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Beansko82
(@beansko82)
Bronze
Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 262
October 14, 2020 3:47 pm  

Question for the coaches here: 

How would you fell about practicing 5 times a week, two hours each session?  Teams are 3-4th grade and 5-6th grade.

Would you think this was excessive and indicative of a dysfunctional organization and/or inefficient practice methods?

Or would you be glad to have more time to teach your players? 


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gumby_in_co
(@gumby_in_co)
Platinum
Joined: 11 years ago
Posts: 4148
October 14, 2020 3:59 pm  

Only my opinion, but too much.

When in doot . . . glass and oot.


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CoachDP
(@coachdp)
Kryptonite
Joined: 10 years ago
Posts: 17394
North Carolina
High School
October 14, 2020 5:09 pm  
Posted by: @beansko82

Question for the coaches here: 

How would you fell about practicing 5 times a week, two hours each session?  Teams are 3-4th grade and 5-6th grade.

Would you think this was excessive and indicative of a dysfunctional organization and/or inefficient practice methods?

Or would you be glad to have more time to teach your players? 

I think your question is flawed.  

It's not the amount of time that you have for practice, but what you do with the time you have.  There are teams that practice twice a week who are bettered coached than teams who practice five times a week.  And vice versa.

It's dependent on how good your coaches are.  If they're lousy, then a 5/2 schedule won't matter anymore than a 2/5.  And if they're good, I'd pay attention to what players are getting from a 5/2, that they weren't getting on a shorter schedule.  And I'm assuming the 5/2 is somehow longer than your other approach.

I like practice.  A lot.  Every day of practice is like the Super Bowl, my birthday and Christmas combined.  Of course, for it to be that way, I have to prepare for it to be that way.  And I feel like I can fill the practice time making it worthwhile for my players and staff.  I've attended 90-minute practices that seemed like they lasted 2 days.  And I've attended 3-hour practices that seemed to go by in about 45 minutes.  If you can sustain it, then by all means, do so.  Why teach kids less, when you can teach them more?  Good coaches should be able to sustain a 5/2 schedule with no problem.  Bad coaches can't sustain a 15-minute practice.  

Whether teams are "3-4th grade and 5-6th grade" is not indicative of how much they should be coached.  It's about the quality of coaching that's being given.  I could fill a 5/2 schedule and still not teach them everything I would want them to know.  I approach practice like reading a story to children.  "Chapter 6 was great today!  But I can't wait to read what happens tomorrow in Chapter 7!"  And if Chapter 7 is a disappointment, then that's on me.  And it's a responsibility that I take seriously.  How can I expect my players to look forward to it, if I don't?

--Dave

"The Greater the Teacher, the More Powerful the Player."

The Mission Statement: "I want to show any young man that he is far tougher than he thinks, that he can accomplish more than what he dreamed and that his work ethic will take him wherever he wants to go."

#BattleReady newhope


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32wedge
(@32wedge)
Silver Moderator
Joined: 10 years ago
Posts: 695
Virginia
Middle School
Only / Head Coach
October 14, 2020 8:21 pm  

We practiced that much when I was a middle school assistant in Tennessee before the season started.  We practiced 4 days + one game night after the games started.

 

At my school now, we are dependent on activity buses to get our players to practice and home.  The buses don't run on Friday nights so we don't practice then. 

 

In comparing the two, I think the four day is better. The team seems fresher mentally and physically than we were then.  My coaches usually hang out together at the high school game and talk as much about our team as we do the varsity game.  That's become a nice tradition.  We didn't get to do that when we were babysitting our players right up until game time after Friday practices in TN.

 

I don't waste time in my practices.  I stay in my lane.  I focus on teaching the fundamentals I know and that my kids can learn.  I hate when kids are standing around doing nothing.  We keep them as busy as possible when running drills.  We do have kids standing sometimes when we are teaching team scheme or game planning but everyone better be paying attention then. 

 

Four days is plenty of practice for us with 7th and 8th graders.  I always had practice either 2 or 3 days per week with my youth teams.  That must have been enough.  Winning games in youth ball sure seemed a lot easier.

 


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terrypjohnson
(@terrypjohnson)
Bronze
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 281
United States
Head Coach
October 14, 2020 10:28 pm  

That seems like too much. Down here, most 10U and 12U teams do Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday in full pads. Teams that do practice on Fridays are typically in shorts and helmets and are done by six so they can get to the high school game on time.

I'm also split on how helpful it is. If you have a coach like Coach Potter or Coach Wilkins, who make practices enjoyable, then they'll certainly benefit from the extra practice. However, if the kids aren't engaged and excited about being there, the extra session does more harm than good. The kids will check out and you won't accomplish much.

Coach Terry

 

Fight 'em until Hell freezes over, then fight 'em on the ice -- Dutch Meyer


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rpatric
(@rpatric)
Bronze
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 173
Maryland
6th - 8th
Head Coach
October 15, 2020 8:01 am  

I would love to practice 5 days a week in the preseason if allowed. We have roughly 3 weeks to prepare for our first game and there's a lot to cover in that time frame.

Being a first year HC, i know that I'll need as much practice time as possible since I'll likely have some growing pains coaching offense. I can install a defense quickly since I've done it so many times, but more time never hurts

If you feel the need to practice 10 hrs a week to get the job done, that's your decision. We can't tell you it's excessive since we don't know what you're teaching or how efficiently you can teach it.


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Coyote
(@coyote)
Bronze
Joined: 10 months ago
Posts: 186
3rd - 5th
Coordinator
October 15, 2020 8:40 am  
Posted by: @beansko82

How would you fell about practicing 5 times a week, two hours each session?  Teams are 3-4th grade and 5-6th grade.

Hi Coach,

We’re a Rec League, - same 2 age groups, I coach 3rd-4th grade.  We only practice twice / week.   I would LOOOoooooovvvvve at least one more practice/ week.  But, then I’ve always loved practice. 

For us, we have 4 hr / week to install and practice all 3 phases of the game, to work Form and Technique, individual skills and drills, alignment and assignment, and all the rest.   Every week we feel we failed to spend enough time on something, but we have to work within the framework of the league rules, and (theoretically) all the other teams are working under those same constraints.

With one more practice, an additional 2 hours (3/week; 6 hours/ wk) We could get that extra 20 min/ work in Indy Skills and Drills, could work more on our passing game, and get a lot more accomplished w/ our defense – esp. coordinating the force / contain on the perimeter.   Granted, the rest of the league would, too.  But, I believe we practice better than anyone else in the league and we’d profit from it a lot more. 

Each team brings its own special sets of strengths and weaknesses - from one season to the next, these tend to change.  This season, we had an accurate, but weak armed QB (keep under 12 yds and he's scary good) along with 3 kids w/ good hands.  All three wanted the ball thrown to them, and the QB wanted to throw…  Strength.    Unfortunately, our OLine was really weak in pass pro….  Our little guys could slice and dice in the run game, but the kids never really got it in the passing game.  We’re a play-action passing team, but we got sacked, or the QB would have to run much more than we liked… Weakness.  [Then we have to hear our receivers complain about never getting the ball... and then their parents complain...  <sigh>]

An additional practice/ wk I believe would have sharpened that up, really helped our perimeter Defense and our kicking game up tremendously.   

Recognizing that if we had 3 practices, I’d probably want 4, still, there are 3 phases to the game… 4 if you consider the passing game and the run game separately.  I’d  LOVE at least one more, and I believe our age group could handle it well.  Maybe 4 might be stretching it for our age, but surely not 3. 

Umm.... why does that 6 ft tall 9 yr old have a goatee...?


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JustPlay
(@rjbthor)
Silver
Joined: 7 years ago
Posts: 559
October 15, 2020 9:08 am  

Additional thoughts to consider when determining practice duration

  1. League rules – this year it is 3 days a week for 1.5 hours per session. We can not have more than 40 minutes of contact drills or scrimmage during the practice week.
  2. How long can we be effective at teaching? This differs for each coach. How much time do you spend practice planning and prep. Each off season I pick a focus on where I lacked the most during the previous season and try to get educated on that topic. I can then take that education an apply/teach that during practice. You as the coach need to know the reason “why” you are running the drills on a very cerebral level. If not its just a time filler.
  3. Attendance Conflict– This is a touchy topic but it needs to be considered. We are of the mindset that we want all our players to play as many sports as possible. At times we get conflicts with other sports – We only have 17 kids on our team now. If we are missing 7 of those kids it makes it difficult to run a practice to build off of.

nothing replaces effort. nothing replaces the mind. One with out the other is a waste of time.


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Bob Goodman
(@bob-goodman)
Diamond
Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 9504
New Jersey
3rd - 5th
Asst Coach
October 15, 2020 5:06 pm  
Posted by: @beansko82

Question for the coaches here: 

How would you fell about practicing 5 times a week, two hours each session?  Teams are 3-4th grade and 5-6th grade.

Would you think this was excessive and indicative of a dysfunctional organization and/or inefficient practice methods?

Or would you be glad to have more time to teach your players? 

We've actually been doing that (since I started in 2017 there; not this year -- no season) in the pre-season (and 4 times a week once school starts), and I think it's too much.  It indicates either inefficient practice (not enough orientation toward actual football) or a desire for baby-sitting.

Where I've coached before I often thought we had not enough practice time, but here it's too much.


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CoachDP
(@coachdp)
Kryptonite
Joined: 10 years ago
Posts: 17394
North Carolina
High School
October 15, 2020 5:11 pm  
Posted by: @terrypjohnson

If you have a coach like Coach Potter or Coach Wilkins, who make practices enjoyable, then they'll certainly benefit from the extra practice.

Keep in mind that making practice "enjoyable" differs in definition from coach to coach.  For some coaches, it means water balloon fights and a bounce house.  For me, it means physical aggression, competitive situations and creating an atmosphere where we can't wait to play against the next victim.

--Dave

"The Greater the Teacher, the More Powerful the Player."

The Mission Statement: "I want to show any young man that he is far tougher than he thinks, that he can accomplish more than what he dreamed and that his work ethic will take him wherever he wants to go."

#BattleReady newhope


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Prodigy
(@prodigy)
Gold
Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 2484
October 15, 2020 5:37 pm  

Our schedule was Monday-Thursday until school started.  Our logic was families may want to do something with their weekends.  Once school started we were Tuesday-Thursday.

I don’t recall how much time we had between our first practice and our first game, probably something like 4-6 weeks and right around the first game was when school started.  That’s 16-24 practices and 32-48 hours of practice.  From there we had 8-9 weeks of regular schedule so 24-27 practice days and that’s 48-51 practice hours.  Usually later in the season it started getting dark and we only had portable lights on the field and that limited what we could safely do.

generally speaking I think that 4 days a week and then shifting to 3 days is sufficient for me as a coach.  If I had practices 7 days a week I could have filled the days. 

when you’re running tough conditioning, giving the kids some downtime to heal is not a bad idea.

If you show up for a fair fight, you are unprepared.


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ZACH
 ZACH
(@bucksweep58)
Diamond
Joined: 10 years ago
Posts: 9393
Coach
October 16, 2020 4:22 pm  

This is a quality over quantity question. Both teams I help are 2 practices of two hours and never a sitting moment.  One team is 9u and one 14u.  5 practices a week is fine in camp but regular season way too much not even the pros go 5 practices regular season.

I can explain it to you, I can't understand if for you.


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