The most effective coaches never go into a practice without a plan and a goal. Having a practice plan will ensure that you are using your practice time wisely and efficiently.
So what exactly is a practice plan?
A practice plan is a written plan that outlines your practice, reminding you what you want to do and when you want to do it. Granted, you may be the type of coach that can organize a practice off the top of your head and accomplish what you want in the desired time, but for the other 99% of coaches, a practice plan is a critical part of a successful practice.
What goes into a practice plan?
- An Objective: What is your goal for the practice? What are some things that must be accomplished versus things that you’d ideally like to get accomplished? Having your goals prioritized is a must, as well. Time doesn’t always permit for you to get done everything on your wish list, so ranking items in order of importance will help to ensure the important things are conquered first. Sharing your major goals with your team at the beginning of practice will help to ensure everyone is on the same page and working toward the same thing.
- Schedule: Having a detailed schedule will help you to stay on task and accomplish everything on your list of things to do. It is easy for time to slip away during practice, but your schedule will guide you as a physical reminder of the importance of time management. Your practice schedule will also allow you to recognize portions of your practice that may be taking longer than expected, which may point to areas that require further instruction. Be sure to allow flex time in your schedule, because inevitably there will be an unforeseen delay at some point.
- Attachments: So you saw a great new drill online that you wanted to incorporate during practice? Don’t waste time copying it into your practice plan. Simply print it out and bring it as an attachment. Include time for this drill on your schedule, and pull out the details when needed. Be sure that you’ve pre-planned and have all the necessary equipment needed to successfully complete your drill.
Once you’ve outlined your practice plan, try backtracking through your schedule to ensure that the elements included will accomplish the overall goal for the practice and will work toward accomplishing your ultimate goal. An example of a single practice goal is perfecting the stunt sequence and being able to mark the routine from beginning to end. This may require substantial time being dedicated to working on the stunt sequence, and small amounts of time reviewing choreography, so the routine can be marked cleanly from beginning to end. Be sure to be realistic in what you can accomplish within your practice time. Don’t pack the schedule so full that you’d have to be superhuman to accomplish everything.
Having a practice plan is sure to create an environment that is more effective and efficient. You won’t regret the time spent creating your practice plan once you see how smoothly your practice runs.