Coaches’ Corner: How To Design Effective Drills

Getting the most out of practice requires smart drill choices.

Working through an agility cone drill. Photo: Christina Schmidt — UltiPhotos.com

This article is part of the Coaches’ Corner series from UMass coaches Tiina Booth and Russell Wallack. See every article in the series here.

Two weeks ago, Tiina took us through preparing for and framing practices. This week, I will focus on effective use of drills. Next week, we will discuss the role that scrimmaging plays in a practice.

Our Basics For Drill Design

A drill should require a high rate of activity, low rest, and lots of reps. There are specific skills that make sense to practice with complete rest, such as speed mechanics and plyometrics, but, for the most part, we want our players to succeed even when tired, and we want our drills to simulate game speed scenarios.

Move from simplicity to complexity. For example, if you are teaching offensive cutting, start with scripted cuts without defense. We use that as an opportunity to establish cutting principles: cut decisively, attack vertical space, cut to create motion rather than get the disc. Once your team is beginning to grasp these principles, then you can add variables like defenders, cutting partners, and/or a swinging disc.

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  1. Russell Wallack
    Russell Wallack

    Russell Wallack is the co-coach of the University of Massachusetts Men’s team. He began playing ultimate at Tiina Booth’s camp in 2000 (when he was 10). Since then, he has captained Kenyon College SERF and Boston Ironside and won national and world championships. He has coached in the U.S., Denmark, the Czech Republic, and Germany, where he will be launching the first ever session of GUTC (Global Ultimate Training Camp) in 2018. He lives, coaches, and works in Amherst where he is developing regional chestnut production, helping companies to adopt regenerative agricultural, and supporting young athletes in their development.

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