Effective Sports Practices:Pre-Practice Steps for Every Coach

Are you looking to run effective sports practices?

If you have ever coached a sport, even for just one season- you know the juggling act.

From parent communications, logistics of leading a team, understanding the skills & drills, to the actual coaching mechanism- it can be daunting, not to mention…exhausting.

We want to do our best to make your job as easy as possible. We also want to make sure that your athletes’ are getting what they need through the process.

This blog series is made to be a game of throw-and-catch!

Be sure to provide your feedback and thoughts in the comments.

Today, I am going to share Four Pre-Practice Steps for Every Coach to do before you even show up at practice.

They likely aren’t what you expect but if you do them you will see more effective sports practices.

Effective Sports Practices: Four Pre-Practice Steps for Every Coach

Step 1: Get your Sleep

That’s right, we are going there. Your sleep. When the vast majority walk around sleep-deprived or revved-up on caffeine, we can make the assumption that you may be in that boat too, at some point.

Do you expect your athletes’ to show up rested and ready?

Great, so make it routine to get a good nights rest before practice!

Step 2: Fuel up

Look, we get it, most of you are on point with your nutrition, but many of you aren’t. Just as you’d ask your athletes’ to put some good nutrients in the tank before practice, doesn’t it make sense that you show them how?

This is your pre-practice fuel. This may be the obvious, but a greasy burger and fries is not going to give you spring in your step at practice.

Opt for nutrient dense options about 30 minutes prior to practice.

Step 3: Drink up

At the very least, you need to be hydrated. Water! Enough said.

Step 4: Flip the Switch

Start incorporating a “flip the switch” practice for yourself. The purpose of this is for you to shift from your day-to-day, to your team. It’s a transition period, for YOU!

This could look a number of ways, here are a few suggestions but doesn’t have to take more than five minutes:

Here is a simple Framework:


Reflect on your day. Write down everything that is lingering in your mind from the day. Get it on paper and let stay there, until you need to pick it back up again.


How do you want to show up?

Sit and focus on how you want to lead your practice today. Do you want more patience? Do you want to bring more energy? Do you want to be centered and calm?

Write it down.


Lastly, what do you want to create today?

This is where your practice planning comes into play. What would success look like for you at the end of the day. Are there 2-3 main objectives that you want to accomplish today?

Write it down.


Take 5 deep breaths, breathing IN your vision for your practice and breathing OUT anything that could get in the way of that.

For example:

Breath in: patience, pursuit and presence

Breath out: frustration

Breath in: confidence, calmness,  creativity

Breath out: doubt

These may seem simple and obvious, but just like your athletes’, many are not actually doing the very things that are simple and obvious.

My encouragement for you is to be your own experiment, and always, be hungry, humble and coachable- just like we ask of the kids.

Let’s get after it.

Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section! What resonated, what is working for you?

Julie Hatfield-Still

Julie Hatfield-Still

Julie Hatfield-Still

Brand Executive for the IYCA.

Julie is an Entrepreneur, CEO, Coach and Author.

She is founder of the Impact More Method for entrepreneurs and the Inner Game Framework for Athletes.

This is Must-Have Handbook for every coach who desires to incorporate Long Term Athlete Development into their practices- Grab it Today

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