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Repetitions are the Key to Keeping Tempo

You know getting reps during the team segment of practice ensures the offense and defense get a game-like environment. Clearly, you should increase team segments as the season goes on, right? Wrong. Sacrificing individual skill development and consistency quenches discipline and fundamentals.

Now that you have all coaches and players on the same page with a common language and simplicity, it’s time to organize your practice to give team and individual reps the attention each deserves.

If you want to get better, you need more repetitions without losing the other critical elements, which means your practice strategy must be tightened up as the season progresses. Try this:

  1. Examine your practice habits and determine where you can squeeze in more reps.
  2. Streamline your practice tempo with clear, well-timed communication.
    • During a team segment, schematic coaching points, corrections, or adjustments should come directly from the coordinator.
    • For fundamentals or technique issues, the position coach should talk to his position group between reps as they come off the field or during their next individual period. This also mimics in-game communication, where you have limited time to deliver a message.
  3. Resist your tendency to have every point heard by everyone at practice. It is unrealistic in a game-like scenario. Communicating through the coordinator is a highly effective way to deliver any message. This prevents the head coach from stopping the entire practice to make a point or filter a message through three different position coaches. The coordinator can communicate quick corrections and move on to the next rep, increasing the practice tempo.
  4. As players come off the field or quickly between reps, the position coach can efficiently apply corrections.
  5. Teach fundamentals of the plays in individual position groups.

Most teams can script their practice in half the time they’ve actually been spending. Consider these practice outlines:

Poor practice outline

  • Warm-up: 20-30 minutes
  • Individual time: 10 minutes (tempo too slow)
  • Group time: 10-20 minutes (stagnant; spending too much time on one concept or adding too many new concepts)
  • Team practice: 60 minutes, no planned script or staged scout team schemes (only one rep every three minutes)

Maximized Rep Two-Hour Practice:

  • Warm-up: All positions, 5-7 minutes
  • Everyday drills: Position specific, 10-15 minutes (higher tempo)
  • Skill groups: 20 minutes, 7-on-7, QB/RB mesh, half-line, blitz pickups and inside runs (install new concepts, plays, and adjustments in this period)
  • Special teams: 10 minutes
  • Total team practice: 30 minutes (3-6 reps per minute)
  • Water and transition time: 20 minutes

Coaches, set the example by running from drill to drill. Complete reps with a high level of execution determined during the first half of practice. Tighter practice and increased total reps allow more personnel changes so more players get in reps on the second team, driving a greater increase in player development and confidence.

I should re-emphasize: coaches, do not skip individual time with your QBs. Drops, mechanics, pocket movement, and learning should never stop from the first week to the championship. To get better at a skill, you must precisely practice it a lot.

Do any of these concepts seem foreign? Please reach out to us at 925.855.9376 or email us at nfacoach@gmail.com. We at NFA are here to help you maximize your QB performance with coaching advice and specially designed camps for your athlete. This summer, NFA will be holding 50 intense development camps, as well as giving athletes the chance to qualify for the Future All American Bowl. Learn more.

In the final installment, we’ll look specifically at your passing game and how to give quarterbacks the game experience in practice to help reduce pressure.

Will Hewlett serves as the Director of Player Development for NFA and is the lead coach for elite players at NFA camps. Will regularly works with quarterbacks in the SEC, Big Ten, ACC and Pac-12 as a private quarterback coach and has been a guest coach at the Nike Elite 11. Will is a nationally recognized speaker on the Glazier Clinics tour for the past three years, and is regarded as one of the top throwing mechanics coaches in the country. His passion for the game is deeply rooted, having been the first Australian Quarterback to travel to the US and play NCAA football. His playing career extended to the pro ranks, with a stint in the Arena 2 league. His college experience included University of Nevada-Reno and University of Dubuque. Follow Coach Hewlett on Twitter @WillHewlett or email wrhewlett@gmail.com.

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