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 Ten Ways to Make your Youth Sports Practice More Successful

By:  Gary Stocker

  1. Jot down a plan in advance.
    Even if it’s on the back of an index card, jot yourself some notes as to what you want to accomplish during the practice.  You’ll also want to list the drills you want to do and the time you want to spend on each.

    There are a couple of advantages to this small planning exercise.  First, both the children and their parents will appreciate your efforts to prepare.  Second, you’ll be able to teach many more skills that can positively impact the results of your team’s games.

  2. Assign general time limits to each activity.
    It has been very disconcerting for me to watch youth sports teams practice and stay on one uninvolved, uninspired drill for what seem like an endless time.  Children are standing around, counting dandelions, and otherwise observing their environs.

    I have found 4-8 minutes is enough time for any single drill.  I always have a master list of drills I use available to pick from.  You can get some ideas from on the drills you can use for your teams.

  3. Add competition to as many skill-building drills as possible.
    When teaching dribbling skills, add races.  When teaching shooting skills, add ‘most in 30 seconds’ contest.

    When teaching how to catch fly balls, have two teams and see who can catch the most out of 20.  If you want to teach cut-offs from the outfield, divide up into two teams with one team trying to advance from 1st to 3rd (or 2nd to home) and the other trying to execute the cut-off and tag out the runners.

    In each and every drill that I have ever created or used, I have always looked to add a competitive element to that drill.  Do likewise and you’ll find the children learning more – and having more fun doing it.
  4. Keep the perspective.
    Remember, most of the children on your youth sports team will usually get more enjoyment out of practices than the games.  Most will fall by the sports wayside as they get older and develop other interests. So, we have found great learning value in creating fun – even goofy competitions during practice while building some skills at the same time


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