I am out on the grass 3-4 times a week at the moment. As we all know, for coaches this means a lot of planning.

Whether it’s delivering sessions, planning match day or observing coaches, it takes preparation. Beyond the ‘on the grass’ work, there is often a video session with players and clipping video takes time. There can also be match previews or other presentations which can be demanding.

Almost everyone in the modern “busy” world is time-poor, so keeping your planning process simple, or looking for efficiency can mean you can be more effective on the grass. While we don’t want to take shortcuts, we want to be clear and simple in our approach so players understand what outcomes we’re looking to achieve.

When I’m planning a session, I first want to know which players I am expecting to be there, who is injured/unavailable and which individuals I might focus on. Then, I will look at areas of our playing style that we can build on, or if it’s an identified area for improvement, what we could work on. From there, plan the activities, keep a plan B in mind if the numbers change and be flexible on the grass.

Over time, my processes have changed. When I first started, I used a coach session planning diary, moved towards session plan written templates, moved to notebooks, apps on the iPad and various online planning tools.

This season I have simplified my approach, moving away from redesigning time-consuming diagrams and images over and over (given I’ve built a huge library of them over time), and utilising new tools and shared documents to collaborate with staff.

Three things to consider.

  1. Get clear on what your session objectives are, who the key players involved are and work backwards from there.
  2. Ensure your practices look like the game, that you manage the opposition and set up the task to ensure realism.
  3. If you’re short on time, check out PDP’s new A.I based coaching app, Coach Frank to save you time.

One thing for you to try this week.

Strip back your planning process. If you find you’re struggling to put the plan down on paper, or bring the plan to life on the grass, consider which areas of your process are valuable, and which you might just be doing because you’ve always done it that way?

One critical resource on the topic.

Check out our online course, The Foundations of Session Design for a deeper understanding of all the key ingredients that go into planning, designing and delivering top sessions.

Need a custom session plan, FAST?

Coach Frank is a free mobile app for coaches that instantly creates custom session plans, designed to meet the needs of your players and environment.

Coach Frank is powered by a custom AI, trained on the entire PDP coaching library and refined over months of development.

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