How to spend time effectively for Basketball Academy Directors

Running a basketball academy requires a variety of skill sets. A successful team leader needs to be a good teacher, communicator, salesperson, motivational speaker, bookkeeper, receptionist, and even a guidance counselor. The trick to running a successful program is knowing when to use which skill. For this reason, it is important to learn to become both effective and efficient with your time.


Being “effective” means doing the right thing.  Being “efficient” means doing things right. For example, you can be very efficient at reaching out to inactive athletes, but if you’re doing it when the gym is full, you should be on the court or in the stands speaking with parents, and therefore you are not being very effective. We have found that breaking your time down into three categories is extremely helpful in developing a high level of effectiveness and efficiency. The three categories are Down-timePrime-time, and Premium-time.

  • Down-time: Down-time is categorized as any time that the gym is empty. For a basketball academy this usually means any time before 3:30 in the afternoon.

  • Prime-time: Prime-time is categorized as any time the program is in session. Prime-time is usually between the hours of 3:30 pm and 9:00 pm at most basketball programs.

  • Premium-time: Premium-time is categorized as any time that you are at or near capacity. In most basketball programs, premium-time occurs between the hours of 5:00 pm and 7:30pm.


Let’s discuss what we should be covering in the each of these three time zones:

Down-time is probably the most underused, underdeveloped time zone in our business. Many professional basketball programs don’t even open their school until between 2:30 pm and 3:00 pm. Just in time to quickly vacuum the floors, straighten out the reception area, and turn on the open sign. Then they try to cram in all the Down-time activities into Prime-time. This makes for less effective classes as well as poorly executed business practices.


The most successful schools in the country make great use of Down-time. A brief sample of Down-time activities include: cleaning and repairing the facility, confirming appointments, checking inventory, setting up and handling renewal conferences, reaching out to athletes {both active and inactive}, training staff, and most importantly recruiting new athletes. Maximizing your Down-time allows you to make better use of Prime-time and Premium-time.

Compare it to a football game on Sunday. There are only 60 minutes of actual playing time; but, it requires a week of practice and takes nearly four hours to play. No matter how badly a team wants to win on Sunday, if they neglected to practice the week prior for when the clock is stopped during the game, they won’t win. Down-time is where most schools fall short. It is worth carefully evaluating to see how efficiently and effectively you’re using this time.

During Prime-time there still might be an occasional moment to where you can work on down-time activities. This might happen when there are plenty of coaches on the floor or the class is small. The priority, however, during Prime-time should be on the athltes, making sure that their needs are being met.

Premium-time is also known as "All hands on deck." Everyone on the team should be focused on the athlete experience. Remember, if you don’t handle Premium-time well, you’ll end up having plenty of Down-time. Make sure your entire team is aware of Prime-time and the need to deliver great energy during this time. Premium-time will vary depending on the time of day, size of the practice, and the number of available coaches. Developing maximum effectiveness during Premium-time is crucial to the success of a basketball program. 


Take a moment and rate yourself on your use of these three time zones.

Where are you strong?
Where could you use improvement?

Remember, "proper planning promotes peak performance." If you really discipline yourself to follow the Down-time, Prime-time, and Premium-time concept you will see your team leadership skills and the school you are responsible for grow to the next level.

Rick Campbell