Tuesday, October 23, 2007

sure fire youth practice

coaching is 90 % preparation, or so i have been told. i am nuts about having smooth running practices. it is important to get players lots of touches, to disguise conditioning as lacrosse drills, and to build skills.

my typical middle school practice runs 1 1/2 hours. here are some key pointers which may help you run a productive session:

its important map out a seasonal practice grid at the beginning of the year. i try to introduce new concepts weekly. its easier when you bring in the following concepts in stages:

week 1 & 2 - conditioning, fundamentals, offense, defense
week 3 & 4 - rides, clears, EMO, MDD
week 5 & 6 - 2 man down, wing play, set plays

once i introduce a concept , i will continue to schedule drills for it and do it for the remainder of the season. i skip certain things on certain days, except conditioning and fundamentals which should be done every practice. i always abort any drills which are they cannot grasp or are having difficulty running.

here is a typical practice i will run on a given day:

5 min- team talk / practice preview / game recap

10 min- stretches / conditioning

15 min- fundamentals - passing and catching/ shooting / ground balls

20 min - individual skills- middies go to east goal / attack and long sticks go to west goal

work on 1v1's / 2v1's / 2v2's / 3v2's / and 3v3's / work on dodging / 2 man game/ finding space/ D footwork and slides/picks and screens

5 min - water break/ split team/ black vs gold

10 min - EMO vs MDD every practice! don't forget 2 man down

20 min- TEAM transition 4 v 3 / 5 v4 / 6 v 5 / full field drills / scrimmage

5 min - Cool down practice re-cap / daily awards for effort

90 minutes total.

obviously i can't work every scenario listed in one day, so i will rotate the drills daily to include as much as i can from the plan in a week. i.e. i will do 4 v 3 and full field drills on monday, 5 v4 and a scrimmage on tuesday, 6 v5 and another full field drill on wednesday, etc.

here are some pointers to keep a practice running smoothly:

1. time all drills, stick to the program. make comments short and save the details and lectures for the cool down.

2. tons of balls- bring 120 to practice. don't spend time chasing balls or doing ball hunts during practice. make the slackers or the disrupter's do the hunt after practice.

NEVER make a shooter chase a ball - i want to die when i see coaches do this - it teaches them to shoot in the middle of the cage so they don't have to chase balls. use extra goalies, assistant coaches, players, and parents for shot chasers. train shooters to "pick corners", not "don't miss the cage"

3. find what i call "coachable moments" when a player get frustrated or is struggling with a skill, pull them aside, compliment the effort and assist them 1 on 1. have assistants or captains work to improve new or inexperienced player

more specific stuff later....