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PostPosted: 21 Jul 2014, 15:23 

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I have read tips online that practice plans should be very detailed including time spent on each drill. What is your experience with this?

For a good while I spent a lot of time making practice plans on my PC, (but not with time spent on each drill, at least not by the minute). I found myself putting in too much and it stressed the hell out of me. I scrapped that eventually and just thought about what I wanted to go through between practices, just having a plan in my mind, and it felt way better. I coached a youth team and things take longer than expected and I wasn't always able to follow everything in my plan, and a lot of corrections need to be made and unpredictable things happen


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PostPosted: 21 Jul 2014, 15:30 
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Try it both ways and see what works for you. I have found a combination works well for me. I usually try to plan out practice, but not always.

It's a daily adjustment to how you do things in each practice. Sometimes my best practices are unscripted. But other times I need to write things down because by the time I get to practice (work all day) I forgot all the stuff I realized we need to work on from the previous practice or game.

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PostPosted: 21 Jul 2014, 17:00 

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I think it depends upon the age level you're coaching, the amount of practice time you're allotted, and your personal organizational skills. I've seen coaches who never use a written practice plan and do just fine.

I've used a written plan for years because it gave me a reference point during practice and allowed me to keep the practice moving so I could cover more points. Especially at the younger levels, I ran into 1 hour practice times and before I knew it, we'd eaten up 40 minutes only covering half of what I wanted. I used the practice plan more as a guideline/reference point not a rigid letter-of-the-law plan.

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PostPosted: 22 Jul 2014, 10:16 
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I guess I was to anal...... I kept detailed practice plans. There were times I went off schedule but I learned that IF I was spending too much time on something I would move on and come back to it if I could...... OR put it in the next days plans
The thing I felt most important was that I saved every plan and kept them in a file for each team I played.

Its always nice to be able to go back and see what is important. I had a note book for each team we played.... Did I say I was Anal??


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PostPosted: 23 Jul 2014, 11:41 

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Ken -

That's saying a lot for someone who probably practiced every day during the week. I think you nailed it, those practice plans can serve as a way to keep you on track. Too easy to get caught up in a drill and not realize how much time has passed. With the little guys, sometimes that drill you think is "all that", isn't "all that". Having a few extra drills listed helps the practice keep moving.

At the younger levels, it's tough when your practice time is limited. Planning out my practices allowed me to think through which concepts and skills were most important and gave me a mechanism to maximize the allotted time.

I reached a point where I had variations on my practice plans based on different numbers of kids. When we played competitive ball in the summer, the teams would fluctuate depending on vacation, other sports, illness, etc., so planning for 5v5 or 4v4 drills sometimes didn't work. It helped to have alternatives written down on my practice plan (game-like drills for 10 kids, 9 kids, 8 kids) so I could change things on the fly depending upon how many kids I had that practice.

“If you don't know where you are going, you'll end up someplace else.” ― Yogi Berra

I ended up someplace else quite often when I didn't plan my practices.

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PostPosted: 24 Jul 2014, 09:54 

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I remember back to my first practice as a head coach. I thought through it in my head what I wanted to work on and how things would flow. Then, about 10 minutes into that practice with 8 co-ed 1st and 2nd graders I couldn't remember a damn thing I had thought about! I managed to survive the rest of the practice and made sure I had a typed agenda ever since then.

There are times we deviate a little from my plan based on how things are going or if we get no-call/no-shows, but I like to have it in my pocket as a reminder that at some point we need to move on to something else. The first portion of my practices nowadays have become pretty routine, so even the players generally know what's supposed to take place. But I like being able to have a list of drills and situations to help us flow through a practice. Every now and then I'll glance at it during a water break.

Fortunately last season my 4th grade girls team got to practice in the high school gym all season and we frequently took advantage of the scoreboard and game clock to keep us on a pace and for competitive drills.

I'm sure there are people that can go without the written plan, but I'm not one of them.


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PostPosted: 24 Jul 2014, 10:13 

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Do you use a stop watch to keep track of time spent on each drill?


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PostPosted: 24 Jul 2014, 10:42 

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larschristianalm wrote:
Do you use a stop watch to keep track of time spent on each drill?


I don't use a stopwatch. But I mark a time on my plan for when I anticipate moving on to the next thing. And I'm constantly checking my watch because I don't want the players becoming bored with a certain drill if we spend too long on it.

Having access to the scoreboard last year was awesome. It kind of spoiled me. We could put 10-15 minutes on the clock and work through our ballhandling and warmups. And we did a lot of timed drills that revolved around score and situation. I loved doing a 10 and 4 drill or something to that effect with the team.


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PostPosted: 24 Jul 2014, 17:17 

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Scoreboard is nice if you have access to one. I have a time (e.g. 7:15pm, 7:25pm) next to each drill like coachmt which gives me a guideline as to which drill I should be starting at what time during the practice.

One thing that helped me was telling the kids how much time was left in a drill. As the drill is coming to a close, I tell the kids "I need 3 more minutes of hard work and we're done with this drill". Seems like if the kids know there's and end in sight, they give it more effort. If they think a drill is going on forever, they can get bored. My 3 minutes could stretch to 5 min, but the kids didn't have watches so it worked out pretty well. Sometimes I'd throw in a, "give me three more makes" or whatever was the emphasis of my drill with a # I needed them to do and we were out of that drill.

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PostPosted: 28 Jul 2014, 13:51 
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I was lucky enough to have a manager to help with keeping me on track.... and if he wasn't there we had a clock in the gym. I did not want to spend 20 minutes on a 10 minute time segment. JMO


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