Your Youth Football Practice Plan (Part Two)
A normal practice plan will be broken down into five, ten or fifteen minute segments. It will include such categories as individual period, group period and team period. This can be broken down into more detail but the point is that every coach should have this practice plan before practice starts so that everybody is on the same page.
If you expect your assistant coaches to actually help you and be as effective as they can be, it is important that they understand your organization and their role. Also by getting your assistant coaches a practice plan the day or night before, it can go a long way towards having an effective practice. Without a practice plan you may end up spending all of your time trying to coach everything or spend practice time explaining to your assistant coaches what to do instead of actually teaching your players.
Below is a very simple practice schedule from an NFL Rookie Mini camp that shows how to organize practice into small blocks of time. It also shows that if you get this to your assistant coaches in time, it also will allow them a chance to be more organized.
Let Your Parents In On The Practice Plan
There is nothing more frustrating to a young kid or to the parent of a young player than to arrive at practice and spend the first twenty minutes watching the coaches get organized. Once you organize your practice plan, let your parents know what time you are going to start practice and what time it will end.
Also, let them see that every minute is well organized and accounted for. This way when you say practice will begin at 6:30, the practice begins at 6:30 and there is no waiting around for everyone to get there. If someone is late they will just jump into the practice when they arrive.
Flag Football Too!
Some of you are thinking “But Coach this is just flag football and these are really young kids. Do I need a practice plan for this?” Our answer is “Absolutely”.
It may be more important for kids at this age because there are critical skills that must be taught or you just cannot play the game properly. It is important that you identify those skills and make sure they are taught and practiced. Here is a sample practice schedule for a YMCA Flag Football practice from a few years ago.
Once You Have A Practice Plan Template It’s Easy From There.
As you can see, the sophistication of what is being taught and coached may not be at a high level but that does not mean that the practice organization should be any different. At the very beginning of every practice we would call the players and the parents up to talk to them and show them the practice schedule so they all could see what was going to be taught.
It immediately set the tone and sent the message to both the players and parents “We are organized. This is the plan and this is how we are going to accomplish it.”
Finally, the great thing about a practice plan or practice schedule is once you create a template you can just go in before each practice and fill in the time slots. After you do the first one it really does not take very much time at all. Trust us when we say that the time you spend on a practice plan will come back to you exponentially when you get to your actual practices!
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