Sneak Peak into a College Team’s Workouts – Indiana University

Practice Plan for Wednesday January 25th

Head Coach Ryan Castle

Practice Overview:

Today’s practice specifically focused on correcting individual and team defensive mistakes that we made at the UCSB Winter Invite (Jan 20-22). The overall focus is predominately on individual technical skills more than team defense.

6:00 – 6:45 am  –  Strength & Conditioning

During the season we are in the weight room 2-3 times a week, depending on our competition schedule.

7:00 – 7:30 am – Treatment

In between weights and practice there is time for the athletes to see the Athletic Trainer to do treatment ahead of practice. Additionally, the athletes will come in after classes for rehab treatment.

7:30 am – Video

Using game film from our games the previous weekend, we’ve identified a small selection of clips. Those clips focus on what we did right, what we did wrong, and what we didn’t plan for. Video is an important tool that we utilize often. With video, it is important to note that it’s easy to watch it for too long and to find a million mistakes (no team is ever perfect). It can become counterproductive with too much over-analysis. Instead of watching endless game film, we focus on a small specific set of clips that directly relate to what we have been working on prior to the tournament. We also show examples of situations that we are going to progress to.

8:00 am – Setup

Before we start practice, we always setup the pool. This is an important daily ritual which is a good indicator of the team dynamic heading into practice. If the setup is done quickly, we know that everybody is engaged and in sync. If setup takes longer than normal, then we can see that no one is leading and/or communicating.  Everybody has a role and a responsibility in all aspects of our program (it isn’t always the freshmen who get assigned the worst jobs – carrying balls, putting in cages, etc). Setting up is another task where we can constantly work on our communication and fill our role to do the job.

8:10 am – Warm Up

Our warm up is standardized (never changes) and an extremely important drill for us to get into the rhythm of practice and to warm up the body. Depending on if the swim or dive teams are also practicing, we incorporate music into practice to lighten the mood.

8:20 am – Conditioning / technical (Individual or small groups of 2, 3 max)

At this point of the season (late January) we are still emphasizing conditioning, so while today’s practice focuses on defense, we incorporate our conditioning by turning all of the individual and partner defensive drills into conditioning sets. (E.g. Giving water, lunging to the lanes, fronting the center, wrestling for position, etc). Initially all of the drills are done individually and then become partner drills. We constantly emphasize that the partner drills are always competitions. If you are on defense you are expected to beat your partner, and vice versa. We also try to constantly change the pairings so that the athletes don’t get comfortable with each other or too familiar with the same technique.

9:00 am – Passing (Small groups of 2 or 3 max)

At first,  we will spend a few minutes doing short warm up passes. But once our shoulders are warm, we will go into groups of 3 and align the passing drills with the defensive drills we were working on. (E.g. Today we focused on defense, we worked on our press technique and not fouling, so we combined it with our passing drills to work on pressure passing. Again emphasizing that it’s a constant competition.)

9:20 am – Shooting & Station work (initially individually, then medium sized groups of 4 – 6 max)

Although today’s practice objective is to improve and work on defense, we always want to add work on our shooting. Typically, we have about 10 minutes of warm up shooting, where the athletes can work on any specific shots of their choosing. Thereafter we continue to build on the drills we worked on earlier. Shot blocking was a technical area we weren’t happy with, so we increased our group size to 4 or 5 people per cage, and worked on our shot blocking defense – while our shooters worked on their outside shooting. This also gave us time to work individually with our centers and center defenders at a different station.

9:50 am – Front Court & Scrimmage (6 on 6 with subs)

The final phase of our practice is to combine all the previous drills into a half court setting. Our philosophy is that the game is the best teacher, so we scrimmage as often as possible. By building everything up, sequentially from the small technical skills to then passing and shooting situations we reduce the technical breakdowns in the water. The more competition we can add into practice, the better. Scrimmaging also allows us to identify scenarios or situations that we didn’t plan for, and allow us to teach through competition.

10:20 am – Sprints

We finish every practice with sprints, particularly when we have shortened our practice due to video. Sprints at the end are a great to way to add a physical-mental challenge component, and also some competition.

10:30 am Clean Up

NB: Goalkeeper Practice.

Our goalkeepers always have their own practice plan. Generally, until we start shooting, the goalkeepers are working on their own conditioning and technical movements.

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