Running a great practice can be a difficult endeavor. Having the following three items makes a coaches life much easier
1. A Schedule... You don't have to stick to it to the letter, but it's important to have an understanding of the plan going in. Take 5 minutes prior to leaving for practice to outline the things you want to accomplish and how much time you would like to spend on them. Write it down on a piece of paper, a napkin or the side of a coffee cup if you have to, but make sure it's there for you to reference. The concept of "winging it" is pretty enticing with busy work and personal schedules, but it does a disservice to your players and their progress. Even the professionals, who have run 1000's of practices, use schedules to stay on track and optimize their workouts. From NFL coaches to MLB managers, the schedule is key to team improvement.
2. Cones... They might seem small and insignificant at first glance, but cones are a great visual tool and utilized in 100's of athletic drills (from youth to the professional level). Athletic fields tend to be open spaces with pockets of crowds during practices. Using cones to separate drills and tell players where to move is incredibly powerful and the applications are limitless with the write imagination (Check out our list of cone drills here). Cones are inexpensive and tend to last a very long time. Buy 25 multi-color cones for your first practice and you're set for the foreseeable future.
3. Medical Kit... A Med kit is like 4-wheel drive on a car, you may only need it once a season, but you'll be glad you had it when that time comes. The necessary items: Ice pack(s), bandaids, alcohol/antiseptic wipes, sterile wrap(s), and sterile gloves. The ice packs will be used the most, especially with younger age groups. If you're dealing with blood and open cuts, use the gloves.
We hope you've found these tips helpful (share them with your friends if you did) and would love to hear your feedback in the comments section below!