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Ask The Coach Guidance for those lost in sports

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?

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.