As the new week was about to begin it was time to put my training plan together to help my groups get ready for their next set of games. I sat in my office chair at home, reflecting on the past weekends games. I thought to myself, "We need to defend better." I put together exercises to refresh players in the area of 1v1 defending as well as exercises to force the players to work on pressure and cover in small group defending exercises. The entire week's plan was a progression from individual defending to full team defending to create more individual discipline, team organization, and understanding from the defensive side of the ball. The week started well, the 1v1 defending exercises were forcing players to take away passing lanes as well as bend runs as they closed down the ball. The players seemed to focus on the purpose of the weeks training. The next evening we moved to small group defending that required timely movement and communication between teammates. I was hoping to get to some simulated "team defending" but we could not move past this current exercise. The exercise "looked good" and it seemed like the girls were working. But were they getting "work done"? My co-coach asked me, "Where's the intensity in their movements?" That's when I realized that the session was not helping the players as much as it could, simply because I was not demanding enough intensity. The pressure was correct in most cases, the cover sharp, but the girls were going "through the motions" because they had done the exercise before or because I wasn't motivating them to compete. Either way, I had to chat with them about the energy they were putting in to the exercise so that the session would have the chance to translate to the game on the weekend. I would imagine that we all have exercises we have used repeatedly throughout the season. As the season is progressing through its ninth month be sure to keep an eye on the energy the girls are putting in to these exercises so that you can see benefit on the weekend. It may be helpful to ask a co-coach to help you, or if you don't have a co-coach, ask a coach of another team to help you one evening. The added perspective can make a big difference in how a particular exercise, being repeated, impacts your players.
Click here for some interesting perspective on training in our land versus another that relates to my week described above. Hope you enjoy, have a great weekend on the field!