SUCCESSFULL PRACTICE PLANNING
October 10, 2022
It doesn’t matter if you’re a first-time coach or a seasoned expert with trophies on the wall—every coach needs a plan for practice. Being prepared is the difference between kids running wild on the field and actually paying attention.
Luckily, we created this sample plan so your next flag football practice runs smoothly.
To prevent injuries, you always want to start with a solid warmup. Think of everything that goes into flag football—players are jumping, changing direction quickly, twisting, and cutting. That’s a lot of movement.
For younger kids you can warm up with a game, like red light, green light, followed by a stretching session. Intermediate players usually start with a combination of passing, catching and sprinting to loosen up.
Flag football drills are going to be the bulk of your planning. This is where players learn basic flag football skills, develop their technique, and fine tune their offensive and defensive strategies. That said, we like to divide flag football drills into three buckets:
Drills that teach fundamental skills, like passing, receiving, and footwork. Examples:
Drills that focus on offensive strategies, such as routes and plays. Examples:
Drills that focus on defensive strategies, especially the art of flag pulling. Examples:
As you map out your practices you want to make sure that you’re allocating enough time for each of these categories. Of course, if your team or players have a weak spot, you can spend a little more time on one versus another. Or if you have another coach helping, you can divide and conquer. In any case, think of your practices holistically to ensure your players are developing the fundamental skills needed to get to the next level.
We recommend setting up a scrimmage during practice where players compete 4v4. You probably don’t have enough team members to run a full game, but even more, if you run a scrimmage with fewer players, it gives everyone on the field a chance to make an impact and be a part of the game. And keeping your players engaged during practice is key.
Traditionally, coaches leave time at the end of practice so that players can scrimmage. But more recently, coaches have been adopting a new style of training where they actually scrimmage at the beginning of practice, when kids have the most energy and are focused. You can test out which practice methods work best for you.
It’s important to take water breaks throughout practice to keep your players cool and hydrated, especially on hot days. Plus, if a drill isn’t going well, you can always use a water break to reset. And as the coach, it’s always good to bring extra water to practice, in case any of your players forgot.
As youth sports become more and more competitive, it’s easy to lose sight of what they’re all about—having fun. You want your practice to be an enjoyable experience for both you and your athletes. That’s why it’s good to think through ways to make practice fun.
Maybe you incorporate a silly drill like chase the chicken. Or maybe you bring a bluetooth speaker and have them jam out to music during their warm up session. Whatever you decide, putting in that little extra effort will go a long way—trust us.