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Football Practice Plan Example

As a coach the single most important thing you can do is to have a well-thought out, structured practice plan every time you step on to the field.  Oh … and have a back-up plan in case of inclement weather or no shows in coaching staff, helpers and players.

A poorly planned practice leaves your players bored, wastes valuable field time, team improvement is stagnant, and makes you look inexperienced.

Here’s an example practice plan.

· Warm-up

· Special Teams

· Individuals

· Groups

· Game Preparation and Team Drills (11-on-11)

· Cool-Down

Break down of the practice plan:

Have staff remind the coaches/players to hydrate themselves during practice.


Begin practice by having a team captain lead the team in warm-up activities.  Running a lap and lining up for stretches.

This is an opportune time for coaches to see which players are at practice, correct stretching techniques, and talk individually to players and fellow coaches about goals of the days practice.

Special Teams

Practice special teams in sessions.  Punt and punt return on one day, field goal and field goal block on the next, kickoff and kickoff return on the next.  Also player responsibilities and making sure there’s 11 on the field.

Simulate game situations by timing the team getting on and off the field.


By positions (kicker/punter,  DB’s,  WR/TE’s,  OL ...etc) divide the team up in separate areas to work on position specific drills and techniques.

This when position coaches do their technical coaching.  Teaching technique, player responsibilities, communication, and performing drills to improve on-field performance.


Bring groups of the offense against groups of the defense.

For example, the OL and DL can practice against each other on run blocking and pass protection.

The QB, RBs, TE, WRs can be working with the LBs and DBs on a passing and coverage.

This is a time to get reps in and anything new taught during individuals to be practiced.  To avoid injury, begin by running drills at half speed.  As the season progresses, and the players master their fundamentals, you can run these drills full speed with light tackling.

When introducing plays or specific assignments, it’s best to get them taken care of at this point since both player and coach have less to focus on before the whole team comes together 11-on-11.

Game Preparation and Team Drills (11-on-11)

Bring the entire offensive and defensive units together for a game simulation.  You can also include special teams again.

This is the time to fine-tune the timing of your offensive and defensive plays and formations ensuring players understand and can execute their assignments.  Once they understand assignments and play calls you can then move onto preparing for the upcoming opponent.  This is where you as a coach have also game-planed.

The defense should try to give the offense a look at the alignment of the opponent’s defense and the offense should run plays similar to those the defense can anticipate their opponent’s running.

Coaches should be making notes of drills that can be run at the next practice to improve players and correct mistakes or errors.

Some organizations like to run conditioning drills such as gassers and such after 11-on-11’s.  This is a good conditioning tool to help players prepare for finishing strong in the 4th quarter.


You can have a football based cool-down where you run plays at half speed against no one in offensive and defensive units.  This is a way to give players more reps and can correct alignment or other mistakes.  Players will most likely prefer running through football movements instead of jogging.

At the end of practice it’s speech time from coaches.  Praise players who performed well and provide some feedback on positives or negatives you are seeing during practice.

Finally, end on a positive breakdown and dismiss everyone except coaches. Take a few minutes and review the practice among staff.

Then do it all over again … except better.