Planning Your Practice Calendar

If a team practices soft, it will play soft; if it practices hard, it will play hard. I believe good practices begin with good attitudes. They also involve good contact and strenuous conditioning. A team should practice in the rain and snow if they might play in it that weekend. To practice moderately indoors all week, then expect a team to take the field in sub zero temperatures and perform to its peak is, simply stated, poor coaching.

It is very important to have a routine in place for daily practice sessions. Of course these routines are adjustable, but the main advantage of having one in place is it tends to deter wasted and unproductive time. Generally speaking I would recommend the following daily practice schedules for the various levels of play:

Level Sun Mon Tues Wed Thurs Fri Sat
Pro Game Off film,
weights, conditioning,
short scrimmage
position drills,
special teams, scrimmage,
offensive inference
weights,
conditioning,
scrimmage,
defensive inference
special teams,
substitutions
Off Travel
College Off film,
weights,
conditioning,
short scrimmage
position drills,
special teams, scrimmage,
offensive inference
weights,
conditioning,
scrimmage,
defensive inference
special teams,
substitutions
Off for Travel
or repeat
special teams,
substitutions
Game
High School Off film,
weights,
conditioning,
short scrimmage
position drills,
special teams, scrimmage,
offensive inference
weights,
conditioning,
scrimmage,
defensive inference
special teams,
substitutions
Game Off

As demonstrated in the above table, I strongly believe in contact and full- speed scrimmages. Many coaches prefer not to dress out their team the day before a game. I feel that is unfortunate. A quarterback will never be allowed to throw the football in a game without his shoulder pads and helmet on or mouth piece in. Receivers should catch every pass with their hands, and with their helmet on. I do believe no contact, scrimmaging, or weight lifting should take place the day before the game.

Below are brief descriptions for terms in the above table:

Conditioning: Conditioning refers to any (usually) physical activity used to improve the physical strength and stamina of an athlete. Conditioning is one of the major components of gridiron success. Conditioning can be used as a punishment for a particular player or the team as a whole. It can also be intertwined with special teams. Running excessive punts, kick offs, and returns "live" can serve as punishment, enhance conditioning, and improve special teams play all at the same time.

Defensive Inference: Refers to the tendency to perform or emphasize special preference or attention to the defensive aspects of a setting.

Film: The coaching staff will screen the film of the previous game and determine how much (if any), and which parts of the film are to be played for the team. Film footage of the next opponent should be viewed at this time as well. The entire time spent in the film room should not exceed one hour, and emphasis should be placed on the next game, not the last one.

Offensive Inference: Refers to the tendency to perform or emphasize special preference or attention to the offensive aspects of a setting.

Position Drills: Drills specific to offensive and defensive positions are practiced and demonstrated in half- speed and full- speed settings. The offense and defense are split into groups with perhaps the linemen kept together if necessary. Defensive drills might include ripping, swimming, bull rushing, pass rushing, reading blocks, tackling, fumble recovery, and tip drills. Offensive linemen work on their various block types while the backs work to improve their specific skills.

Scrimmage: A good scrimmage should last no longer than one hour and there are many possible recommended guidelines. One I recommend is the 'no contact below the waist' rule.

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