It doesn’t take long for the players, no matter what their age is, to figure out who’s winging it or who has a practice plan in place. Therefore, being proactive as a coach is essential. There are only so many practices before and during the season so being productive becomes the number one priority.
If you’ve correctly and objectively evaluated your team in all phases of the game from day one, you should have a very good idea of what the team and each player needs to focus on. Your practices should be planned accordingly. Plotting out each practice on paper before the practice and determining how much time is needed for each skill should be done beforehand.
Considering that each practice session will be around two hours, coaches should write down the skills they want to cover, how they want to present it and who will be teaching it. Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of your assistant coaches will aid in this process.
You should take into consideration that every skill can’t be taught at every practice. Quality over quantity counts here.
In the course of the season and pre-season, hitting, defense, base running, pitching, situations, warming up, stretching, throwing, catching, drills and infield play are some of the things that need to be incorporated into your practice plan. It’s not easy. But if you correctly identified your players and your team you’ll know where the emphasis should be placed.
Executing the plan you’ve put down on paper is now extremely important. Practices should be broken down into segments and segments of time. And you need to stick to these time frames. Otherwise you’ll be speeding things up to get everything accomplished and from the teaching angle that’s not good. Move on from one thing to another in a timely manner and if you didn’t‚t achieve what you wanted to cover make a note of that on your practice plan.
Every practice should have new things introduced and old things reviewed. The same old boring practices aren’t going to fly with the players these days.
If you keep evaluating your team after each game and practice throughout the season, you’ll keep defining what needs to be done at the next practice. Ignoring this means the practices and the coaches will start falling into a rut Players will sense it and give up trying to learn.
Within each practice one thing should never happen. No player should ever be standing around at any time in a practice with nothing to do.
That means don’t have players standing in the outfield during batting practice. It’s a waste of time! Have them at a station swinging the bat. If this is happening your execution is poor.
If you’ve prepared each practice on a pre-made practice plan form and executed it as closely as possible, you’ll find your time and the player’s time is more productive.
Without it chaos will reign and the fun you wanted to have will slowly diminish.