Individual period is a time that many coaches deem sacred within the practice plan. Time that is specifically targeted for skill development is crucial to the overall success of a team and the growth of a player. Utilizing this time and getting the most out of these limited minutes cannot be overstated. The S.T.A.R. method provides a framework that allows coaches to put what they do or want to do during that time through a process that articulates a rationale.
S.T.A.R. is an acronym that stands for:
• Skill can be defined as, in very broad terms, “the thing that needs to be executed.” Throwing, kicking, catching, running, blocking and tackling are among what can be deemed core skill fundamentals. Skills can get more and more specific and extremely detailed. For example, throwing on the run to the non-throwing side or tackling in a small space with one arm restricted.
• Task is simply a synonym for drill in this framework. The task is the opportunity to execute and practice a skill.
• Audience is the position group or position sub-group being addressed.
• Rationale is an articulation of the why that rounds out the S.T.A.R. framework.
It is important in teaching and coaching to create a relationship between skill and task. If a defensive line seeks to become better pass rushers, it makes sense to practice the skill of rushing the passer, defeating pass sets, etc. Coaches can waste crucial individual time with position groups if they do not have a clear plan in place for how to best utilize that time. Some careful planning can really help coaches and players make the most efficient and effective use of their time.
Here are two examples of the framework at play:
Skill - Trap Blocking
Task - Trap Drill vs. Shield
Audience - Guards
Rationale - Fullback Trap is an effective mis-direction quick hitting play that is a part of our offensive system.
Skill - One arm restricted tackling in tight space
Task - One arm tear drill
Audience - Interior Defensive Linemen
Rationale - Interior Defensive Linemen are often engaged, to some degree, with a block when the ball carrier becomes available to tackle.
Using this template can help create a clear and well-articulated design for everything that takes place during individual time.
S-Skill (Broad term that creates a large bucket of “things that I need to execute”)
A-Audience (Position or Position Group)
R-Rationale (Why are we doing this?)
The S.T.A.R. method typically starts with a somewhat broad scope, however, keep in mind that this approach can also be used for extremely specific topic areas, especially as levels or learning increase. This framework allows the what, how, who and why to remain at the forefront during the all-important planning phase of practice design.