This is always a fun time. Your team is set, the schedule is ahead of you, and expectations are high. Typically at this week most of your paperwork is done to which is a sigh of relief and you finally get to do what you were hired to do COACH!
My first week is always focused on fundamentals from the ground up. Literally, we start with ground balls for a couple days. The focus is on getting those GB’s off the turf and moving it to create unsettled opportunities. We then work on crisp passing emphasizing the importance of getting it in “the box”. Since when a player catches it by his ear he immediately can shoot, pass, or dodge bring a triple threat. Then we slowly build up from 1v1’s to 2v2’s and professing to 6v6 offense and defense walkthroughs.
But I think the only element more important than the content of practice is how you practice. Your job as a coach is to make sure all players are on the same page and behaving in accordance to your structure. The first week is your chance to enforce your system and your rules. My first couple weeks has always been my more business self. I like to have fun and keep things light hearted, but not in the beginning. I’m a stickler to the nth degree. Here I set the tone and continue it for the first couple weeks. I think this discipline is crucial and shows your players that you will demand a lot from them.
Some examples of rules I like to install and enforce in the early season:
- No foul language
- Only team attire and/or colors allowed
- No walking
- Intensity and compete on everything
- Players will not yell criticism of other players
- Punctuality, this includes coaches ending practice on time
Good luck as the season begins. Set your foundation on a solid base and the success will come.