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Keeping players focused during training?

Hi, How to keep girls of U13 team focussed during training? They are a lovely bunch of girls, but their focus is all over the place. What do you do to keep girls on task?

At this age they love to chat and socialise and that is great for team morale but maybe not for the training goals.  Encourage friendly competition, keep them busy & moving but continue to expect that they complete tasks correctly.  Try to organise drills with the worst offenders separated to minimise distractions and you could try matching up players with better skills to those lesser skills to take charge of improving the overall skill of the team.  If you think they don't respect you or your efforts gradually introduce some disciplinary measures (pushups, laps, circuits) but maintain your sense of humour.  If they are turning up to training and participating most of the time you are doing well.

Hi I'm not sure if this Idea would work for your age group but I started a points reward system with my u/11 team a few weeks ago and the person with most points at end of year gets a cool prize (not sure what that is yet). I was having the same problem of  them not focussing also no motivation and not really respecting me or each other. The results so far have been amazing!! I give a point for being organised to train (drink bottle etc...), training well and listening, sportsmanship, saying goodbye and thankyou to me and give bonus points to those who have really trained hard or helped me in some way. I also give points on game day. Each person has some specific goal to acheive during the game and a group task. Last game I gave points for every interception. I don't think I have ever seen all the girls intercept a pass in one game before and some who don't normally try got up to 4 interceptions each. It has given them motivation  and I am hoping it will continue through the year. It does create a bit more work for me but the pay off so far has been worth it.

Hi Janet and Raeleigh, thanks so much for your responses. I like the idea of doing smaller group drills and asking our more experienced payers to take a lead role in improving that skill :-) Also very interested to try a points system. I'll talk it over with my co coach. Great ideas for training, thank you!

i don't think age is the common issue with this problem.  i just think girls love to socialise.  unless you have a highly competive group most are there just for the fun and social part.  

if none of the above mentioned ideas work, you could always try the silent approach.  when they start talking and mucking around go and sit at the end of the court and say nothing.  during games say nothing.  when they stop talking point out that if they are ready to be focused then you are ready to coach, but you will not coach if they are not ready to listen and work hard.  you may lose a training day but hopefully your point will be made.

i will admit though i normally use janets approach of when they girls are mucking up everytime they do they go for a run to the end of the court.  when they drop the ball they go for a run, when they are not focussing they go for a run. (this is the whole team too not just the offenders).  also when i am really tired (im a shiftworker so can come to games and training sessinos with little or no sleep) i let them know that i have a low tolerance level, and they might wish to keep that in mind while training.  it tends to keep them a little more focused as running heaps doesnt sound anywhere near as much fun as doing drills and halfcourt games.

good luck

I've been coaching similar aged girls for a few years now and have found if I allow them some time to chat before training for 5 minutes and then at drink break for 5 minutes, (and then after training of course) based on the understanding they give me their full attention during training time.

Occasionally one or two will get chatty and miss an instruction during training, so I'll send them on a couple of circuits of the court, or 10 sit ups (which they hate) and it usually keeps it in check. I do it with a laugh and a joke too, so I don't come across as a mean grumpy coach!

I have been training 2 teams so I have around 16 girls at a time. I have found that starting training with the complete group like netball tag or tail tag etc. I then do a warm up and by this time they are starting to settle down. I always allow them to pick their own groups and we do all other drills in a circuit (by this I mean some will be doing simple skipping, ladder drills, ball work all on a timer, these are recorded on different training sessions of my choice to seei improvements) I have found that doing this I have a lot more control over the individuals and I don't have so many groups being a little crazy. We end the training with a game.

I have always found that if you have a planned session, work them constantly andfill the sessions fun and new drills they will tend to be quiet trying to learn the new drill/skill.  I also let them have chat time through the ball throwing session and give them plenty of "drink" breaks

Very useful, thank you!!

I have had that problem this season with 15 year old girls - some of them are quite silly at practice and it annoys me when I am trying to work on set plans and I need them to listen.  Our last practice I decided to break up my training session to 10-15 min slots with a good break in between.  I told them that that breaks were for the chit chat, drink, and discussion and the time on court was for serious listening and focus.  We then did a half court something I would usually finish practice with but decided that I needed them fully focused so brought it forward to be straight after warm up.  It worked better because they were psyched up and ready to go.  The third session in our training was ball skills and the last short session was half game set play again.   It seemed to work better and they all agreed they enjoyed the practice more.  I also give jelly beans out at all my games in the quarters and practices - its a little blood sugar burst - they love it and it keeps them on the ball.  

thanks Michele, i like the idea of set time slots and changing the sessions around. Lots of good ideas here!

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  • create your own professional coaching plans
  • or access our tried and tested plans