The first step to creating a season plan is to start with a calendar and identify key dates, such as:

  • when the season starts and finishes (including when finals or play-offs start and finish);
  • when practice commences;
  • when the team is selected (particularly if trials are being held);
  • when practice sessions can be scheduled (this may depend upon court availability);
  • game schedule (once known) and likely travel (which will often depend upon how the team travels – whether by bus, individual car, plane etc).

The coach can then include into the calendar other important dates that may impact when they or the players are available (e.g. representative commitments, school holidays).

Lastly, on the calendar, the coach may note other dates such as:

  • other games that they wish to “scout”;
  • venue availability (particularly if there are blocks of time when venues are unavailable);
  • factors impacting upon game preparation (e.g. if a game is to be televised), teams may not be able to access the court at certain times or may have to do additional media commitments);
  • “Pre-season” or “Off-season” dates (particularly if players are given programs or monitored during these times).

From the calendar, the coach can determine:

  • how many practice sessions they have;
  • conflicting commitments (either for the coach or the player);
  • the likely physical load that players will have throughout the season.

The coach then needs to determine the “technical program” for the team and individual players – what they want to teach and when it will be introduced. Whilst a coach might like to have everything in place prior to the first game, this is often not possible and the coach must prioritise when they introduce the various tactics and strategies.

Whenever possible, the coach should work with other staff (e.g. conditioning coaches) to finalise the season plan. As with any plan, the coach needs to review the plan as the season progresses and make variations as required.