Having a routine is critical for kids. Parents know this. Teachers know this. I’m not sure youth coaches know this.
Establishing routines for kids is one of the first things parents learn. Have a routine for getting ready for school. Have a routine for going to bed. If you don’t have a routine for your kids to follow, you are likely to have problems.
It’s the same thing with teams. If you don’t have a routine for how to start practice, the kids are going to arrive late, goof around and not be ready to focus.
If you don’t have a routine for how to end practice, the team will won’t remember what you worked on during the practice. They might not be excited for the next practice. They are missing on an opportunity for team bonding.
I think having routines prevents so many problems for youth coaches. Here are the areas that teams should have routines and typical areas to work on.
- The start of practice: Time of arrival. What to do if you’re late. What skills to work on when you first get there.
- The warm-up: What exercises to do. Who leads them. Formation to use. Skills to work on.
- The parts of practice: Introduction, instruction, individual drills, small team drills.
- Finish of practice:What was worked on. Upcoming schedule. Homework. Team bonding and support.
- Competition: Arrival. Warm-up, Time outs. Team cheers. End of game.
This is only an outline of some routines that you could use in your practices.
I don’t think everything needs to be a routine or the same. But the more that you can keep things from getting away from you, the more you’ll be able to control them when they do.
And when you work with kids, things always go awry.
You can (and should) have a routine for that as well.
Coach Ron Usher has over 30 years of working with kids in a variety of programs and levels. He is an Adapted Physical Educator and helps parents, coaches and kids with their fitness and health.