How To Run An Effective Youth Football PracticeAugust 11, 2011 No Comments
Set up for Success — There are many factors to consider when developing a program for youth football practice, including the age and ability level of the players, time constraints the team might face, and the coach’s personal philosophy and approach to football.
Successful coaches agree that effective practices will cover offense, defense, and special teams and will include conditioning, drills and scrimmages.
Communication — Communication is key when establishing a practice schedule for the team. Coaches, players and parents should all be on the same page regarding the expectations for the team.
The responsibilities of the coach include:
- coming to practice prepared,
- informing the players and parents of expectations for practice, including start and end time and the consequences for tardiness,
- giving each and every player a chance to perform at their best,
- making sure players understand football terminology, including what it means to be their coach.
The responsibilities of the players include:
- knowing the coach’s expectations for behavior during practice,
- coming to practice prepared (in uniform, focused) and ready to perform,
- listening to and learning from the coach.
Structuring Practices — It is important to work on offense, defense, and special teams at each practice instead of only emphasizing one area per practice. This way, if a defensive player has to miss a practice, he will still be able to get some defense work in at the other practices that week.
Conditioning — Conditioning is most important at the beginning of the season and should include sprints, muscle wrap-ups, and resistance training. Conditioning will increase endurance and will pay off throughout the season.
Drills — Offense and defense drills should be run at each practice to teach the players the skills they need for game play. It is important to repeat drills to create muscle memory.
Scrimmages — Scrimmages give players the opportunity to put the skills they learned from drills into practice in a game-like scenario. Be sure to provide positive feedback and constructive criticism after running scrimmages.
Final Tips — Here are some final tips to keep in mind when establishing a youth football program:
- work on drills in small groups so that individual players get more time,
- change up the groups often so that players have the chance to interact with different teammates,
- make the drills a game to make practice fun ,
- keep the players moving at all times — no standing in line,
- encourage players to cheer on their teammates.
Tags: Football, how-to, Practice, youthFeatures, Post Patterns, Practice, Steve Tucker, Youth