Developing a Plan

By Brian Gotta, President of CoachDeck

Your first order of business should be to develop a thorough plan before each week’s practice. By using the vast library of drills available in your CoachDeck you’ll quickly be on your way to running a crisp, fun and valuable practice that will have your players constantly on the move, and eager for more learning.

Spend some time before each practice and ask the seven essential practice-planning questions:
1. What are the two or three things our team needs the most work on?
2. How much time do I have available to me?
3. What resources do I have? (i.e. field/court equipment, training devices for player stations, etc.)
4. What restrictions do I have? (i.e. missing players, splitting time on a field/court with another team, weather/field conditions, etc.)
5. How many Assistant Coaches, (or helpers), will I have at practice?
6. Which drills from CoachDeck will help me accomplish my practice objectives?

The necessity of question one is clear. Since you will have a limited amount of time, and attention from your players, you’ll want to utilize it wisely. I have probably never run a practice when I felt I wouldn’t have liked to cover at least four more things when it was over. You’ll need to decide which three or four aspects of the game your team needs the most work on, and try to really dig in and hit those areas hard. And since you know how much time you have, you should try to prioritize the things you’re going to cover and give them each a pre-determined amount of time.
You may also want to spend a little time considering the resources available to you. If you are coaching baseball, for instance, and the field you will be using has a batting cage, or if you own your own net, you can have a station dedicated to hitting that is separate from the rest of the field. In soccer or basketball you may need to practice on a field/court with only one goal. Certain drills would be better than others in these cases. The same holds true for question four, “What restrictions do I have?” If you are going to be without four players, you may not be able to plan an inter-squad scrimmage. If you know it will be wet and rainy, it might be better to do fewer drills that involve running at full speed and changing direction, and do more static drills where kids won’t be as prone to slip and fall.

And knowing how many coaches you’ll have to help out will help you plan which of the drills you’ll be able to pull from the deck so that all of your players are constantly in motion. With the answers to these six questions you can easily come up with an effective game plan, allowing you to run a fast-paced and organized practice for your players.

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