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practiceplans-featuredSometimes I as a Coach look back over the years and think to myself how could I have been that dumb? As recently as five years ago I used to think that daily written and distributed practice plans were for coaches that were new to lacrosse and just did not have my experience or knowledge of how to run a practice. I was an idiot.

I would get frustrated over shooting accuracy yet rarely practiced shooting, that was for the players to do on their own. I would be disappointed in our ability to win key face-offs even after practicing them for ten minutes on Fridays. It bothered me that players seemed bored and uninterested at practice even though we were always moving in drills…

I was an idiot.

[private]Now I am not by any means suggesting that I am no longer an idiot. But I have learned how to maximize productivity and interest in practice at levels I never thought possible. Let me start with a metaphor, you are on vacation, with one day left to go. Even if you plan to lie on the beach, you PLAN to lie on the beach…get it?

High School coaches have but two hours, Ok maybe a little more, but how can you be most effective. How can you practice in a way to put your kids in a position to be even more successful? Do you owe it to yourself to try? Do you owe it to your team?

At the recent IMLCA I was conducting interviews for Podcasts on the site and the level of preparation that each coach put into planning practice did not surprise me. And each one had a written plan. Most head Coaches are pretty confident about what they want to do and how they want it done…sound like you?

But occasionally, others, not necessarily you of course, simply assume the players as well as the Assistant Coaches can read your mind. So it works this way, your plans are not clear and communicated before the practice. The Assistants as well as players do an incredibly poor job of reading your mind. Then we get frustrated with them, and often verbalize as such. Seems crazy when you hear it that way…

The common denominators we picked up as kind of a consensus from Coaches both at the High School as well as at the College Level:

  1. Thought out the day before or the morning of practice
  2. Written well in advance of Practice, and printed copies
  3. Plans for Drills are analyzed as “game situation realistic” and modified accordingly.
  4. Delivered, Communicated and reviewed w Assistant Coaches
  5. Two schools of thought w communicating to players
    1. Some post on a board for players to see before practice
    2. Some review verbally the outline w players while they are stretching
    3. Some keep it a surprise as they do not want players holding back (as discussed w Roy Simmons III, Syracuse, in the Podcast)
  6. Include:
    1. Defined segments
    2. Specific times for each activity
    3. Specific Coaches participating or responsible for each activity
  7. Reviewed following practice w Assistants to determine which areas need to be reinforced
  8. And begin on tomorrow’s thoughts

Now, once we have a plan, what happens? Most Coaches assign a time (Manager) and really try to stick to the plan. Some might decide to go a full half hour on a ten minute scheduled drill in which the players are struggling.

The option is yours, however, most of the Coaches suggested that 10 minutes was the limit for a single activity. Drills that have issues are then reinforced through the week.

By writing out the plan in a quiet place, and reviewing past plans, you will find your efficiencies will improve dramatically as well as actually scheduling detail work such as Man Up, Face-offs, and specific drills to emulate game scenarios. This kind of moves its way into another topic, which game scenarios are implemented into practice plans and when. For more information, see the article Games 1 – 3, Are You Really Prepared?


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