Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Element of Time, No Huddle, and Practice Efficiency

We are new to no huddle this season, and having not even played our first game, I've noticed huge benefits from going no huddle.  Our reps are up in team, and we have a lot more plays installed at this point in the season than we did a year ago.  With all that being said, I have all of a sudden gotten to become a time fanatic (not that I wasn't before, but I'm now borderline mental with it) in that I'm trying to milk any and every minute out of practice I can.  That is why I'm turning to you guys, many of you are no huddle gurus and I'm going to step back and be the student and learn from you.  If anyone can look at this post and try to help us maximize our practice efficiency, please send me an email at  Here are some of our issues.
  1. The state mandates that for every 30 minutes of activity we must provide a five minute water break -OR- have water present at all the drills all the time.  We cannot deny our players water (nor would we).  We have tried two ways with this one, the first, is to get our water, take a knee and let a coach talk about some facet of the game, such as a play we run, or how we might adjust to certain motions or shifts by the offense etc.  Basically use those five minutes to continue to teach.  Downside of that is that the kids have been learning this way a majority of the day and begin to tune you out.  So, a week ago, we switched to having water at all our drills and the kid's interest has been peaked because we are in constant "go" mode.  The drawback with the second method is that we have no time to set up drills as we move seamlessly from one station to another.  Since we have limited resources (dummies, cones, sleds etc.) we have to assemble and reassemble our drills, sometimes with kids standing around, which leads to our lack of efficiency.
  2. The next issue is tempo.  Being a small school, we have several players that go both ways (seven to be exact) so we try to keep our tempo slow.  We've done this in practice and it is driving me bonkers, because I feel we should be going at warp speed to aid in our conditioning.  The head coach, on the other hand, thinks we play like we practice and since we are not going to be in NASCAR mode but a few times during the course of the game he doesn't want to practice this way and risk the players doing this in a game and wearing themselves out.  I guess this is just more a disagreement than anything, however I feel it's an issue that has led to us being less than efficient with our time.  I don't really care about plays in a game (heck we are usually underdogs so the less the better for us), but plays in practice means more and more quality reps.  I agree with the head coach's logic, but I think we can tone things down a bit if we have to.  I've always said I'd rather rein in kids than have to push them, so I prefer teaching them fast.
That's our two main issues that are keeping us behind the clock and keeping us at practice longer than we need to be.  We'd love to keep practice around two hours early in the season and cut that down to an hour and a half in the latter half of the season.  Right now we are hovering just over the two hour mark and the issues listed above are what's keeping us there.  This is much better than the two and a half hours we used to practice last season.  Please don't take this as I'm bitching or anything, I'm look for a better mousetrap and I can't seem to wrap my head around it.  This no huddle thing has my mind spinning at nights trying to find ways to add a minute here or shave five minutes there and quite frankly I thought I'd get some input from the readers.  I thought about posting this on the Huey board, but I'd rather here from some of the loyal readers our there. 

Again, sorry for the lack of postings, but I'm still working on my book, and I'm somewhat of an "interim head coach" right now (long story).  Anyhow, I was not expecting to be in head coach mode this season and it caught me a bit off guard (been a while you since I last called my self Commander in Chief).  Once we get to playing and things regulate, I have some stuff saved up for you so be patient!

You tell em' Yoda!