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The Importance of Planning and Organization


By Dr. David Hoch, CMAA, CIC

Regardless of the sport that you coach, there is never seemingly enough time to get ready to play the first game.  On average, you may have two weeks with two-hour practice sessions each day and you have so much to teach and install.  It may seem like an impossible task and it is in some situations.

It is essential to maximize every available minute to in order to be thoroughly prepared.  You can’t afford to waste any time and there is only one answer if you want to reach your full potential as a coach.  You have to plan and organize down to the smallest details.

The following suggestions will help you with this difficult and sometimes overwhelming task of planning and organization.

  1. Prioritize and determine what is essential, the bare minimum which has to be covered prior to the first game.  This would include offense, defense, special situations and skill work.  Then make a list of what can be added later as you go week to week, because you can’t cover everything in a limited time frame.
  2. Review the scouting reports and game plans from last year for your first two or three opponents on your schedule.  While these teams will have some new players, you should get a pretty good idea for what you have to prepare.  Particularly for your opening game, you will not have a current scouting report.
  3. Establish the order of what you are going to teach and install during these first two weeks, and also try to accurately determine how many minutes will be needed to cover the essential items.  Even if you practice on a Saturday, you could have as little as 1,440 minutes over two weeks to use.  That’s not a lot and this should emphasize the importance of careful planning.
  4. Take into consideration when planning these first two weeks of practice that tryouts will also take some time.  Will it be two or three days?  While tryouts are necessary, they also do further limit the amount of time available for teaching and installing systems of play.
  5. Plan to fully utilize your assistants to help teach and lead drills during practice sessions in order to be most efficient.  This means giving them specific duties and responsibilities with the drills and during the total 2-hour practice session.
  6. Involve your assistants in the planning of practice sessions.  While it is a good learning experience for these individuals, it will also result in getting diverse points of view and perhaps more in-depth ideas with respect to what, how much and when items should be covered.
  7. Meet with your assistants after each practice session to analyze how it went, what needs to be reviewed and what adjustments have to be made for the next day.  Since players learn at different rates, some instruction and dills may have to be repeated.  This may also mean that you may have to make minor changes to your two-week plan.
  8. Be candid with your players and explain that you will be installing only the most basic systems which will be necessary to get through the first two to three games.  Be transparent and let them know that with limited time, you can’t cover everything.  Assure your players that you will be adding and making adjustments as you go along.

When confronted with limited time, it is essential to do a great job of planning.  This step will take time and effort.  However, attention to detail will result in better organization.


David Hoch retired in 2010 after a 41-year career as a high school athletic director and coach. In 2009, Dr. Hoch was honored as the Eastern District Athletic Director of the Year by the National Association for Sport and Physical Education. He was also presented with the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association Distinguished Service Award, and in 2000 he was named the Maryland State Athletic Director Association’s Athletic Director of the Year. Dr. Hoch has authored over 460 professional articles and made more than 70 presentations around the country. He welcomes comments and questions and can be reached at:

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