5-on-5 Practice Framework for Player and Team Development

Welcome to the ultimate guide designed for coaches seeking to transform their approach to practice and player development. Explore the 5-on-5 Practice Framework by Chris Oliver, which provides a detailed look at how it can be implemented in a dynamic practice environment. Experience firsthand Coach Oliver’s focus on enhancing player and team growth, going beyond traditional drills to cultivate strategic thinking, decision-making on the court, and team unity during competitive gameplay.

This resource is a must-see for coaches aiming to enhance their practice sessions by fostering adaptability, deepening their understanding of the game’s complexities, and building a cohesive team ready for real-game scenarios. Embrace the principles of Basketball Immersion as we uncover Coach Oliver’s innovative techniques for improving player and team development. In this article, we will highlight the key concepts and strategies discussed in this podcast episode, where Chris Oliver delved into experiential and evidence-based approaches to creating a framework for player and team growth.

Teach the Drill Before the Skill

One of the fundamental principles we discussed is the importance of teaching the drill before the skill. By providing players with a clear understanding of the purpose and mechanics of a drill, they can better grasp the underlying skills it’s meant to develop.

Let Them Play the Game and Figure It Out

Rather than micromanaging every aspect of practice, allow players the freedom to play the game and figure things out for themselves. This fosters creativity, decision-making skills, and a deeper understanding of the game.

Give Them a Spacing Template

Effective spacing is key to offensive success. Provide players with a spacing template to help them understand optimal positioning on the court and facilitate better ball movement.

Teach the Tactics

While drills are important for skill development, it’s equally crucial to teach players the tactical aspects of the game. Help them understand concepts like when to shoot, pass, or drive, and emphasize decision-making in game-like situations.

Whole Whole Whole Part if They Need It

Tailor your coaching approach to the needs of your players. While some may benefit from breaking down skills into smaller parts, others may thrive with a more holistic approach. Adapt your coaching style accordingly.

Teach the Concepts Using Principles of Play

Rather than focusing solely on individual skills, teach concepts using principles of play. For example, when teaching defense, emphasize concepts like the game of opposites to help players understand positioning and rotations.

Constraints to Shape Learning

Utilize constraints to shape learning and encourage creativity. By setting specific rules or limitations, you can challenge players to think outside the box and develop innovative solutions to game situations.

Hard First Instruction

Provide players with challenging tasks or instructions upfront to better prepare them for future demands. By exposing them to difficult situations early on, they’ll develop better awareness and resilience on the court.

Conceptual Defense

Shift the focus from rote memorization to conceptual understanding, particularly on defense. Help players understand their roles and responsibilities on the court, and emphasize concepts like shrinking the floor to disrupt opposing offenses.

Consequences and Triggers

Implement consequences for mistakes to reinforce learning and accountability. Additionally, teach players to recognize triggers – cues or situations that prompt specific actions – and respond accordingly.

Follow Feedback with Action

Feedback is essential for player development, but it’s equally important to follow it up with actionable steps. Encourage players to implement feedback in practice and games to facilitate continuous improvement.

Listen to the full The Basketball Podcast on these concepts:


Effective basketball practice transcends the monotonous routine of drill repetition; it is a strategic dance between empowering players to think critically, encouraging them to make informed decisions, and equipping them to adapt seamlessly to the unpredictable nature of game scenarios. When these foundational concepts are woven into the fabric of your coaching philosophy, you not only unlock the latent potential of your team but also propel their performance to unparalleled heights. Embrace this holistic approach to practice, where each session is not just about physical exertion but also about fostering mental acuity and strategic prowess on the court.

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