I’m a huge believer in competitive practices. Competition has always been a cornerstone value of my culture. I want everything we do to be about competition.
Most coaches like to create competition every day by keeping score in every drill. Put something on the line, keep score and make sure guys are always competing to win. I like to make sure drills are competitive to create the edge we want in practice.
But I don’t think you want to make every drill competitive. There is actually some value in not keeping score, having some non-competitive drills. When the scoreboard is on and something is on the line, guys are competing to win – which is what you want. But it might not be the best way to get the most out of the drill.
There are times in practice when you need to teach, and you want to make sure you are repping a specific fundamental. In a competitive drill there is a natural inclination to play to the score and win the drill – regardless of whether or not you are doing it right.
If you want to work on defending against dribble penetration you can set up a 4 on 4 shell drill and tell the offense they are trying to drive until they get a lay-up. The purpose of the drill is to get multiple offensive drives off the dribble and force multiple efforts on defense. But if you are keeping score, the offense can easily lose sight of the purpose of the drill. They might not work the ball around the perimeter and force the defense to move their feet before driving it to the paint. They might find the best match-up on offense and just have that guy try and get a bucket. It’s hard to control what you want your team to do when you are keeping score and there is something on the line (like sprints).
Competition in practice is necessary to create the competitive edge you need to win. But it doesn’t mean every drill has to be competitive. Everything in practice doesn’t have to be worth a point. Sometimes to get what you want out of a specific drill, don’t keep score. It will allow you to set it up the way you want and get what you are looking for out of your team.