Success in team sports depends on many factors with preparation being at the top of the list of elements that can be controlled by the coach. In order to insure a team in any sport is prepared as well as possible, effective practice sessions are essential.
For many coaches designing effective well-planned practices is one of the most difficult tasks involved in teaching sports.
Putting it all together to craft a single effective practice can seem daunting to any coach. Coaching legend John Wooden spent nearly two hours planning his daily practice sessions during his tenure as the Wizard of Westwood at UCLA.
Considering the skill Coach Wooden possessed in conducting practices, this single example shows the importance of being able to plan effective practices. Wooden was not alone in his attention to detail in planning practices.
The Showtime Lakers coach Pat Riley was known to spend 3-5 hours in preparing for a ten minute meeting with his team. Football coaches are legendary for the time spent in preparing for practices.
This seemingly mysterious process is not that hard. It simply takes time and some knowledge of what must happen in order for practice sessions to be effective, both for a single practice session and over the course of an entire season.
Planning practices is both an art and a science. Based on both research by experts in the fields of sport psychology, motor control and motor learning and the nearly 30 years of the author's experience as a varsity coach, Designing Effective Practices for Team Sports examines a wide range of factors essential to designing effective practices.
Planning effective practices is requires more than just effective teaching of team sports skills. There is so much more that goes into a great sports practice than just teaching sports skills. Just a few of the factors to be planned for on both an individual practice session and the entire sports season include some of the following:
• Crafting an overriding purpose for the program and team
• Creating a culture of success
• Goal setting
• Effective teaching strategies and tactics
• Maximizing the use of time, facilities, staff and space available
• Preventing burnout
• Drill selection
• Theories of learning motor skills
The author takes a look at all of these issues and more in the more than 20 chapters in the book. Mixing research with practical experience, the author addresses issues rookie and veteran coaches, regardless of the sport face in practice. These include:
• Setting the tone of practice
• Dealing with difficult to motivate athletes
• Avoiding common practice planning mistakes
• Building intensity in practice
• The role of confidence in sports
Designing Effective Practices for Team Sports was written for coaches who would rather develop their coaching skills and design their own effective sports practices than purchase a book with sample practice sessions for their sport.
Designing great practices is on of the most important elements in sports coaching. Not only do effective and efficient practice sessions play an important role in preparing teams to win, these types of practices are much more fun for everyone involved!