Planning the Perfect Practice
Making the most out of each practice is key to a successful season. Coaches and captains should work together to ensure that each practice runs as efficiently and productively as possible. Practices should be planned according to upcoming events, games, and competitions, keeping in mind that things can change due to the composition of the team. As long as you have a “game plan” in place, you and your teams are sure to enjoy a rewarding year.
Follow along with the tips below to ensure your “Practice Makes Perfect.” 5 – 6 – 7 – 8, Go!
5. Warm Up -- Get the Body Moving
A proper warm up will improve blood flow and increase the body’s core temperature, which will decrease your chances of injury. It is important not to overstretch at the beginning of practice. Give your team light stretches that mimic the activity. This will awaken the muscles and prepare them for the long practice ahead.
6. Drills -- Skills, Routines and Game-Actions
Now that the team is warm, begin your drills. This is the point at practice where you should work on team skills, routines, game-actions etc. Review routines that you learned at summer camp and practice your game-action cheers. Also work on stunts, tumbling, or sections of your competition routine. Whatever element it is, make sure to demonstrate and practice with proper technique, no matter how simple the drill. This will ensure continued success!
7. Run Through – Put it Together
So, you have warmed up your bodies and practiced skills and routines. Now it’s time to put it all together! Running your routines full out is an important step in in the practice process, and a powerful predictor of how your team will perform. They may feel silly adding in facial expressions, but this, too, can become muscle memory, just like your hi-V motion.
8. Cool Down -- Stretch
Stretching prevents injury and increases range of motion. Using slow static stretches at the end of your workout will help aid in getting those toe touches in tip top shape.
Now that the nitty-gritty of the practice is over, it is always important to incorporate FUN and team bonding! When the team gets to let loose and be silly together (whether at practice through appropriate theme days or outside of practice through a pool party or activity) you create lasting memories and strengthen team bonds. Through these team building activities, teammates feel greater accountability to each other, leading to productive practices in the future.
Remember to work hard, keep the team on track and stay focused. If you can accomplish these simple tasks, you are on the road to a successful year.