Team practices have been taking place through the summer and into the fall. The 6 weeks before practice starts is pretty intense, with lifts, conditioning, individual and team workouts, and pick-up games. In fact, the schedule at the division I level slows down when practice starts. You just have to worry about practice and what days you are lifting. There is a smoother rhythm once practice starts.
As a coach you need to take this into account. Instead of having a pre-season, in-season and post-season, it makes more sense to have a 12-month plan. Figure out when you and your kids need some time off, or just some time away from each other. Give your assistants more responsibility for workouts and development in the fall, so that when you start with practice your voice has an impact. Chart out what you want to get accomplished in different phases of a 12-month cycle, with rest and recovery as a big factor. When the season went from mid-October to mid-March, rest and recovery took place in the off-season and summertime. But those phases of the season have changed. So your approach in the season probably needs to change as well.
I’m not really a fan of the year long approach. I was never comfortable having a team practice with my players during the summer. I’ve learned that separation and allowing the kids to learn, grow and play on there own is a big part of a championship culture.
Think about the long haul. Basketball is a 12-month sport these days with most of the kids you coach. Make your adjustments accordingly.