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Player Development

Your ath­letes can improve even if they’re not report­ing to team work­outs or practice.

There are hun­dreds of resources for indi­vid­ual devel­op­ment just a few clicks away — all you have to do is point your play­ers in the right direction.

Athlete doing ladder drills

Give Players a Challenge

Viral chal­lenges are a fun way to keep your play­ers engaged when you can’t meet up. Use one of these chal­lenges, or let them be the inspi­ra­tion for your own. 

See more cre­ative ways peo­ple are mak­ing the most of it at home on ESPN.

Build Strength

At-home work­outs are great for strength and con­di­tion­ing, and you can find a bunch of them on YouTube. For exam­ple, University of Akron foot­ball coach Chad Pearson’s Locked Down Strength Coach” series has a vari­ety of work­outs you can use to craft a plan for your players. 

Man doing pushups at home

You can also find great home work­outs on Twitter, from core work and weight train­ing to foot­ball work­outs.

You can even cre­ate your own work­outs, record them and upload them to Hudl — and you can have play­ers mes­sage you when they’ve com­plet­ed them. 

If your team has a full-time strength coach, don’t for­get to stay in con­tact with them. They’ll be your best resource for these workouts. 

Play Top 5, Bottom 5

If your play­ers don’t have the equip­ment they need to prac­tice on their own, give them some Hudl home­work so they can still study their craft. Ask them to watch video of pre­vi­ous games and cre­ate a playlist of their top five and bot­tom five moments. Ask them to add com­ments explain­ing why it was a high or low point. You can dis­cuss these in a one-on-one call and devel­op a plan to address their bot­tom five as prepa­ra­tion for next season. 

Alternately, have them share with you and the team via Hudl. Players can do this as a group — assign an aspect of the game you’d like each group to focus on, then have the group present their find­ings to the team.

Scout the Competition

Develop game IQ by ask­ing play­ers to break down anoth­er team’s film. 

Have them keep an eye on the play­er in their posi­tion and ask them to ana­lyze that player’s per­for­mance. They can make a playlist of the player’s strengths and weak­ness, then you can talk about how to imple­ment those strengths into their game while avoid­ing the weak­ness­es. You can also ask them to devel­op a game plan against that oppo­nent as they watch the game. 

Another good way to rein­force your own coach­ing prin­ci­ples is to assign them col­lege or pro games to watch. Cincinnati Development Academy (Ohio) direc­tor David Robertson uses Barcelona and Real Madrid games to demon­strate the pow­er of sub­sti­tu­tion and St. David’s School (N.C.) foot­ball coach Dan Casey gives his play­ers bin­go cards to use while watch­ing NFL games. 

Create Individual Plans

Determine what will best serve your play­ers while your team isn’t meet­ing. How can they improve spe­cif­ic parts of their game? What should they do to main­tain their fitness? 

Once you pin­point what they should pri­or­i­tize, build indi­vid­ual devel­op­ment plans for each play­er to track their progress and share results. 

Within the plan, estab­lish incre­men­tal mile­stones fol­low­ing the SMART goal-set­ting struc­ture. (If you need a refresh­er, that stands for: spe­cif­ic, mea­sur­able, achiev­able, real­is­tic and timely.)

Screenshot of a development plan
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