OK, now it is halftime, what is your strategy? Or do you even have a strategy?

As a High School Varsity Coach we usually have but ten minutes for halftime. Well it is ten minutes unless you subtract two or three minutes to get to the end of the field or where you might meet as a team. And don’t forget we lose another two to three minutes to get warmed up for the second half. So ten minutes quickly erodes into but four or five minutes maximum in real time to prepare to get ahead, or stay ahead. What are you going to do? Do you have a plan?

I am not necessarily recommending that you adopt our plan, that would be presumptuous. But I believe I can argue strongly that in order to maximize your effectiveness you need to have a plan, be organized, in order to be successful. Why is it that most coaches will schedule out practices to the minute yet do not have a defined plan of attack for halftime. I must be missing something.

My next point is that with all the distractions, and the short time combined with a short attention span you probably can make two possibly three points to your team. Attempting to discuss every thought that comes into your head, combined with the five or six thoughts that assistant coaches want to tell the team, soon evolves into a myriad of nine or ten topics, from two or three points of view, which erode into none that are effective.

Phase One, First three minutes:

Players – Meander to meeting place
Players – Captains take control of phase one of halftime
Coaches – Meet as a group, identify key issues and adjustments
Coaches – Review Coaches Observation Sheets (see Coaches Observation Sheets)
Coaches – Review Scouting Report vs Actual, Scorers, Sets, Effectiveness

Phase Two, Next Four Minutes

Head Coach – Request brief key points from Senior or Captains
(gives them ownership in solutions)
Head Coach – Address two or three key issues, spacing, slides, picks,
strategy for second half
Head Coach – Closing Comments Positive Reinforcement, Confidence

Phase Three, Final Three Minutes

Players – Begin to get their sticks moving with full equipment
Coaches – Individual conversations with specific players, but positive in nature
Coaches – Re-affirm duties and observation responsibilities for the second half

This process has served us well, but that is not to say it is the best for each team or each coach. But, having a lot of coaches raising a lot of issues is simply not effective. Some coaches will break into position dialogs with each unit. That is also fine, but remember your time period. The more you throw at the kids, the more the messages get diluted, and you may run out of time for the key points you want to raise.

I might also suggest that screaming about the effort of the players in a game is only effective two or three times a season, so pick your points wisely. The important thing is to demonstrate from your Body language and Tone of Voice that the Coaches have the solutions. After all players play and coaches coach. Are you really coaching at halftime? Or venting. And which puts your kids in the best position to be successful?