The following pointers can help you use your practice time efficiently:
No loitering allowed: Do whatever you can to make standing around time at your practices nonexistent because the moment kids stop being actively involved in practice, their learning stops, too. When their learning stops, they can’t improve their skills or prepare for game day. After all, your players don’t come to stand around in boring lines – they come to practice, right?
Split up the drills: If you have assistant coaches or parent volunteers, you can run a couple of different drills in different areas of the court at the same time. Running multiple drills lets children get in more repetitions, which is especially helpful when you have a large group of kids to work with. If you’re running the team solo, try to focus on specific drills that the kids can work on in small groups. This small group setup gives them more offensive ball touches or more opportunities to defend, depending on which skill the drill targets.
Maintain a good pace: Avoid lengthy pauses between drills because they sabotage the high energy level and enthusiasm you want to maintain through constant motion during the whole practice. (Just be sure to mix in plenty of water breaks.) Maintaining constant motion has some great team benefits, including holding the kids’ attention and enhancing their conditioning.
A well-structured pre-game warm-up helps minimize the chances of injuries, as well as decreasing the severity of them if they occur. They also prepare players for action. Keep the following tips in mind while putting together your pre-game warm-up:
Pre-game rehearsal: During your practices leading up to game day, spend a few minutes going over your pre-game warm-up to help familiarize the kids with the order of stretches and drills. You don’t want to waste valuable time before the game organizing players, introducing drills and giving lengthy instructions on how to perform certain stretches.
Cover the key muscles: In a sport like volleyball players rely on their legs a great deal, so stretches need to cover the hamstrings, calves and quadriceps; while a sport like baseball requires stretching the shoulders and torso, among others.
Hit all the skills: Besides getting your players loosened up, you want to get them comfortable performing all the skills that they will use during the game. So make sure that your warm-up is varied enough to accommodate all the skills so that when the game begins the players are prepared to execute anything that is required.