Organizing Season Plans
By Coach Demiko Suggs.
Coach Demiko is the Head Coach & Offensive Coordinator for the UM Gators Jr Pee Wee team. The UM Gators play in the American Youth Football League.
“The absolute bottom line in coaching is organization and preparing for practice.” – Bill Walsh
A great quote by a Legendary Coach. As a young coach, I have struggled to balance both time and energy between learning x’s & o’s and planning the implementation of said x’s & o’s. The two months before the first practice of the season, was an absolute cram session. So many things to do, so many things to address, so many things to double check. I found myself to be moderately prepared for week 1. Week by week as the season progressed, we got better. By week 3-4, we would begin to hit our stride.
As a coach, I needed to be better prepared to better prepare the kids. My answer is the Season Plan. The goal is to generate a template/checklist that will help manage the season more efficiently. Below is the method that I utilize to create my Season plans.
The Plan is grouped into three Phases: Offseason, Season & Post-season:
The Offseason phase is focused on:
- System Development
- Staff preparation
The Season phase is focused on getting it done:
- Practice Plan
- Defensive Install (ALWAYS start with the defense. If they cannot score, they cannot win)
- Special Teams Install (You can steal 1 or 2 close games with well coached Sp. teams)
- Offensive Install
The Post-season phase is focused on closure:
- E.O.Y Banquet
- Coaches/Team Mom gifts
- E.O.Y Parent survey
- E.O.Y Coaches survey
Image 1: Schedule
This schedule allows me to pace myself and track my progress. At the youth level, a schedule that covers 12 months of the year is extreme. I freely admit that. (But I have aspirations of moving to the high school level.) Each year, this process is less of a burden. If your offensive and/or defensive systems are “pre-assembled”, this process will provide a checklist to ensure you’ve covered your bases.
If there is one thing that you should absolutely take away from this article, it is the Practice plan. The Practice plan (and its execution) is THE key performance indicator for every team on the planet. If you are not defining goals for each week of your season, your team is not as good as it could be.
Image 2: Organizing Season Plans for Practice
The Practice plan should define your weekly goals. This will facilitate your installs and serve as checkpoints for your coaches. Once you have defined your goals, you will need to find the practice format that works best for your staff and team.
Image 3: Practice Format
Practices should be fast paced and organized. Plan to use every possible minute. Keep the kids engaged from the beginning to the end. Stick to the schedule as much as possible. Utilize a Fundamentals coach for one on one and/or small group instruction. This will allow the practice pace to remain brisk and allow players that need help to receive it.
I prefer to teach/practice in a progression.
⦁ Individual skills must be taught first
⦁ The Group session is focused on the Offense/Defense working as a unit.
⦁ The Team session is designated as the repetition phase of practice. Provide the DC with a script of 20 plays (alternating fronts e.g. 4-4, 5-3, 6-2) 20 plays…20 minutes.
The Season plan is simply, a tool for any coach to be better prepared. The ‘schedule’ should fit your needs. It could easily be a 2-3 month plan (or less) in duration. As a coach in general and a HC in particular, you ARE going to deal with every step listed. Do yourself a favor, get in front of it and spend more time actually coaching your players.
Follow Coach Demiko on Twitter: @CoachDSuggs