I recently heard a fellow coach state, “Fun in practice is not allowed.” Man is that wrong. As a coach for almost 30 years I have seen a lot of athletes participate in sports. Every athlete comes to practice to learn skills, participate, compete, develop fitness, and I think most all to have fun. What can we do as coaches to make our athletes have fun and of course win?
It all starts within your practice. Just like our bodies get accustom to our workouts, the athletes get accustom to our practices. As coaches we need to make change in our practice sessions. Why because doing the same drill every day becomes boring. This in turn makes playing a team sport boring and dreadful. Yes, a repetition is the key to getting better, but we can do this by changing the drills.
How do we accomplish this? First, we all should be planning out our practices. That means get a variety of drills. There are different drills that teach the same skill. These drills are out there. You don’t have to recreate the wheel. Search and you shall find them. That means we have to prepare to make it fun for our athletes.
By doing this we might just be motivating our athletes to come to practice. This makes the players come to practice not knowing what to expect and motivates them to come to practice eager to practice. If they are eager they will work hard. When they work hard they practice at game time intensity.
Yes expect mistakes in practice. That is what practice is for. Create a positive atmosphere. I can tell you if the player knows that they will not be punished for every little mistake they then will work harder and be more aggressive. Your players should not be afraid to make mistakes.
Help them to understand that we all make mistakes and these types of people are trying very hard and who care about becoming a better athlete. The greatest athletes in every sport make mistakes. If your team is having fun and are getting better in the process, chances are good that you will be having fun too. Do your coaching in practice.As the great Coach John Wooden said, “The way you practice is the way you play.” Let them have fun in practice and they will have fun in the game!