How To Plan Your Youth Football PracticeSeptember 2, 2011 No Comments
Here’s an important FACT about coaching football. The single most important thing you can do is to have a well-thought out, structured practice plan every time you step on to the field.
Poorly planned practices leave your players bored, waste your valuable field time, and make you look clueless.
Here’s a proven formula for creating a killer practice that rapidly builds skills and is loads of FUN for your team.
The most effective football coaching practice structure involves dividing time into 7 key “Training Blocks.”
- Warm-up & Stretching
- Review of New Team Plays and/or Conditioning
- Individual Techniques by Position
- Special Teams
- Group Work
- Game Preparation and Team Drills
I’ll go through each training block now, so grab your favorite beverage and settle in.
1. Warm-Up & Stretching
Begin practice by having a coach or a team captain lead the team in warm-up activities.
One way to kick off practice is to have the entire team run one lap around the field, followed by full body stretching exercises.
To assist in attendance taking, have the team stretch in a large circle. While the team stretches, the coaches can take attendance, correct stretching technique, and outline the goals of the day’s practice.
2. Review of New Team Plays and/or Conditioning
When introducing new offensive or defensive plays, it’s best to get them taken care of towards the beginning of practice before your team has tired mentally and physically.
Explain to your team how long you need their focused energy to help reduce distractions.
A player who knows he needs to focus on a new play for 10 minutes will generally outperform a player who was not given a timeline.
When reviewing a new play or defense, focus first on specific assignments.
Give a quick explanation followed by a run-through at half speed. If possible, try to only introduce 1 play at a time (2 at the most).
If you don’t have new team plays to review, this time is best spent on conditioning exercises.
Doing conditioning exercises towards the start of practice will prepare your team for success in the second half of games.
Players need to be able to play quality football even when they are tired!
3. Individual Techniques by Position
Divide the team up by position into as many groups as possible based on the number of coaches you have available.
Each group should be taken to a specific corner of the field to work on a number of position specific drills.
This is technical coaching… the nitty-gritty of each position needs to be taught. Use this time to get players excited about their position, make sure
they clearly understand their responsibilities and role on the team.
My ebook includes 65 proven “Individual Technique” drills for quarterbacks, receivers, linemen, linebackers, defensive backs and running backs.
You can download a copy of it here: http://www.coachstevetucker.com/ar/drills.html
4. Special Teams
Plan to cover two elements of the kicking game during each session (ie. Punt and punt return on one day, field goal and field goal block on the next, kickoff and kickoff return on the next).
Try to simulate game situations by having one of your assistant coaches act as a referee or operate a game clock. This will increase the pressure on your players and prepare them for “live game situations”
5. Group Team Work
This block of practice is devoted to playing segments of the offense against segments of the defense using small groups.
For example, the OL and DL can practice against each other on run blocking and pass protection.
The QB, RBs, TE, WRs can be working with the LBs and DBs on a passing drill.
This is a time to get reps in. To avoid injury, begin by running drills at half speed. Later in the season, as your players have mastered their fundamentals, you can run these drills full speed with light tackling.
6. Game Preparation and Team Drills
During this training block you want to focus on preparing your team for game situations. The entire offensive team will work against the entire defense.
This block should be used to:
- Fine-tune the timing of your offensive and defensive plays.
- Ensure players understand and can execute their assignments.
- Prepare your team for game speed play.
During the season, use this time to prepare your team for what they might see against upcoming opponents.
In the first half of the block, the defense should try to give the offense a look at the alignment of the opponent’s defense.
In the second half, the offense should run plays similar to those the defense can anticipate their opponent’s running.
Don’t be afraid to take a player aside and correct mistakes during this block. Make notes of drills that can be run the next day to address mistakes or errors that you see during this block.
Most coaches don’t take advantage of the cool-down period like they should. It’s important to take the intensity down a few levels during this period, but don’t forget that this is a FOOTBALL practice.
You can have a football based cool-down where you run plays at half speed against no one.
This way you get MORE repetitions in with your players and can correct alignment or other mistakes.
Also, your players will most likely prefer running through football movements instead of jogging.
If you’ve had a particularly strenuous practice, you may want to lead them in a short period of cool down stretching.
Also remind the players to hydrate themselves once practice is over.
At the end of practice be sure to praise players who performed well. Provide some feedback on positives or negatives you are seeing during the session.
Finally, give the team and idea of what is to come the next day and send the kids home for the night.
And that, my friend, is how a good football practice is run!
Just take 5 mins to review the day’s plan and you’re ready to go.
No stress… no bother…
And total CONFIDENCE every time you step on the field.Tags: Practice, tucker, youthFeatures, Post Patterns, Practice, Steve Tucker