This guide is designed to help coaches understand some of the unique aspects of coaching in the Rockville Centre Basketball League and to assist in the teaching of fundamentals of individual and team play to all grade levels.


At the core of the RVCBL is guaranteed playing time. Each player present (on time) must play at least half the game. There are 10 players on each team, and if all are present everyone plays two quarters. Players are ranked 1- 10. Rankings are done prior to the season and twice during the season. An absent players time is given to the players ranked immediately above and below him/her. For example, if the player ranked #5 is absent, players ranked #4 and #6 will each play one extra period. Please refer to RVCBL Rule D1 for more specifics and note rule D2 to explain a situation where one player may play two periods and another player may play four. (Remember, by rule, each player must play half the game, not necessarily an equal amount.) As a coach it’s important to familiarize yourself with the entire rulebook, but especially the “Players Eligibility and Substitutions” section. When questions do arise, please ask the commissioner present at your game for proper procedure.


Selecting your line up:


It is strongly recommended that you prepare your line-up before you arrive at the gym. (Arrive at least ten minutes before game time.) Ideally, those players not attending will have informed you prior to game time, although it is not uncommon for players not to call. Therefore, you should always be ready to make game time adjustments as necessary. In balancing your line-up, try to have at least one player capable of bringing up the ball and one tall player capable of getting rebounds in each quarter. Also, a good balance throughout all four periods is recommended, leaving your strongest unit for the fourth quarter. Most coaches play their #1 player in periods 2 and 4, but that is coaches’ discretion. Putting thought into your line up and having balanced periods increases the chances of good competitive games and is beneficial to the players and the league.


Suggestions for Practices:


Prepare - Because of the constraints of available gym time, each team that practices is usually limited to sharing a gym only one hour per week. Therefore, in order to maximize the use of the allotted time, it is highly recommended that you prepare in advance and map out your practice session, generally dividing them into periods of instruction for skills, drills and playing (scrimmage) time with your own team and the team sharing the gym.


Scrimmage full court – If both coaches agree it is a good idea to use some practice time to scrimmage full court. Frequent player substitution is recommended to avoid players sitting for any length of time. Usually, coaches scrimmage at the end of practice. (That also helps to keep the players focused on the drills when you can tell them that, after they work on the fundamentals, they will scrimmage.)


Practice an inbounds play – It is highly recommended that each team practice at least one inbounds play. Nothing is more frustrating for a player, especially younger ones, than not being able to inbound the ball in a game.


Lining up for a foul shot – Especially in the younger divisions’, make sure they know where they should be when each team makes free throws, including who is boxing out the shooter.


Fundamentals - Teaching Points:




-         Feet approximately shoulder width apart.

-         Knees flexed head up.

-         Hands up/out to block passing lanes

-         Should be facing offensive player, back to basket.

-         See the ball and player being guarded

-         Stay between ball and player being guarded

-         Stay between player being guarded and the basket.

-         Eyes on waist of offensive player


Suggested drill:            Defensive Stance and Shuffle Drill


Players spread out over the court in sets of four or less and assume and maintain a good defensive stance. The coach points in the direction he wants them to shuffle (right or left). The players should not cross their feet or allow them to touch. Players must keep their heads up and react quickly to the coaches commands. This is also a good conditioning drill and can be used instead of sprints, when necessary, to help the players regain focus on the practice.




Ball Handling:

-         Keep ball low

-         Control with fingers

-         Head up, eyes forward

-         Be able to use both hands effectively


Suggested drill:            Dribbling Relay Race  (For Younger Players)


Form two lines on one side of the gym and have players race from one end to the other and then back, using one hand in one direction and the other hand on the way back. The coach can hold his hand above his head and make the players shout how many fingers he is showing as a way to ensure they are keeping their heads up. Make the players use a nice two handed pass when giving the ball to the next player. There is not enough practice time to run this drill too long, just a few minutes to give the younger players an idea of the importance of using good technique.




-         Pick out a target and hit it

-         Make pass easy to catch

-         Always use two hands

-         Pass, don’t throw


Chest pass:

-         Ball is thrown out of the chest with two hands

-         Hands are on either side of the ball

-         Extend arms and follow through (thumbs down)


Bounce pass:

-         Use two hands and extend like chest pass

-         Pick out spot on floor to hit so that ball comes up between thigh and waist level of receiver (usually two thirds of the way to target.)


Suggested drill:           Bounce/Chest Pass Alternate Drill


Form two lines facing each other about 12 feet apart. One line throws a chest pass and one line throws a bounce pass. After throwing pass the player moves to the right and switches to the other line. This drill should be conducted at a rapid pace with the coach stressing proper form.






-         Concentrate on target on backboard (Orange Box)

-         Extend shooting arm toward target

-         Inside shoulder drives towards basket

-         Do not pull away from basket

-         Jump off foot opposite the shooting hand

-         Drive same leg as shooting hand up toward basket



Jump shot:

-         Shooting side foot slightly in front of other foot for best balance

-         Feet and body should be square with target

-         Knees should be bent; flex legs for power and rhythm

-         Eyes should be on target and not follow shot

-         Ball should be held on fingers, palm off ball

-         Shooting hand should be underneath ball

-         Non-shooting hand must be on side of ball

-         Follow through (arm looks like a swan)



Free throws:

-         Get in position that is most comfortable

-         Do the same thing every time

-         Relax

-         Bend knees, same form as jump shot


Suggested drill:             Various


There are innumerable amount of shooting drills, including simple lay-up lines. It is important that players practice lay-ups for both sides of the basket and from down the middle. Coaches should actively preach the fundamentals. Make sure to spend some time teaching proper form on foul shots. Also, it is a good idea to make shooting drills competitive, either by breaking into two groups or by trying to have your team hit X amount of shots in a row.





-         Wide base with feet

-         Knees flexed

-         Elbows up so arms from shoulder to elbow are approximately parallel to the floor

-         Forearms extended up in air, ready to grab rebound

-         Two handed rebounded

-         Do not bring ball down - particularly tall players –elbows high


Suggested drill:            Box out Drill


Have four pairs of players spread out around the perimeter about seventeen feet from basket. (The fifth pair waits under the basket to rotate in.) The four defensive players position themselves between the basket and the offensive player, back to the basket, facing the offensive player. The coach puts up a shot; the defensive players box out and go for rebound. Teach the players to Locate the offensive player, Rotate and assume a good box out stance, and Jump for the rebound. (Locate, Rotate, and Jump!) Have the players rotate position once around then switch offense and defense and repeat.



Teach Sportsmanship:


The Rockville Centre Basketball League is an instructional recreational league that provides an opportunity for players of all skill levels to participate in organized games with guaranteed playing time. It is important not to place an inappropriate emphasis on winning and losing. Teaching fundamentals, teaching concepts of team play, teaching good sportsmanship and letting the players have fun is what is important. As a coach the players will follow your lead, so teach by example. Treat all your players with respect and make sure they treat each other with respect. Stay positive with your coaching. Remember that referees are human and will make mistakes. If you argue with the referee and get a technical foul you are teaching your players the wrong lesson. Keep the proper perspective as to where you are and what you’re doing there; this is RVCBL, not the NCAA or the NBA. It is an opportunity to be with your child, his/her friends and contemporaries and to contribute to our community. Please act accordingly and set a good example for our players.


Do Not Run Up The Score:


It is no fun to lose by 25 points and in this league, especially in the younger divisions, it should not happen. As the coach you can take steps to prevent your team by winning by an embarrassing amount. Have some of the weaker players bring the ball up the court, pull the defense back to the foul line, tell your team to slow down and not to fast break or have them make at least three passes before they take a shot. Keep the game enjoyable for all the players involved.


Do The Best You Can:


As a volunteer in this league you have made a commitment. Try to have fun in fulfilling this commitment, but also apply yourself, doing the best job you can. Spend a little time each week preparing for your practice. Come to the games knowing who is going to play what periods so you’re not coaching on the fly. Failure to prepare will place your team at a disadvantage, particularly as the season wears on and other teams get better each week. Even if several players are not going to make practice, have the practice anyway. The players who do attend can have a lot of fun for an hour and learn something as well. And with the other team sharing the gym, you should be able to scrimmage. Use the resources available to help you improve as a coach. Putting “basketball coach” in an internet search engine will show you the vast amount of books, videos and websites available to help anybody who needs suggestions for drills or in general just wants to become a better coach.