If you have ever attended or participated in a practice that was well planned out, you probably either learned a lot or enjoyed your time practicing. The best way to progress a team through a season is to create practice plans that help a team develop or master skills to play better in the game. Documentation helps a coach know what drills and practice have been most successful in developing players and a team as a whole.
How does a coach plan a practice? They create time and space to plan. Remember, if the players learn and grow, it was well worth your time. Have three team goals in mind that you want to say your team achieved throughout the season. Make them challenging and don't worry if the team doesn't achieve them, as long as they are achievable.
From those goals, what skills do the players need to have to achieve those team goals? Identifying those skills is helpful when creating a series of practice plans (over the course of a week or two). If you are having trouble determining which skills to focus on, think about the following:
1) What skills have most players do not have or have not mastered that would help
the team in the most immediate manner?
2) What skills are absolutely necessary for players to learn to do well in games?
3) What are the skills that will help elevate the team's performance?
Identifying goals will also help you know when you are ready to move on to another skill or compound on a skill that was just taught or reviewed.
Create a routine schedule with everyday drills for fielding and for batting, so players have an opportunity to think and do without you correcting them. These ED drills are also important to reinforce the basic skills they need to master to play the game well.
After you have identified your everyday drills, pick one drill you would like to introduce that focuses the team on achieving one goal for the day. You can go as in-depth with the drill as you want, just as long as you give the players an opportunity to learn the drill and become proficient (not necessarily master) in the skill.
Previewing the practice plan to the players before you start is important to building trust that you are at practice to develop them and not for yourself. It sounds funny that any coach would be at practice for oneself instead of for the players, but it helps the players see a trend in how you make practices based on what you are observing in games and practices. They know you are watching and catering practices to their development, not to the abstract development of a team they may or may not be on.
March 22nd at 8 pm, TPG will be hosting a virtual practice planning seminar for coaches wanting to get better at planning practices for the betterment of their team. You'll get free practice planning templates and a free practice plan with sample drills based on skills the group's suggestion. Go to https://www.thatpowergame.com/coachs-corner for more information about the event.