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How To Write a Practice Plan

Looking for some new drills? Tired of doing the same ole' same ole' at practice? Don't know how to review a concept or strategy that your team struggles with?





I'm here to help!


When making a practice plan it's important to keep a few things in mind. 


1. Start small -- Start with something light, easy, and fun to get the juices flowing, the sticks and your athletes warm. It's also important to have a drill that they can accomplish relatively easily so you start practice off with a "win". This helps set the tone for the remainder of the practice


2. Progression drills -- Pick a theme or two for practice and start with drills that cover very basic components of your theme and work backwards. For example:


If I know I want my team to work on transition, I'd start practice off with a pattern (probably zig zag) passing drill to get the athletes passing on the move. I'd have them work up to do some sort of passing sequence for time to drill the importance of moving the ball quickly. I'd then start this same drill with a high grab or ground ball to also add in another mid field element. 


After that I'd progress up and work on the defensive side of transition (starting from a clear) and/or the offensive side (fast break drill).


And so on and so forth.


This idea of progressing and building within a common theme helps your players see the connection between basic skills to game-like situation. 


3. Variation -- Even if you do similar drills at practice, try to change different elements to keep it new and fresh! When your players are doing the same drill over and over again, the monotony can create a culture of boredom where athletes aren't trying very hard. (I mean, who likes to do the same thing day after day after day, drill after drill after drill). 


4. Don't be afraid to get creative and create your own drills! -- Think of a skill or element of the game that your team struggles with, then think about different situations in which these elements or skills are used. Again, start small and isolate the skill and then progress to situations in which the skill is used. 


5. Don't spend too much time on a drill -- If a drill is working and the players have gleaned the information, skills, and repetition of the drill, it's time to either create a variation, make the drill more complex, or move on. Also, if a drill just isn't working, it's time to simplify it or come up with another drill that works on the same skill. I try to limit drills to no more than 5-10 minutes per drill. You also have to keep in mind that you could lose your athlete's attention (and once that's gone, BUH BYE!)


6. Remain flexible -- Even the best laid plans (am I right?!). As I mentioned in #5 sometimes it works great and sometimes it doesn't. I always create a plan and include options just in case something isn't working out. If we need to spend more time on a drill and I have to cut something I create a game plan for that too. Give yourself options and variations of what you are trying to accomplish so you can prepare yourself for whatever your team brings to practice that day.


7. Do your research and be prepared -- The internet is a great tool and there are so many resources out there for coaches to use. Practice time is limited so make sure you and your athletes are getting the most out of it!


8. Have 2-3 objectives each practice and stay focused on those -- Be sure to take notes while at practice, and reference them when creating your practice plans so you know what focuses your team should have throughout the season!


Example objectives for practices:


BASIC SKILLS

  • Stick work: throwing and catching

  • footwork/conditioning

  • Ground balls

  • Dodging

POSITION SPECIFIC WORK


Defense:

  • Basic 1v1 defense

  • Communication work

  • Body positioning

  • Clears

  • Checking 

  • Doubling

  • Long passes (to initiate fastbreak transition)

  • 8 meter defense

  • Man up/man down situations on defense

Midfield:

  • Draw work (push vs. pull)

  • High grabs

  • Ground balls off of the draw (body positioning)

  • Transition work (having depth and passing options)

  • Midfield defense (defending clears, how to slow fastbreaks, basic defensive transition principles?

  • baiting/intercepting clears

  • Man up/man down situations in the midfield

Attack:

  • Shooting (power vs. placement)

  • Feeding

  • Give and go’s

  • Draw and dump

  • Fastbreak -- slowbreak -- motion offense

  • 1v1 drives

  • Catching and shooting under pressure

  • Stacks

  • Picks

  • V cuts

  • Basic motion offense movement (catch, challenge, release, move!)

  • Man up/man down on offense

"ORDER OF OPERATIONS"

  • It really depends on your team’s baseline skill. See what they have down and where they need work, this will give you a good starting point.

  • Start with a “basic skill” for each practice -- usually some sort of stick work.

  • I’d select 1 skill from each position to cover and pick 2-3 drills for each skill -- end practice with a 7v7 and concentrate on the specific skills you went over that day.

Below are a few great resources for new and awesome drills:

  1. http://files.leagueathletics.com/Images/Club/4487/College%20Coaches%20Drills.pdf

  2. https://www.uslacrosse.org/coaches/drills-archive

  3. YOUTUBE! There are SO many FREE resources on youtube!



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