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Coach Brad
(@coachbradfromcanada)
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August 3, 2017 9:15 am  

Does anyone track their time spent at practice, and what areas they are actually working on? I decided to take a look to see if I am actually focusing on the things I want to focus on. Here's what we've done so far:

8 practices in, all in no pads. Practices are only 90 minutes, and warm-ups take the first 15, leaving 75 minutes left to get some work done.

Blocking - 90 mins (15%)
Tackling - 80 mins (13.3%)
Offensive skills - 120 mins (20%)
Defensive skills - 30 mins (5%)
Offensive Scheme - 60 mins (10%)
Defensive Scheme - 0 mins (0%)
Conditioning/Evaluation Games - 220 mins (36.7%)

Now it is clear to me I have been neglecting one side of the ball.  ???

Part of the problem is as the HC I will also be running the offence. I have two AC's, but both of which have missed multiple practices due to holidays and work/other commitments. We haven't been able to get a coaches meeting together yet, and work out exactly who is going to run the defence, and how. I have a defence I would like to run, but am hoping one of them will be able to be the DC. This is on me as the HC, I understand that.

The Offensive skills is higher too because for the first week, we combined with the older age group since between us we only had 9/10 players, and I let the other coach have equal say in what we did. He did lots of passing and catching.

I found the simple act of going through the practice plans helped me see where I was lacking, and now can do something about it. Tonight is mostly committed to teaching the Football Canada Safe Contact tackling progression, which is fine by me since it is VERY close to what I was already teaching and have taught the last few years. The Org. is really happy with it and would like us to use their drills/jargon/progressions. Then the last 15/20 minutes will be continuing to install 16 Power for the backs, since we did the same for the O-Line last practice.

Has anyone else done a self-scout of this type, and what were the results? What type of ratio to you strive for with your allotted practice time?


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Dusty Ol Fart
(@youth-coach)
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August 3, 2017 9:43 am  

Conditioning/Evaluation Games - 220 mins (36.7%)

You have spent almost half of your time with the kids on something I consider should get done in the first 10-15 minutes of practice.  Dynamic Warm ups and agility drills.

Unlike some, I concentrate on one side of the ball for an entire week of practice.  That way neither side is neglected.  Its up to me to decide what we keep and what hits the Trash Can so that come game one we have things in place to use that we do well.

JMHO

Not MPP... ONE TASK!  Teach them!  🙂


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Prodigy
(@prodigy)
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August 3, 2017 9:46 am  

Very insightful data.

For a number of years I used to write up detailed practice plans.  I then found that it was too limiting.  If I scheduled 10-15 minutes on something and we needed more time, I either had to stop what I was doing and try to allocate more time on another day or push back the rest of the things on the schedule...which at the end of the day just means I'm still robbing from Peter to pay Paul.  I stopped wasting my time making practice plans.  I go into every practice with the larger picture of where we want to be going into our first game, we do everything to prepare to play that game and tighten everything up as we inch closer to the actual season.

As of now I know I have 13 practices, 26 hours before our first game.  What needs to happen?  Every minute or hour that you spend on something is TIME that you are taking away from something else.  It doesn't matter what it is.  I could put 100% of my emphasis on tackling and defense and we *should be* dominant defensively compared to the coach that put 100% of his time into blocking and offense.  Right?  So how do you spend your "points" or your "time"?  What can you do to be more efficient with your time?  How can you incorporate multiple things into a single drill or even a water break? 

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


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Coach Brad
(@coachbradfromcanada)
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August 3, 2017 9:55 am  

Conditioning/Evaluation Games - 220 mins (36.7%)

You have spent almost half of your time with the kids on something I consider should get done in the first 10-15 minutes of practice.  Dynamic Warm ups and agility drills.

Unlike some, I concentrate on one side of the ball for an entire week of practice.  That way neither side is neglected.  Its up to me to decide what we keep and what hits the Trash Can so that come game one we have things in place to use that we do well.

JMHO

Conditioning and Evaluation Games are not Dynamuc warm-ups. Like I mentioned the first 15 minutes of the 90 minute practice is warm-ups. Within Conditioning and Evaluation Games I've included things like: Enduro, Whose Ball, Deer Hunter, King of the Bag, Flag Tag, Dummy Wars, Catch-Up, and dummy relays. Essentially conditioning hidden among fin games and competitions. The first week or two these took up to half the practice time, but have them down to about 15 minutes at the end of each practice at this point.

Agility type drills I have included in "Offensive/Defensive skills" which includes footwork and agility as well as ball skills (passing, catching, gauntlet, step over bags, ect).


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Coach Brad
(@coachbradfromcanada)
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August 3, 2017 10:01 am  

Very insightful data.

For a number of years I used to write up detailed practice plans.  I then found that it was too limiting.  If I scheduled 10-15 minutes on something and we needed more time, I either had to stop what I was doing and try to allocate more time on another day or push back the rest of the things on the schedule...which at the end of the day just means I'm still robbing from Peter to pay Paul.  I stopped wasting my time making practice plans.  I go into every practice with the larger picture of where we want to be going into our first game, we do everything to prepare to play that game and tighten everything up as we inch closer to the actual season.

As of now I know I have 13 practices, 26 hours before our first game.  What needs to happen?  Every minute or hour that you spend on something is TIME that you are taking away from something else.  It doesn't matter what it is.  I could put 100% of my emphasis on tackling and defense and we *should be* dominant defensively compared to the coach that put 100% of his time into blocking and offense.  Right?  So how do you spend your "points" or your "time"?  What can you do to be more efficient with your time?  How can you incorporate multiple things into a single drill or even a water break?

I agree with everything you said in your second paragraph. It is key to accomplish many things with one drill or activity and to mazimize your time, and for me I am the type of coach that NEEDS to be organized going in. Not all are like that, that's perfcetly fine. But If I don't have on paper some sort of plan, I will waste too many precious minutes and seconds trying to think on the fly of what to do next, or what drill I was thinking about that morning. I need that plan to keep my brain on track.

That is not to say I set an alarm that says at 6:30 we go from tackling to conditioning, and when it goes off that is exactly what we do. There is always wiggle room based on how the kids are picking up what your throwing down, what their energy and attention level is, or simply how well the drill you are running is accomplishing what you want it to accomplish. I often pull new drills off of this very forum, and sometimes on grass they don't work as well as it does in my head as I read it here, so I need to be able to adapt to accomplish the same goal with a different activity. But without the framework of a practice plan, I would waste far more time without it.

Then again, I am the type of person that if I am planning a night out with friends, I want to know exactly where we are going, how we are getting there and exactly what time we need to be where. That's just me.


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flexbone
(@flexbone)
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August 3, 2017 10:22 am  

I agree with both you have stated. In addition to what you both have said, I think an important thing to keep in mind is the attention level/span of the kids. This is sometimes a "feel" thing and if you are spending too much time on a drill/concept and kids are getting bored then how much return on investment are you really getting? For example, even though you spent 30 minutes on tackling, if kids began zoning out at the 10 minute mark then 20 minutes were wasted and you can't really claim 30 minutes of tackling.

Therefore, I try to follow Bill Walsh idea of anything less than 10 minutes is a waste of time. Therefore my sections usually run around 10-15 minutes before we move onto the next drill/progression/team etc.


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Dusty Ol Fart
(@youth-coach)
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August 3, 2017 10:35 am  

Again I am not a Sabremetrics or statistical guru.

I simply know that in a 90 minute practice, with minimal staff available (2),  I (we) need to get an O and D operational in approximately 1400 minutes worth of overall practice time before our fist game.  Hence we work on one side of the ball per week.  That way 100% of our time is dedicated to either O or D-Spec Teams.  Similarly after the season starts we spend one day on O and the other on D to add and perfect.  I have to resist the temptation to sneak in Offense on a Defensive Day or vice versa. 

Even our High School swaps what they work on daily. they don't try to work on everything, every practice.  (Of significant note, they have them 5 days a week)

All I am saying is perhaps a little restructuring of what you want to work on for the day would allow you to concentrate efforts and get things established a bit quicker.
 
8)

Not MPP... ONE TASK!  Teach them!  🙂


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Coach Brad
(@coachbradfromcanada)
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August 3, 2017 10:46 am  

Again I am not a Sabremetrics or statistical guru.

I simply know that in a 90 minute practice, with minimal staff available (2),  I (we) need to get an O and D operational in approximately 1400 minutes worth of overall practice time before our fist game.  Hence we work on one side of the ball per week.  That way 100% of our time is dedicated to either O or D-Spec Teams.  Similarly after the season starts we spend one day on O and the other on D to add and perfect.  I have to resist the temptation to sneak in Offense on a Defensive Day or vice versa. 

Even our High School swaps what they work on daily. they don't try to work on everything, every practice.  (Of significant note, they have them 5 days a week)

All I am saying is perhaps a little restructuring of what you want to work on for the day would allow you to concentrate efforts and get things established a bit quicker.
 
8)

I certainly am starting to get into that routine. Tuesday was blocking and our beginning our first play install. Tonight will be largely tackling progressions.


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ZACH
 ZACH
(@bucksweep58)
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August 3, 2017 11:04 am  

Kicking ass =100%
Chewing bubblegum = 0%

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


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Vince148
(@vince148)
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August 3, 2017 11:25 am  

So roughly 50% of your practice time is dedicated to warmups and conditioning.

I must be planning something wrong. Based on my preliminary plans, I'm allocating roughly 17% between the two.


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Prodigy
(@prodigy)
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August 3, 2017 11:53 am  

I started looking at coaching youth football differently over the past few seasons...and it has made a world of difference for me.  Before I share my personal philosophy I'd like to throw a disclaimer out there:  As a coach, you have to do what works for you and the team you're coaching.  If you're new to the game, I'd recommend looking at Dave Cisar's book or talk to other successful well-established coaches.  You're going to be better off having a game plan than showing up on day 1 of practice without one.  Given some time, you'll start to discover for yourself what works and what doesn't.

When I was a boy of about 14 or 15 I started lifting weights to get better at football.  I would read bodybuilding magazines and whatever the workout of the month was, is what I would do.  I supplemented my knowledge of training by reading whatever books I could get my hands on, which at the time was very bodybuilding-centric.  I remember seeing an advertisement in "Flex Magazine" for another magazine called "Powerlifting USA", it said "our readers gained an average of X pounds of bodyweight, added X pounds to their squat, X to their bench press and X to their deadlift."  I knew I had to get a subscription to that magazine.

When the copies started arriving, I was exposed to an entirely different aspect of training...strength.  Powerlifting USA had articles and such but a good portion of the magazine was devoted to meet results and upcoming events.  I remember pouring over the results and realizing that, at the time I was strong enough to compete with some of these other kids in my age/weight group.  I found a meet about 12 weeks out and started training.  I did pretty well in my competitions but I learned something.

It's all about who shows up.  Suppose my best bench press is 400 lbs.  I plan to attend a meet in 12 weeks.  With great training, diet, supplements, equipment, I might be able to hit 430 lbs.  Now, that 430 lbs. might be enough to win the competition...or I might not even place.  See the thing is, Zach might be planning to compete at the same meet, and his best bench press is 550 lbs.  He's hoping to add 30 pounds to his bench in time for the meet, that would put him at 580 lbs.  Even if he "opened" the meet very conservatively at 450 lbs. -- his opening lift is heavier than what I was planning on finishing with.  Sure I could call for 600 lbs. on the bar in hopes of beating Zach, but if my best is only 400 lbs...how do you think that's going to go?  In terms of winning and losing, often times these things are sorted out LONG before the meet ever begins.  It's not that different than football...Football just has more variables in play and some sense of unpredictability due to the shape of the ball, number of players on the field, the players skill level, their strength, speed, weather, field conditions etc.

Suppose Massachusetts Institute of Technology decided to start a new youth football conference / league.  They found 36 kids interested in youth football and cloned them 20 times over and made 20 different teams.  Now all of the teams are equal.  You can't complain about the other team having better athletes, better, talent or whatever...Now it boils down to who is better prepared...who is the better coach, who has a better means of getting their team prepared to play football and who is a better game-day strategist.  Right?

I try to out-train our competition beginning on day 1.  While some coaches are lining up their kids for 30 minutes of warmups, we're already working on splatter tackling onto bags.  While some coaches are using fun games to trick kids into conditioning, I've got my guys running a hill or bear crawling and crabbing for 100 yards...making the conscious choice to endure the discomfort of being on this football team.  By the time I ask if anyone wants to be a quarterback or a running-back, I already have a pretty good idea of where all of the kids stand, I just want to see if they WANT to carry the stone by asking.

With all of this said...there exists the possibility that games we play this year are unwinnable, despite our best preparation.  That's not something I ever tell the kids, it's not something I go into any game expecting or not expecting...at the end of the day we are all fighting a battle against ourselves, we are competing against ourselves and we should seek constant improvement.

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


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Coach Brad
(@coachbradfromcanada)
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Joined: 8 years ago
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August 3, 2017 12:26 pm  

Kicking ass =100%
Chewing bubblegum = 0%

Coach, no time left for taking names?

So roughly 50% of your practice time is dedicated to warmups and conditioning.

I must be planning something wrong. Based on my preliminary plans, I'm allocating roughly 17% between the two.

Not sure why warm-ups and conditioning are being lumped together. Warm-ups are necessary every day. We do a dynamic warm-up routine that takes about 10 minutes, then angle form tackling that takes about 5. We do that every day through the season.

Conditioning AND Evaluation games and drills. I lump them together because it really is just fun games to the kids; deer hunter, towel game, sumo, ect... but is great conditioning for them as well, and great evaluation tools for us. Enduro is the only true conditioning we've done so far, done it 3 times I think, only about 10 minutes total at a time.

We leaned heavily on these games early on, especially when we had combined with the older age group due to low numbers for both. These games are universal, and any team no matter skill or technique they teach can do them. Since we weren't on our own yet, I hadn't yet broken down out tackling, blocking, stance, ect... techniques. So about half the first 2/3 practices were skills as per the other HC, and half were the conditioning games. The last 4 practices we have dedicated 15, 15, 15, and 20 minutes to this segment. So that percentage will continue to go down as we get more specific in other areas.

We are NOT running sprints or laps for 36% of our practices, that much I want to be clear about.


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Michael
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August 3, 2017 12:33 pm  

I think being warmed-up is necessary, but warm-ups prior to starting football-specific work are not.

Michael can not receive PM's, emails or respond to Posts. He passed away in September 2018. To honor his contributions we are leaving his account active. R.I.P - Dumcoach Staff.


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gumby_in_co
(@gumby_in_co)
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August 3, 2017 12:42 pm  

Does anyone track their time spent at practice, and what areas they are actually working on?

That's really funny. No way. We're pretty much the opposite of this.

When in doot . . . glass and oot.


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Dusty Ol Fart
(@youth-coach)
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August 3, 2017 1:04 pm  

I certainly am starting to get into that routine. Tuesday was blocking and our beginning our first play install. Tonight will be largely tackling progressions.

Ok Bear with me and my old saggin ass logic/reasoning for just a bit longer.  I see that you seem to be switching days from O to D. That's a start.  However, unless you're coaching an age level higher than you indicate, for me at least, there is value to staying on one side of the ball for a length of time. My reasoning, if WE practice M-W-F and we do blocking and beginning of first play on M.  Then on W we go defense, it will be F before I get to complete the play with probably 20 minutes of review to get back to where we left off 4 days ago.  Same thing with D. 

It takes about 5-10 minutes to repeat what we learned on Monday on Wednesday, leaving an hour plus to get more reps and install another play or two.  The last 5-7 minutes of practice we go through everything we have installed.  Friday we may add if we see that Wednesday material is still fresh.  Saturday Morning is Roll Out Day.  We do our warm ups and agility and get right into running those 6-10 plays over and over and over.  Defense will go the same way next week with Saturday Roll Out.  The final week will be O, D, then Special Teams.  Season Kicks Off that Saturday afternoon. 

Not MPP... ONE TASK!  Teach them!  🙂


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