A practice plan is a written plan that outlines your practice; reminding you what you want to do and when you want to do it. It should contain items that you don't want to forget such as a certain ground ball drill or type of batting practice drills. You may be the type of coach that can organize a practice off the top of your head and accomplish what you want in the desired time. For the other 99.8% of us a practice plan is a critical part of a successful practice. It may be written out on a napkin or your work stationary, it really doesn't matter as long as it gives you enough detail to allow you to move through your practice in a structured and organized manner.
For me, the practice plan starts with an objective. What do I want to accomplish during this practice. I will often fill out all or part of this after a game. Where did we get hurt? What execution problems did we have? I try to keep it to 3 or 4 bullet points. Early in the season this can be difficult because there's so much to cover. This is another example of where the objective can help you plan. Let's say you have 5 practices before your first game. Do you just go practice to practice and hope you cover everything you want? With this method, you may miss something important and may also be teaching things that would be better covered during the season. Write a list of the skills, situations, and plays you want to cover. Prioritize those items and then break them down into an objective list for each of your first 5 practices. It usually takes longer than you think to practice certain skills, so after each practice you can modify the objectives of the next practice. If you're like me, most objectives listed for that last practice will be delayed. It just always seems to take longer than I plan, but with the objectives prioritized, I'm at least delaying items that aren't as critical as the items were working on. I feel this gives us a good foundation to build on.
Don't spend your time rewriting information that you can print out. There are many drills with explanations on this site (See Drill Section) and other web sites. Print them out and take them with you. On your practice plan, just make a not to see attached page. Books are another great resources for drills. Photocopy the drill you want to use and take it with you. Practice plans should help you organize your practice, but shouldn't take hours to prepare.
Once you fill out your objectives for the practice, then it's a matter of writing down drills and games that support those objectives. I try to place a loose time frame on each drill or game. Some things will go smooth and take exactly the time you think and others will take longer. I try to end my practice with something fun. I don't want that to be left out because we run out of time. So I will try to have the drill right before it be one that can be very flexible in the amount of time spent on it.
I have included 1 sample practice plan to give you an idea of the type of information that can be included and some worksheets that you can print out and use. These are practice plan formats that I have created and used. As with the Sample Charts that are provided, I want to create tools that are useful for the majority of coaches. If you would like to see some additional practice plan worksheets provided that are configured in a certain way, just let me know. Chances are if you would like it that way, others would like it as well. Just e-mail the request to email@example.com.
Word practice plan so you can edit it on your computer and then print.
Word Document Worksheet