By Sam Nichols
By the mid point of a season, most coaches know what they have to work with. They know the strengths and weaknesses of their players and they have been able to see those qualities on the field in different situations. The difference between most coaches and great coaches is what they do with this information. In other words, how do they address the weaknesses of their players mid-season to help them continue to develop and grow as players.
I have found that one of the best ways to respond to the mid-season assessment is to go back to drills that specifically work on areas of weakness. I build in drills that incorporate multiple points of emphasis and concentrate the players on the fine points of the skills. If done well, I will see the players get over the mid-season plateau and continue to progress into the post-season when the details matter even more.
With that said, here are a few drills that I like to use on a weekly basis during the second half of the season to meet the goals stated above. These are not earth shattering concepts, but they are crucial to success within our offense.
Purpose: To rep come back routes (hitches, curls, and comebacks) through practicing cuts and catches out of the break.
Purpose: To practice making a catches at different angles and difficulties while crossing the field.
Purpose: To focus on catching in / out breaking passes in different areas of a zone coverage.
Doing the exact same drills each with without different variables will get your guys better at that exact skill, but it won't prepare them for the game when those skills will be tested an unpredictable environment. For that reason, we change up the drill from day to day / week to week to keep it fresh and to further refine the skills that we are concentrating on. Here are a few of the ways that we vary these drills:
How do you challenge your players mid-season? What concepts / drills do you find most helpful as you prepare for the post-season? Share your thoughts with the X&O Labs' community by commenting below.