Practice is just as important as scheme.
Maybe more important if you don’t practice well.
You can study a scheme and know it perfectly, but if you can’t teach that scheme and manage your practices well, then your knowledge is useless.
Coach Holmes dives much deeper into his practice philosophy in the book, but it begins with a list of things he focuses on in every practice:
- Buzz Words
You need to break down the complex into simple words that communicate the complex.
Buzz words are just that.
They are just quick phrases that you repeat to your players over and over again.
- Mass Repetition
Meeting time is for discussing.
Practice time is for reps.
And the best way you can do this is by filming practice.
Now, you can get a bunch of reps without worrying about correcting everything immediately.
Watch the film with the players later and correct any mistakes.
- Mass Teach
Get all your players involved in every drill.
One tip Coach Holmes uses is everything is on “sound cadence.”
The quarterback or coach will say “Set!” and on the “s” the ball is snapped.
- Do First Things First
Develop individual position practice plans around what you are doing that day.
For example, if you are putting in plays from the Belly family, then make sure the line works cross blocks, the Wings practice blocking Inside Linebackers, and Receivers learn the routes on Belly Pass.
- Use the 80/20 Rule
This theory states that 80 percent of your practice time needs to be spent on the 20 percent of total drills that are the most useful for your team.
Each position coach must take a look at which plays are most productive and list the skills needed by each position.
Spend most of the practice time on these drills.
- Know Your Run/Pass Ratio
If you only pass 20% of the time, make sure you only practice passing 20% of the time.
- Prepare Players For New Drills
A lack of repetitions in practice is often due to lack of organization and forward thinking on the part of the coach, not the players.
Make sure you are setting up drills before practice.
Teach your players how to set them up in the summer so that you aren’t wasting time once the season starts.
Get your reps in!
- Always Focus on Footwork
The first three steps of any play are the most important.
Find time to work footwork drills every single day.
- Limit Assignment Time
Instead of going over everyone’s assignment all the time, work on the techniques that the players must use executing those assignments.
How you are able to manage all the little things usually separates you from the competition.
It is not enough to just know the Xs and the Os.
And Coach Holmes knows that, so he included 2 sections dedicated to drills, practice, game planning, and the coaching staff.
Check out Volume 3 of his manuals here.