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How To Run A Youth & High School Football Practice

An effective football practice requires both time management and efficiency among coaches and players. To practice every situation and technique in football, you must be organized.

Running a high school and youth football practice requires a script, coaches knowing exactly what they’re doing, and players moving around as fast as possible.

We’re going to be working off the script below on how to run an efficient football practice.

football practice script for high school and youth players

These practice templates are great for youth, high school, and college programs.

Time Management In Football Practice

Mismanaging time is the biggest flaw in football practices we see today. Coaches often wait until everything is 100% perfect before moving on to the next drill.

Not only does this waste time, but it’s also extremely inefficient. We recommend coaches create “blocks” or short time periods for their practices.

We recommend filming everything, whether it be on a phone, iPad, or if you’re fortunate enough to have a camera. This way, you’re able to break down the mistakes after practice with players, where they can see it visually instead of wasting 10-15 minutes per drill coaching it up to be absolutely perfect.

Coaches are also able to film multiple drills in shorter blocks for better coaching attention.

Why have shorter blocks? Few reasons.:

  • Forces coaches to be organized. There’s no time for fooling around or small chit-chat. Every coach must be prepared to maximize the time within that block
  • Keeps the players focused as they’re consistently moving from drill to drill, having to refocus each couple of minutes.
  • More individual work for position-specific drills. For example, a defensive lineman can spend 7 minutes working on the pass rush, 6 minutes working on fighting off reach blocks, and 7 minutes fighting off double teams. 3 drills, only 20 minutes.

Another minor piece of practice is with the water breaks. Water breaks are necessary, especially in the August/September heat. However, they can be a time killer for coaches who allow it to be a true “break” rather than an effective hydration period.

Water breaks should never be a social hour. The two ways that we’ve seen coaches handle water breaks is:

  • Having water bottles dispersed throughout the field at each drill. This way, players can get a squirt of water whenever they please. It also doesn’t put a 2-3 break into practice, which ultimately saves more time for drills. We found this to be most efficient.
  • Dedicating a 2-minute slot (sometimes 2 or 3 blocks) of water break time so kids can hydrate properly
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Working Off A Practice Script

Practice scripts are treated as a guide or itinerary.

Scripts are great because they allow assistant coaches to prep every station they’ll need beforehand; that way, they’re prepared from the minute practice starts until it ends.

Working off a practice script also helps coaches be on the same page. If the head coach is looking at the script, the coordinators and position coaches are in the dark when the whistle blows to transition to the next period.

We recommend being as transparent as possible with when the whistle will blow, how much time each period calls for.

Having The Proper Practice Equipment Ready

Having the proper equipment is vital to running an efficient football practice. We recommend having 2 pieces of equipment and 1 person in charge of time management.

The 2 pieces of equipment are:

Clock – If you’re fortunate enough to practice on your football field, which has a scoreboard, we recommend using that. If not, any digital clock, which is clearly visible by all coaches, is accepted. We’ve found this digital clock on Amazon, which can be set via a control.

Whistle/Horn – A necessary piece of equipment is a whistle ( which most coaches have) or air horn. The air horn can be used to both start and stop the period. It’s also loud enough where every coach can hear it and not mistake it for a whistle used in another drill.

It’s beneficial to have someone on the staff whose job is to manage the clock. If you’re a youth coach, maybe it’s a parent who doesn’t necessarily want to coach but wants to help out. In high school, it may be a student volunteer who can control it. We recommend having someone dedicated to clock management throughout practice.

Free Practice Script

If you’re looking for a practice script that can help you manage your whole team, it’s available free in the box below! We’ve made it easy for teams with 100+ kids (who use a 2 platoon system) or smaller teams with less than 60 kids to manage their practices.

Click Here To Get Your Free Practice Script

Offensive Only Filled Out Template

Below is an empty script, which we provide for teams that have players that play both ways.

Click Here To Get Your Free Practice Script


Having structure in your practice is the best way to be efficient and that everything is covered.

It’s important to have everything laid out in an organized fashion, so therefore you and your coaching staff can execute each period to its potential.

Have any questions about our practice script or ways to improve your practice? Feel free to reach out to us at [email protected] We love talking football!

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Luke Bahry

Monday 5th of August 2019

Great stuff! Like your ideas on having shorter periods.


Tuesday 6th of August 2019

Thanks Luke! We found it to be more efficient in the long term. Keeps players focused the entire period and makes it go by faster for them!