One of the greatest things about a basketball practice session is that there’s unlimited time to practice. Also, one of the worst things about a basketball practice session is that there is unlimited time to practice. This in no way simulates what it’s like to play in a game where a shot clock is instituted, which largely shapes the way the game is played. That is why the following list of three reasons why coaching and practicing with a shot clock can be beneficial to players. The benefits, in no particular order, are as follows:
- Time Management
- Muscle Memory
- Reduced Game Time Pressure
Any coach will tell you that time management can ultimately win or lose a game when it comes down to crunch time. So, a best practice is to prepare the players to perform in an environment where the clock is always ticking against them. A shot clock means that every play is done with purpose and meaning. Without a shot clock, players can feel as if they’re going through the motions without any real sense of purpose.
Practice allows your muscles to “recognize” the movements you frequently do. If players are used to passing the ball with purpose as the clock ticks down, it will be second nature to them in a game. If instead they practice in a way that encourages holding the ball for a long period of time, they will get used to this behavior and it will translate to the game. While it may be appropriate to pause practices and scrimmages at times, it may be best to let things play out as they would in a real game and then comes together to discuss at a later time.
Reduced Game Time Pressure
There are a ton of ways to reduce pressure in sports. One of the best ways to do this is to frequently put players in situations that are often found as stressful in a game. If a player has never dealt with what to do when the shot clock is at five seconds, odds are they will not be successful in a real game scenario. As players have more exposure to this type of practice, the real games will become almost second nature.