Coaching During COVID | Pandemic Practice Drills

For those of us who have been leading training sessions for our teams during COVID, it’s been an extremely unusual situation. With social distancing required and the OBA’s restrictions on no scrimmaging or defence, we have had to get creative in building practice plans.

While nothing beats games, small-sided practice games and 1v1 for development, I have personally enjoyed the opportunity to work on core skills such as shooting, dribbling, passing, and spacing. In a strange way, I think this time might be really beneficial for our players in the long run.

I have also found that my U12 girls team has enjoyed our practices even more than in “normal” times. There is a sparkle in their eye every time they step on the court, and an extra air of excitement from connecting with their friends. While we must do everything we can to be vigilant against the invisible enemy we are battling, I believe that this opportunity has provided our young athletes with much needed physical and emotional benefits during this difficult time.

It’s also been a great opportunity to challenge our conventional approach to practice planning, forcing us to think about alternative ways to grow their skills (and team culture) while observing the health restrictions in place.

Fortunately there are some great resources that have been developed to help us. Here are the ones I have found to be really good.

  • OBA Drill Book 2020-21 | This is a great resource for coaches at the Learn to Train and Train to Train stages of LTAD. It provides drills broken down for each of these stages.

As always, please provide your feedback on these resources and any others that you are using.

Published by coachmark70

Mark Emond is West Ottawa's VP of Competitive, Coach and Player Development, the Head Coach for our U16 Girls competitive team and for Ottawa's Girl's team in the Ontario Summer Games in 2022. He can be reached at

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