At the beginning of my coaching career I felt like I could show up to practice or a workout and think I could run a proficient practice that would make the players better. I would think to myself “I’ve been a part of so many practices, I can just show up and put together a good practice.” I would find myself thinking in the middle of a drill, what’s next? Rather than focusing on cues that I needed with the team/individual. I’ve seen many times where a “baseball” guy will come to work with a team, not having prepared anything, and run an unproductive workout. A lot of times what happens is they end up talking way too much or they run a bunch of drill sets that do not progress off of one another. I think that being prepared before the workout begins separates bad/mediocre coaches from quality/great coaches.
Once I started to write out practice plans I felt a lot more confident going into my workouts. It allowed me to focus on the actual player and team in a way that I wasn’t able to before. And I do not believe that anyone is above practicing the writing of practice plans. The learning process is something that never stops at any stage in a coaches’ career and I believe the most successful coaches understand this.
In terms of writing a practice plan, I don’t think that you should expect to nail a plan on the first time you sit down to write. It first comes with knowing where you are at in your off-season or gameplay season and knowing what your team needs. You should think of your off-season as stages. There is a time to breakdown drills, movements, and concepts and then there is a time to allow your players to have uninstructed repetitions. Both are beneficial and have a place in player development. Understand that it is ok to re-write a practice plan, to add or subtract to it, and to have the confidence to make adjustments on the fly. Embrace the art of writing out routines and have fun with it at your practices. Always trust your instincts and trust your gut. The coach that you are now will not be the coach you are in 5 years. Please refer to the Resource Room to see typical practice plan for us.