Really great questions on this board!

Determining how to ramp up the rate of intensity during a practice session depends on a number of factors as well.

You have to consider things such as what point in the season you're in i.e. can't go too hard, too early if your athletes are not yet in peak condition. On the other hand, later in the season, when you're approaching your most important games and tournaments, you don't want to overwork them either.

Another big thing to think about is how well fueled and hydrated your kids are. After all, pre-pubescent and adolescent athletes aren't always great about eating and drinking the kinds of things they should to help them power through the day. By the time they get to your afternoon practice after a long day of school, they might be running on fumes.

As a coach, you may have a great practice plan laid out with specific exercises, sets, reps and rest intervals, but if your athletes can't keep pace, they won't be getting anything from it- except tired! So it really comes down to reading your athletes and always being aware of what point in the season you're in.

As far as practice duration, unless you're talking about older, more conditioned athletes, you should be able to get everything done in 60-75 minutes. This should allow for ample time for a thorough dynamic warm-up, drill explanation, coaching tips and proper rest intervals. If you go much longer than this, kids attention spans will start to wane.

Here's a sample pattern I would use with kids in the high school age bracket for a complete conditioning session. Keep in mind that these are just estimated durations for each segment that might have to be altered based on what I was seeing during the session:

1. Foam Rolling 5-7 minutes
2. Dynamic warm-up 15-20 minutes (yes, that long)
3. Agility work, neuromuscular development 8-12 minutes
4. Speed and Change of direction work 12-15 minutes
5. Total Body strength training (with mini bands, resistance bands, body weight etc.) 12-15 minutes
6. Coll down stretch, session wrap up, assigned homework stretches and handouts 5-7 minutes.

Total time approximately 57-76 minutes.

Hope this helps. Let me know if you have further questions.


Coach Mike