Make the Drill Matter
Have you ever been in a sports practice and felt like you have run dry with “good” skills drills to use with your team? If you feel this way, just be sure not to get caught up in running just any old drill. You want to make the drills matter. I always say “the job of a coach is to set his or her athletes up for success”. If you are running drills that are not going to lead to success, then you are wasting time. Here are some thoughts on how you can have tons of drills that really matter to the game and set your athletes up for success…
First of all, if the age group you are working with is very young and inexperienced then the most common drills need to be based off fundamental skills (dribbling the basketball, passing the volleyball, groundstrokes in tennis). If the athletes do not have the basic fundamentals down then all the advanced drills in the world don’t mean a thing.
To get the most out of your drills take all every aspect of your offense, defense, special situations, special skills needed, and anything else related to playing the sport and break them into drills. For example, in softball turning a double play is an important defensive play. Break down the footwork of the play and drill it many different ways. Another example would be the give and go in soccer or basketball. Teach the players to find open space and make passes into the space.
As a coach, this is the most fun for me. I love taking offenses and defenses and breaking down the patterns into drills. This gives the players more repetitions at their offense and defensive skills without actually running the entire play.
When drills are taken from the offensive and defensive structures of the game you build an automatic response from the players- they just do it without thinking. This occurs because they have grooved the motor pattern through tons of reps.
Don’t forget, without the basic fundamentals of the game more advance drills shouldn’t be added.
I would love to hear your take on this and what kinds of drills you like to use with your teams.