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Are Your Practices Like a Bad Cell Area – One Big “Dead Zone”

Practices Bad Cell Area Dead Zone Zombie Boredom

Does your team resemble a bunch of zombies when practice starts? Do your early morning games resemble a complaining-convention? If so, then check out 4 ways to help jump start your practices.

If your practices are the same thing over and over, and bore even you, then you’ve got a big dead zone on your hands – and it’s time to spice things up. Check out how you can do that!

It’s not unusual for a team full of school-aged players, that have a million things pulling at their time & attention, that don’t eat right or get enough sleep to sometimes show up lacking energy. Women’s teams can often get into the same rhythm and cycle, both good and bad, and while this can be a reality there are some things you can do to quickly get your team going.

Dealing with an ever-changing energy level isn’t that unusual, particularly with high school aged players and younger. I mention this so you know this type of behavior isn’t a plot against you or the player’s reaction to you – unless of course it’s happening everyday at every practice. School-aged players have SO many different things going on in their worlds, never mind the changes going on in their bodies, that combined with the fact that many don’t eat right or get enough sleep it can all collide to make practice a sometimes listless and often fearful situation.

One important thing to keep in mind is that athletes are competitive so jump-start your listless players with a competition, instead of the same old boring everyday warm-ups. If your competitions also happen to be fun – then that’s even better!

To get your team energized right from the start, I suggest the following:
  1. Start Fun! Instead of starting practice with the same old boring stretching, jogging and throwing drills try starting off with something fun that gets the players active and involved right off the bat. Here are some Fun and Competitive suggestions from our eDrills:
  2. It’s About the Team – Let your team know that everyone is here to get themselves better in order to get the Team better, that the Team Comes First! This means that everyone needs to hold each other accountable to a Top Effort Level. As your team matures and buys into this concept of Team First they will do a better job of holding each other accountable to less-than-acceptable effort levels.
  3. 8 for 8! – Ask your players this question: If 10 was the most you could give anything, what number would you say you’re giving right now? Most players will say 5-6. So every once in a while, during practice, stop practice and say – OK, it’s 8 Time!!! That means for the next 8 minutes everyone is to give no less than an 8 effort level at whatever you’re doing (coaches included)! It makes it an achievable enough level for a short enough amount of time that the players really feel it’s something they can do.
  4. You Try, I’ll Try – eating better and getting more sleep are two great ways for your players to increase their energy. To help your players start to eat and sleep better set up an agreement system that says if each player will eat less junk food each day and get a little more sleep each night, then you will do a lap of the field each practice. If each player keeps an Eat and Sleep Log and actually writes down what they ate each day that was good for them and how many hours they slept – then you will do a lap of the field (for each player that improved since last practice). The lap can be a walk, a skip or a jog but the effort on your part will encourage the effort on theirs and will end up doing everyone some good.

For more help with various methods and exercises for helping your players with their focus, concentration and other team skills, check out Coach’s Guide to Creating Team Chemistry: Tips on Coaching Female Athletes

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