Dear Coach: I'm a young baseball coach starting my first high school job. Sometimes I try to accomplish too much at practice, but when I don't finish everything I'd planned, I feel unprepared. Should I make my workouts longer or shorten my list?
Dear Pressed: "The length of a workout isn't significant, the intensity is," says Keith Henschen, professor of exercise and sport science at Utah. "Kids can take only so much in terms of concentration, so shorter, high-quality practices are much more effective." As the season progresses, you'll have a better grasp of which skills your team has down and which need work. Use short drills to quickly reinforce the former, and focus the bulk of your team's energy on the latter.
Dear Coach: I am a senior basketball player at my high school. Last year my coach and I had a few run-ins about my role on the team. This year my playing time has been cut, and he often singles me out in front of the team for making mistakes. What should I do?
ON THE VERGE
Dear Verge: You need to sit down with your coach and clear the air. Ask him what he thinks your role should be, and be prepared for some unpleasant answers. Try to get specifics: your strengths, your weaknesses, areas you can work on, etc. Don't assume he has a hidden agenda: Take what he says to heart, and try to improve yourself. Finally, arrange for another meeting down the line to review your progress. By then maybe each of you will be clearer about the other's goals.