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How To Plan A Perfect Throwing Practice

March 6, 2018

Happy Tuesday everybody. As you know Tuesday is blog day and today's post is a good one.

 

Today we cover what a "typical" day of throwing practice should look like for a track team. The word "Typical" is in quotes because, really, there is no such thing as a typical day of practice.

 

We all have different schedules and allowed times to be with our athletes. We all have different season lengths depending on where we live. We all have a different amount of hours per day and per week that we can work with our kids. Depending on what state you live in, you may have 2, 3, or even 4 throwing events to coach your kids. And depending on your school and school size, you may have 10, 20, 30, or in some cases 40 throwers (or more) to try and coach on any given day. On top of that, you might coach just the boys team, just the girls team, or both boys and girls throwers at the same time. Add in meets, school schedules, holidays, spring breaks, SATs, and everything else that pops up and it can get really tough to have a "typical" day. 

 

Your "typical" frustrated throws coaches! 

 

That is a lot to manage and everyone is different so there really is no such thing as a typical day of practice. A coach named Paula sent me an email asking what her typical day of practice should look like and my response was very similar what I typed above. There is no such thing. I did ask her to email me back with her actual schedule to help her figure it out.

 

FYI this is not an open invitation to all of you to email me your schedules so I can do this for you! I want you to use what I explain below to figure out how to best optimize your practice time.

 

So here we go. Paula normally has about 10 throwers come out for her team every year. She has daily practices from 3:25 to 5:00 (95 minutes of practice each day). Paula also has three events to coach...shot put, discus, and javelin. She should be getting in the weight room twice a week and she will probably also have meets that pop up during the week in the middle of her season. If this sounds similar to you, keep reading. If your schedule seems easier or even harder than Paula's schedule, keep reading. Take what I talk about in the video below and apply it to your schedule to find the best way to optimize your practice time.

 

 

For someone like Paula (and most of the throws coaches reading this post) you probably start your practice off with a message from the head coach, some type of attendance, and a short active warm up. Say this takes 20 minutes at the beginning of every practice (huge waste of time but that's another post/rant for another day). For Paula this means she has 75 minutes of actual practice time with her team every day.

 

Here is how I would schedule her week during the first part of the season where she might not have any meets.

 

Monday: 40 minutes of shot put and 35 minutes in the weight room

Tuesday: 35 minutes of discus and 35 minutes of javelin (5 minutes wasted putting equipment away)

Wednesday: Same as Monday

Thursday: Same as Tuesday

Friday: Coach's choice. Pick the two most popular events or two events that you think need the most help and do 35 minutes of each.

 

Here is how Paula should schedule her practices during the middle of her season where she has meets that pop up during the week and on weekends. In this example, let's pretend she has a meet on Wednesday and a meet on Saturday.

 

Monday: 40 minutes of shot put and 35 minutes in the weight room

Tuesday: 35 minutes of discus and 35 minutes of javelin.

Wednesday: Track Meet

Thursday: Same as Monday

Friday: Same as Tuesday

 

Pretty simple to move the days around. Now let's take a look at what a practice schedule would look like during the end of the season (championship season) where a lot of the bigger meets and bigger championships take place.

 

Monday: 40 minutes of shot put and 35 minutes in the weight room

Tuesday: 35 minutes of discus and 35 minutes of javelin (5 minutes wasted putting equipment away)

Wednesday: Same as Monday

Thursday: Same as Tuesday

Friday: Coach's choice. Pick the two most popular events or two events that you think need the most help and do 35 minutes of each.

 

This championship practice will change according to which events your kids have qualified for. So if you have one athlete who qualified in javelin and did not qualify in shot or discus, he will spend all of his time that week on javelin. Pretty simple.

 

Obviously there needs to be some wiggle room for things like bad weather, meet and schedule changes, sickness, injury, and of course the kids who don't want to throw all three events. That actually makes the schedule EASIER to figure out! The fewer kids that do each event, the less time you need to be at that event coaching them. 

 

Now, IN A PERFECT WORLD what would I want MY typical day of practice to look like?

 

  1. Basically, in a perfect world all of my meets would be on Saturdays (like college).

  2. I would have a team of about 20 highly dedicated and motivated throwers.

  3. I would only have to coach shot put and discus (sorry javelin and hammer people!).

  4. We would practice Monday - Friday every week.

  5. Practice would go from 2:30 - 5:00 daily (150 minutes of practice a day).

  6. The first 20 minutes would be the meeting with the head coach, attendance, and an active warm up.

  7. That would leave 2 hours and 10 minutes (130 minutes) a day for actual practice.

  8. 50-55 minutes would be spent on one event and 50-55 minutes would be spent on another event or in the weight room.

  9. The last 20 minutes of the day would be spent doing drills, medicine ball throws, sprints, plyometrics, stretching, foam rolling, or watching video and doing video analysis of each of my throwers.

 

So here is my question to all of you reading this blog post. Why can't your typical day of practice look like my ideal day of practice? What's holding you back? What can you change (or need to change) to make sure you can create the best environment possible for your athletes to succeed? Do you need to talk to your coach to stop the 20 minute meeting and warm up thing that happens every day? Do you need to talk to your Athletic Director to see if you can get practice time extended? What is holding you back from having the ideal practice situation and what can you do to make it better for your sanity and success as a coach?

 

Here are some additional resources:

 

For an ebook explaining how to set up your season schedule, organize your office, organize your life, and keep track of what you should be doing on a daily basis, click here!

 

For an ebook with a done-for-you in-season training guide complete with explanations of how to schedule your training to peak for the big meets at the end of the season click here!

 

As always, please use the contact form at the bottom of this page or click the contact tab at the top of this website to email me any questions about throwing, coaching, training, or anything that might pop up and is driving you crazy. I am here to help. You might see your question as the subject of our next blog post just like Paula!

 

THROW FAR!!

 

Coach Matt Ellis

 

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