Secrets to Effective Practice Planning

As a youth football coach, one of the biggest challenges you will face is how to create an effective and efficient practice plan. Let us examine key points on how to properly create a plan.

How do you define a plan?

A plan is a written and understood roadmap that is structured to display who has to do what, when and how to achieve a defined goal. A plan can also be a problem solving reference point. When there is conflict, you will have a plan to refer to.

A plan could be an elaborate structure created on a whiteboard, or practice drills you scribbled on a napkin while at dinner- plans take on many shapes. Think of a plan as your practice coordinator, it is there for you to refer to.

You will set a positive tone, and a sense of purpose for your youth football practices with an effective plan, therefore it is important to take the time to set it.

Secrets to Effective Football Practice Planning

  1. First and foremost, kids football practices should be fun in order to captivate the attention of your players. The last thing you want is your little guys bored.
  2. Be reasonable with your objectives. We all want to win- challenge them but realize the limitations of your kids.
  3. Plan to keep it moving- station to station- kids should not remain idle during practice time. A proper practice plan is highly efficient, otherwise you will see your kids in daydream mode.
  4.  In your plan, define the objective to be achieved, a well organized practice. Now write down 20 specific ways for you to achieve this, examples: (1) drill station shift after 2 minute intervals (2) combination drills (3) coaches talk, five minutes (4) rest break refresh, ten minutes.. and so on. Ask yourself, what has worked in the past and what has not worked- implement or remove.
  5. Set your priorities. Examples:
    1. I will devote 20% of my time working with linemen on the fire out drill and work with blocking shields.
    2. I will gather my coaches for meeting during water breaks and discuss observations.
  6. Define the path to be followed to reach your objectives. This will break down the who, when, what and how. Here you will define your team roles, what kids are in what position, what are their individual goals, and how they will reach them.

The basics of your practice plan will include the following:

  1. Stretching + Warm Ups
  2. Individual skill position drills – offense
  3. Team drills – offense
  4. Individual skill position drills – defense
  5. Team drills – defense
  6. Special teams
  7. Sprints and fun competitive challenges

As you review your practice plan, do a walk through with your coaches and adjust where necessary. Good luck coaches and go get it!

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