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3 STEPS TO GETTING THE MOST OUT OF

YOUR PRACTICES

1. BE ORGANIZED!

Some coaches are very organized, and some are not. For some, the idea of having a minute by minute practice plan in the hands of every coach is a “no brainer” and for some it’s a new idea.

I firmly believe that in order to get the most out of every single practice, you’ve got to sit down and plan out those practices minute by minute. This should be done with your coordinators so that you get their input and buy in for the practice schedules. I had a great mentor in Perry Krosschell who had just come from the college level while we worked together at Linfield Christian in Temecula. He was the Head Coach there for a few years, and groomed me to take his spot when he moved to Iowa to start a football program at Unity Christian in Orange City.

Coach Krosschell introduced me to the minute by minute practice plan idea, and I’ve used it ever since. From your “pre practice time” to your “post practice” time, everything should be planned out and put on paper and in the hands of your coaches so they know exactly what to expect and when to expect it. There is nothing worse on the practice field than starting a new drill, only to be called over by the head coach for team time. This won’t happen if your coaches are organized by the practice schedule they should have ahead of time. For Training Camp, I would give all of our practice schedules out to our coaches before the first practice. They would get 2 weeks of practices that myself and the coordinators would have put together during June/July. Obviously, some of these will adjust as you get going but with putting them on Excel, they become very easy to make last minute adjustments.

I would also try to get these in the hands of the players, so they know

I would also try to get these in the hands of the players, so they know what to expect. At the very least, I would post it in the locker room before each practice so they could get a sense of what we were trying to do that day.

Below is an Practice Plan for a Spring practice from 2008. You will see the detail that we have. This one is set up by position.

CVCS FOOTBALL PRACTICE PLAN

Date: 5/30/08

 

Time

Length

Activity

3:20

10

Warm Up

 

Offensive

3:30 10

Indy

3:40

15

7 on 7

SPRING #3 Position Specifics

W/QB/F/Z

with Coach Fore

Intro waggle, flood, wx switch, pass with Xs Strong Pass Strong Pass WX Switch

X

OL/Y

with Coach Logan/patterns – post, post corner, jet, stop with W/QB/F/Z/Y Strong Pass Strong Pass WX Switch

with Coach Del Balso

Y with 7 on 7

3:55 10

4:05 2

4:07 5

4:12 20

4:32 18

4:50 15

5:05 5

Team

Offense

WATER

Form

Tackling

Defensive

Indy

Pattern

Reads

Strong Waggle

Strong Waggle

Strong Flood

Strong Flood

New York

New York

all positions together

all positions together

all positions together

huddle/cadence

huddle/cadence

huddle/cadence

script on back

script on back

script on back

WATER

WATER

WATER

W/QB/F/Z

X

OL/Y

all positions together

all positions together

all positions together

block pro and shed with DL-5 min block pro and shed-5 min block LB-5 min pro and shed with

stance and footwork-5 min

pass drops-10 min

LBs and DBs together

footwork drills-15 min

get offs in chutes-5 min

run reads-20 min(base an

reach)

LBs and DBs together

continue run reads

Team

Defense

formation recognition

formation recognition

Stretch

OFFENSIVE SCRIPT

1Base Right Strong Pass

2Base Right Strong Waggle

  • 3 Tight Right Sap Strong Pass WX Switch Z Jet

4Over Right Strong Flood

5Wing Left Strong

6Over Right Strong Keep

7Base Right Jet Strong

8Over Right Strong Quick Pitch

9Base Right Strong Trap

10Wing Left Strong Option

formation recognition

2. BE PREPARED!

One of the biggest practice time wasters is when coaches say “Okay, o line over this way. Now,

go get me those bags in the shed.” All of a sudden, he is losing 4 minutes of his 20 minute

individual time because he wasn’t prepared. Prepared coaches need to set their drills up before

practice begins. This is key to getting the most out of your practice time together. Get your

bags, cones, balls, sleds prepared ahead of time. Use your kids to help do this if you aren’t

fortunate enough to have managers. Get your gear to the sidelines nearest to where you will be

so that you are ready to go as soon as your time starts. This will help you make the most out of

every single snap.

so that you are ready to go as soon as your time starts. This will help

You will see in my Spring practice plan above that we have ten offensive plays scripted out.

Again, I believe this is key to an effective practice. If you fail to put together a script for

both your offensive and defensive team time, you really are shooting in the dark with what

needs to be done. Again, your coordinators should put these scripts together and they should be

on the practice plan so that everyone is on the same page, and you can move through things

quickly.

Also, this will help you avoid doing some plays too many times, and some plays not enough!

Have your play list right there with you as you put your practice scripts together. Another thing

this script will do is give your plays numbers. What is more frustrating as an assistant coach,

let’s say you are the running backs coach, and you are teaching a kid off to the side, and you

don’t hear the play called. So, there goes the offense to the LOS and they run a play and you

don’t know what you are looking for. As the HC, once we got off the script, I would always yell

out the play number a few times so that my coaches knew what we were doing. This is all a part

of being prepared!

3. BE ENTHUSIASTIC!

This is key to getting the most out of your players AND coaches. It’s the biggest challenge for

me to be honest. I’m not naturally enthusiastic as some guys are. I’m more of a pessimist than

an optimist. More of an “all business all the time” type of guy. I’ve had to work at being

enthusiastic as the Head Coach. Let’s face it, if you aren’t leading from the front with

enthusiasm, you either better get some great assistants who are doing this, or find a way to

“fake it till you feel it!”

About my second or third year as a Head Coach, some of the guys who had played JV for me,

and were now on my varsity team told me that I wasn’t as much fun anymore. That kind of hurt

me. They didn’t understand that I was now the Varsity Head Coach, not the JV Head Coach

buddy old pal! But in one way, they were right. I wasn’t having as much fun as the Varsity HC.

I was putting too much pressure on myself, and not letting loose a little, and not being nearly as

enthusiastic as I was. This was a key mistake that I had to fix in order to get the most out of my

players.

enthusiasm, you either better get some great assistants who are doing this, or find a way

Pete Carroll is a great motivator, one reason is because of his enthusiasm at practice.

If you aren’t being enthusiastic, are kids going to be excited about playing in your program? Are

they (and your coaches for that matter) going to enjoy coming to practice? I believe they need to

enjoy it to a certain extent in order for you to maximize your time with them. Enthusiasm on the

practice field spreads like wild fire. Jump around a little bit, yell positive things! See what

this does for your kids! If you are not naturally an enthusiastic person, they will love to see

it, and you will bring a new energy to the practice field!

Find kids to praise, find kids to pump up, find kids to high five, find kids to encourage. So many

times as coaches we are correcting and teaching and training. Imagine if your boss never gave

you praise, never gave you some enthusiastic “atta boys!” (For some of you, this isn’t hard to

imagine is it?!) Remember what it was like as a player. The grind of practice can be hard. Be

enthusiastic in your praise of the kids efforts and attitudes (if they are deserved that is!) and it

will make practice much more enjoyable for your kids. Whether or not you agree with this idea

that it’s got to be enjoyable, look for some ways to notch up the enthusiasm this August!