For several years, college basketball teams have kicked off their season with a Midnight Madness practice. These practices normally draw large crowds of fans, alumni, boosters and media. Normally the practices are not so much about practice but tend to be a big party to get everybody hyped about the upcoming season. More and more high school coaches around the country have begun to incorporate a Midnight Madness Practice into their schedule in an effort to do the same.
If you are thinking about running a Midnight Practice for your program you need to do a little research before you publicize the event. First check your association rules on when you can officially start practice. The last thing you want to do is start practice to early and run the risk of facing a violation. Second check with your school administrators to find out what hoops you may have to jump through to make this work. Some administrators may not be on board if you are planning on keeping student athletes out late on a school night.
After you have researched the rules and guidelines you have to follow, start planning your practice. Set down with your coaching staff and discuss what you want to get out of the event. Are you looking to simply sneak in an extra practice? Are you trying to build team unity? Are you trying to build community support and excitement? Are you trying to do a little bit of everything?
Every program that runs a Midnight Madness has its own plan. It is important to organize your event and work to improve on it every season. There are several ideas a coach can use to ensure their practice is a success. Some coaches will invite everybody. Others keep it simple by just having players and coaches. Some coaches will invite guest speakers such as local college coaches and players. Some coaches will make it an all night event by having the players stay in the gym after practice in sleeping bags. This is a great way to get a second early practice in.
What ever you decide to do it is crucial to be organized and have the night planned out ahead. For example if you decide to keep your kids in the gym for the night you will need to plan for meals and a comfortable place to sleep. Also, you will be tired yourself so you need to consider having chaperones available. Depending on if your players have school the next day you will need to consider a reasonable wake up time that will give you and your players’ time to prepare.
If you are planning on having a guest speaker come to your practice you definitely need to prepare early. Finding a speaker can sometimes be a very difficult thing to do. Start by making several calls and sending out as many emails as possible. Understand that you may not get the speaker you want. Some college coaches depending on their conference and division rules are unable to speak with high school players during certain times of the year. If it dose work out you have more than one speaker you invite say yes, bring them out. It is never a good idea to tell someone you invited that you found someone better. Just organize your event to handle it.
If you are planning to invite the community to your practice, publicize it early and every where. Be sure to personally invite boosters and media. It never hurts to keep these people close to you and your program. This may be the one time during the season when you can control the press and get things started in a positive way. Also, be sure to invite future players. The younger you can get them excited about your program the better your future will be.
If you goal is to get more out of your Midnight Practice than just practice, think about other activities your players will enjoy. Competitions, music, movies, food, prizes and bonding activities are all areas you need to consider. Coaches that run a Midnight Practice to help unite their teams need to pay close attention to the activities. Let your players have fun and give them time to talk with each other throughout the night. Keep things moving and entertaining.
Running a Midnight Madness Basketball Practice to kick off your upcoming season can be a very rewarding and successful event. If you take a little time and organize the event your players will look forward to every season.