Building Your Practice Plan

TheSportsCoach.com 5-Minute Practice Planner should be used as an organizational tool for coaches at all levels of competition. Use it as you like because ultimately it is your practice and nobody knows the needs of your club better than you do.

Step 1: Give your practice a unique name. (Do not name two lessons the same)

Step 2: Choosing your Stretching and Warm-up drills. (25 Minutes)

  • Discipline must be emphasized in this phase of the practice. Focus and discipline are very difficult to turn on and off.
  • We have included stretching exercises that you can utilize in conjunction with your present stretching routine. The entire body needs to be and should be stretched properly. For more information on stretching, check out our Mind & Body section and read the lessons from Dr. Luga Podesta.
  • Your warm-up throwing routine should be closely monitored to ensure proper throwing mechanics are being used and that the players are concentrating on hitting their targets.
  • Select 1 drill each from the Warm-up and Throwing selections. Drills executed on a knee, a seated position or on the back should be done as an exercise prior to throwing from a standing position.

Step 3: Choosing Defensive Drills (Small Group and Team Drills) (30 Minutes)

  • When selecting from these sections, you can choose a maximum of 4 drills. You can choose either 3 Small-Group Drills and 1 Team Drill or 2 Team Drills. The goal is to have the players work on individual skills in a group environment and then take those skills into a team environment. Keep it simple and keep the players moving.

Step 4: Choosing Offensive Drills (Small Group and Team Drills) (30-45 Minutes)

  • When selecting from these sections, you can choose a maximum of 4 drills. You can choose either 3 Small-Group Drills and 1 Team Drill or 2 Team Drills. The goal is to have the players work on individual skills in a group environment and then take those skills into a team environment.
  • *PITCHERS & CATCHERS: This is also a time when pitchers and catchers can get their work in. One pitcher at a time with one catcher will allow you to get bullpens in while working with your catcher on receiving the ball, blocking, etc. Don't allow your catchers to believe they are "just catching a bullpen." This is also their time to improve.
  • *Finding sufficient time for pitchers and catchers in practice is extremely difficult, especially when you have 12 players or more and only two coaches. But it is crucial to set aside enough time for these key positions. If you must, have pitchers and catchers report 15 minutes early or hold a separate one-hour workout just for them each week.

Step 5: Choosing Team Competition Drills (15 to 30 Minutes)

  • Choose a drill that fits the needs of your club. This is the time when you as coach can teach your players how to compete.
  • Make sure there are positive rewards for the victors and a light negative consequence for the group that lost.
  • If you make them want to earn something they find valuable, such as a soda or piece of candy, you are more likely to get the most out of them. On the flip side, if your players are afraid of a negative consequence, such as doing 50 pushups or running laps, they will not enjoy this aspect of practice and are less likely to give full effort. They will be concentrating on not losing rather than concentrating on doing their best.

Step 6: Conditioning & Clean-up (15 Minutes)

  • This is the chance for you to teach your players to enjoy taking care of their bodies.
  • Make this aspect of your practice fun and your players will enjoy conditioning.
  • Cleaning up the facility is extremely important! A great goal to have is to instruct your players that, "Our team will always leave the game field or practice field cleaner than we found it." Teach your players to take pride in their field and to respect all the work that goes into taking care of it.

Reminders:

  1. The time frames we have placed on each section are only suggestions. Modify the time devoted to each section depending on your needs.
  2. Keep your players moving. Avoid lengthy breaks in your practice. You should be able to go from one segment of your plan to another quickly and efficiently.
  3. Make a copy or copies of your practice plan and go over your plan with your assistants before practice. This will help the coaching staff work more efficiently.
  4. Have fun!!!