Have an Effective Practice

Basics: Part One

It is VERY important for a coach to hold practices that are fun, active and teach the proper fundamentals.

Practice is where the kids learn that it is alright to make mistakes. They need to learn from their mistakes to feel confident in a game situation. If a young athlete is afraid of making mistakes, they will be hesitant and not grow as a player. They will NOT enjoy the game either.

It is also critical to have very little "standing around" by the players. Set up stations with your assistant coaches with a few kids per station. This keeps the flow of practice more eventful and the kids will get more out of this time on the field.

Have a team meeting early in the season to make your expectations clear to the players and parents and to find out theirs. Expect them to show up on time and to pick their child up at the end of practice on time. There are exceptions, so don't make a big deal if a child is late occasionally, or if you have to stay a little after practice waiting for a player to be picked up. If it happens often then you need to discuss with the parent why they are continually late. Perhaps recommend carpooling with another family to get home.

The players and parents need to know that practice is not baby sitting. As a coach you must set the proper expectations of the players AND the parents. Ask parents to bring their child to practice 5-10 minutes BEFORE the scheduled start time. This will allow you to assemble the kids to prepare for practice.

Basics Part Two:

Command discipline from your team from the start. Do this by being firm with the team and minimize the messing around, but have fun! This is a tough balance to achieve, but can be done if you show a good work ethic, smile often and show them that you are enjoying yourself being with them teaching them a sport. Remember to have fun, it's a game!

They will play in games the way they practice. If you have an unorganized, undisciplined practice you should expect the same during games. It is unrealistic to expect any different.

Practice does not make perfect - "PERFECT PRACTICE" makes perfect. Now do not put this type of pressure on your team to be perfect during practice because they will fear making mistakes, but ask them to give their absolute best effort in trying to be perfect.

Emphasize enthusiasm, hustle and extra effort as your teams values. Ask them to have "high energy" as you work through drills and continually provide positive re-enforcement with constructive criticism.

NEVER yell at a player for not doing something right. Teach them the proper way and ask for their best. If they are giving you their best and still unable to complete the drill or task, it's alright. Be patient and understanding, not everyone will develop or improve at the same pace.


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