When I was a young gun coach, more years ago than I really want to count these days, I simply used the drills my college coach or high school coach used. It was better than nothing but it was based more on what I could remember and what I liked as a player, not what my team needed.
I quickly learned the need for drill specificity to what I was trying to teach in terms of offense and defense. The need for an emphasis on teaching, repeating and mastering fundamental skills also became quickly evident.
What makes a good drill? For me it includes the following:
- It fits the the system I am teaching and serves a distinct purpose in improving our offensive or defensive systems.
- The drill always places an emphasis on fundamental skill development.
- The drill must be simple in its organization and easy for players to learn.
- Small groups of players are needed for the drill to be executed, allowing multiple small groups to execute the drill at one time, utilizing the space available.
- Competitive drills are good and some should certainly be utilized.
- Drills that include offensive or defensive transition as part of the drill are excellent.
- Drills should have a clear focus of what the primary skill, strategy or tactic being practiced is.
- Includes some form of communication, either verbal or visual.
What makes a drill a poor drill? For me it includes the following:
- Nothing in the drill correlates to the system being taught.
- The drill does not emphasize fundamentals.
- The drill is organized in such a way large numbers of players are waiting in line instead of performing repetitions.
- No clear focus of the primary goal and focus of the drill is evident.
- Basic organization of the drill is overly complicated.
Careful selection of drills is essential to plan and create effective, efficient practice sessions.