Club Practice Planning

Club Practice Planning: Key Components and Examples

Tim Comfort- SASSA HP/Technical Director

This article is also available in an easier to read formatDrill Progressions Chart   Technique Diagrams 

We are all immensely proud of our sport and work hard to offer a product on the ice which reflects our passion and enthusiasm.  I believe our product can always be improved.  One way we can do that is through sharing of ideas about what makes a practice effective, interesting and fun.  I am going to try to:

 

1.        Highlight the components of a good practice at the club level

2.        Give coaches examples of several practice plans which incorporate those components

3.        Ask you what you think makes a good practice using a simple survey

4.        Provide a practice planning template for your use

 

1.       Components of a good practice at the club level (in no particular order)

 

         I.            Have a plan

  a.        Practice- you are more likely to run a good practice if you plan for it.  Spend the time and think about how you will address each component.  Write it down and refer to it on the ice, evaluate how it went with your colleagues.

  b.        Year- do a simple yearly plan, including all of the components, not just physiological, but social, mental, race planning, etc.

        II.            Fun

  a.        Athletes of any age like to goof off, include fun and games, not just the ones that involve the skating position turning left. 

      III.            Social

  a.        Give them time to talk to one another, incorporate it into practice

      IV.            Measureable technical focus

  a.        We have a sport which is easily measured with a stop watch.  Teach a strategy (ie. wide corner entry) and then test it out with a stop watch.  Use pylons as goals in teaching track skating.  Skaters like to know if they are improving, try to link the feedback with the technique you are teaching.  “Good job” and “good effort” is often meaningless in the absence of a measureable objective.

       V.            Fast

  a.        We often train our kids to do accelerations and 6 laps at 75%, GO FAST!

      VI.            One-on-one coaching

  a.        Practices with one coach are often not effective, no one talks to the skaters.  More coaches enables one coach to facilitate and the others to interact, to coach!

    VII.            Let athletes talk to check understanding

  a.        Ask the skaters to check their understanding of what is to be learned, listen to them more than you talk to them.

   VIII.            Chance to model or imitate

  a.        Provide ample opportunities for skaters to follow and imitate skaters better than them.  Allow them to go to another group if they are the best in theirs.

      IX.            Physically challenging

  a.        Make them sweat and work, kids want the challenge

        X.            Imagination vs. drill

  a.        Use your imagination in creating activities to teach skills.  Don’t always just say, “Now do 5 laps and try it!”  Invent a game that uses edge control, weight shift, etc.  Share the games on the ATP page (tcomfort@sasktel.net)

      XI.            Use video tools such as iPads, “coaches eye”, “coach my video”

  a.        Immediate visual feedback is worth a whole lot of words from any coach

     XII.            Use the available tools for teaching and use them innovatively

  a.        mats, rubber chickens, balls, medicine balls, bosu balls, hoops, ropes, etc.

 

 

 

 

 

2.      Examples of practice plans

 

Plan 1

 

Day ________________                                         Group: Fundamentals and L2T              

Technical Emphasis: Edges                                    Physical Emphasis: Aerobic

Goal

Activity

Time

Comments

Off-ice warm-up

 

 

Dynamic wu including FM exercises from web site, 2x20 m sprints, tag, standing long jump

15’

Fun and includes activation exercises

On-ice warm-up

 

 

Balls on ice, pick up and throw balls to a targets (buckets), 5 laps easy

3’

Remind them about technical emphasis from last practice

Activation

 

 

Squats with dowels, touch heels with both hands to both heels while gliding, then touch on one leg glide

3x30 m. standing starts

5-10’

In groups, each with a coach, feedback given

Technical, learning objective

 

 

Rodeo slalom race (figure eights 2x around two cones, tag partner and they go (3x through, do across ice

Do first “race” as a run through, the next ones faster

10’

Two leg pivot, one leg pivot, use buckets, no buckets, hand on ice when pivoting for advanced

Physical

 

 

2x3x3 laps in groups, report to coach for technical advice and rest between reps and sets, rest 3 laps, SR 5’

15-20

Reinforce edges in skating, flats on the straights, edges on the corners

Technical “summary”

 

Bring group together and ask them to summarize technical objective, brainstorm problems to “improper edges” technical gaps

2’

 

Game/warm-down

 

 

Hand soccer

 

Even teams, have fun!

 

Component Checklist

 

planning                               fun                       social                   clear technical focus

measureable objective            fast                      fits into big plan     chance to model

one-on-one                          listen to athletes     use props             video tools

other _________                      other ________        incorp. functional movement (squat, flat back, active. gluts)

 

Plan 2

 

Day ________________                                         Group: Fundamentals and Active Start 

Technical Emphasis: agility                                    Physical Emphasis: aerobic

Goal

Activity

Time

Comments

Off-ice warm-up

 

 

Relays involving agility, over/under, jumping, landing

Soccer or flags

15’

Fun and active, non-competitive

On-ice warm-up

 

 

Team mat game, your team must move your pile of mats from one end to another, each time a mat is moved, it must have a “rider”, you may not touch another teams mat

10’

Use your imagination, put mats back after, don’t worry about bungees

Activation

 

 

Start game, from end to end, add in falls and agility tasks at the center line

10’

Be careful not to stress competition

Technical, learning objective

 

 

Five coaches conduct agility tasks with props in different areas of the ice (falls, jumps, balances, turns, rotations, squats, games, tunnels)

15’

Rotate after 3-4 minutes

Physical

 

 

Bucket relays or push train relays

10’

Mix teams after each race, both directions, different courses, not just track races

Technical “summary”

 

Ask kids what they were good at

2’

 

Game/warm-down

 

 

Done in physical, can do a version of toilet tag if time

5’

fun

 

Component Checklist

 

planning                               fun                       social                   clear technical focus

measureable objective            fast                      fits into big plan      chance to model

one-on-one                          listen to athletes     use props             video tools

other _________                      other ________        incorp. functional movement (squat, flat back, active. gluts)

 

Plan 3

 

Day ________________                                         Group: T2T and up 

Technical Emphasis: foot placement on corners   Physical Emphasis: alactic anaerobic

Goal

Activity

Time

Comments

Off-ice warm-up

 

 

Skipping, FM wu exercises from ATP, core games like simple wrestling, 2x 30 m sprints, ladder or pylon work for fast feet

15’

Fun and team oriented, not the same one each time, moving!

On-ice warm-up

 

 

2x5 laps easy

 

 

Activation

 

 

Dowel work (squats, single leg squats to A, weight transfer, squat with dowel at heels, edges with dowel), core exercises (plank) on ice,

2x100 m accels, 2x50 m crazy sprint, two timed flying start laps

10’

have a look at videos on facebook page, learn about FM exercises from other coaches

Technical, learning objective

 

 

Strap work with proper foot placement the main goal, emphasize the placement and the need to be in a position to fire the leg immediately

10’

Short duration with coach supervision, one coach for every three or four skaters

Physical

 

 

Athletes experiment with fast laps, flying start with proper foot placement the objective, 2x100 timed flying starts, compare times

15’

Let skaters experiment, take video if possible, coach for every three skaters

Technical “summary”

 

Bring in group and share their understanding of the task, determine a next step in addressing this technical point

2’

In small groups with coaches who understand the mechanics

Game/warm-down

 

 

Ultimate Frisbee, 10 lap wd

10’

fun

 

Component Checklist

 

planning                               fun                       social                   clear technical focus

measureable objective            fast                      fits into big plan      chance to model

one-on-one                          listen to athletes     use props             video tools

other _________                      other ________        incorp. functional movement (squat, flat back, active. gluts)

 

 

3.      Survey

 

What do you think makes an effective practice?  Take the short survey and we will all benefit from the results!

 

 

4.      Practice Planning Template

 

Day ________________                                         Group ____________________

               

Technical Emphasis ______________                   Physical Emphasis _________________

 

Goal

Activity

Time

Comments

Off-ice warm-up

 

 

 

 

 

On-ice warm-up

 

 

 

 

 

Activation

 

 

 

 

 

Technical, learning objective

 

 

 

 

 

Physical

 

 

 

 

 

Technical “summary”

 

 

 

 

Game/warm-down

 

 

 

 

 

 

Component Checklist

 

planning                               fun                       social                   clear technical focus

measureable objective            fast                      fits into big plan      chance to model

one-on-one                          listen to athletes     use props             video tools

other _________                      other ________        incorp. functional movement (squat, flat back, active. gluts)       

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