One of the things you hear as a coach – probably regardless of the sport – is that you should spend about twice as much time planning a training session as that session is scheduled to run. That may seem like a lot of planning, and it is. That’s kind of the point. 🙂
I won’t say you must spend 4 hours writing drills and games for a 2-hour practice, though. Those hours of planning will likely be spread. Think about the time between your last contact with the team and the forthcoming one. That’s when you consider recent developments, priorities moving forward, etc. Depending on your coaching experience, and where you’re at with your team, the actual process of putting together a realized training plan might not take very long at all. I usually take about 30 minutes to plan 1.5 to 2 hour sessions.
Actually, that brings up something I figured out along the way.
It’s possible to give yourself too much time to develop the actual practice plan. I found myself actually taking way more time than necessary because I gave myself way more than necessary. In other words, I was using all the time I allowed. There’s actually a term for this sort of thing. I got much more efficient with my planning when I constrained things. For example, when I coached at Exeter I began sitting at the kitchen table and deciding on that evening’s drills and games about 40 minutes before I had to leave for the gym. It didn’t change the sorts of things I did in training, but I certainly spent way less time developing my plans than I did before. That let me be productive in other areas.
That’s just the actual practice plan development, though. Nothing changed in terms of thinking a lot about recent developments and the things I wanted to focus on with the team, and individuals. I still think a great deal about all the background stuff that goes into my priority-based practice plans. That also feeds into my being able to adapt a training plan dynamically.
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