This year our bye week came during week 3, which is not ideal. It felt like we were just getting started and we already have a week off from football. We have a small roster of about 35 players and moving forward we will have 8 weeks of football with no break in between. Unfortunately, those are the cards that we’ve been dealt and we will make the best of the situation.
There are countless philosophies of what teams should do with their bye weeks. I’m going to share with you how we structured our bye week for this year. I believe the timing of a bye week also affects how a team will practice throughout the week. Keep in mind that practice during a bye week will look different in week 9 than it does during week 3.
Below is what worked for our team at our given time of the year.
Bye Week Practice Schedule
No staff meeting over the weekend. On our own time, coaches created a playlist in Hudl of 10-15 clips with notes, feedback, coaching points for their position group. Our players were to review the playlist and read the feedback over the weekend.
We started with a film session to review our previous game which is then followed by a weight room session. After weights we had practice with just helmets, no pads.
Monday’s practice on the field had an emphasis of fundamentals and technique. More time was allotted to individual and group periods to allow coaches necessary time to coach the fundamentals and technique within our schemes.
After individual offense, we got QBs, WRs and RBs together for routes on air to continue our timing and chemistry in the pass game. We focused on alignment in our formations and our route distributions within our core concepts.
Then we transitioned to group inside run with QBs RBs and OL vs a dummy front 6. We use this time to continue to work our mesh timing between QB and RB and also get reps with our zone and gap schemes. We focus on common mistakes that have been made in run blocking and clean up footwork and overall technique.
At this time, WR’s are back with their position coach for more individual time.
That was our offensive period for the day. We then transitioned to the defensive side of the ball. We started with a defensive individual period followed by a 7 on 7 period. The 7 on 7 period was against our own route concepts so it’s a great time to reinforce our concepts on the scout side of the ball as well.
After practice, coaches watched film together on the upcoming opponent and we started our regular scouting and game planning. We had our game plan ready to install for Tuesday.
The 2nd day of practice for the week was in helmets, shoulder pads and shorts. We had a full 2.5 hour practice with individual periods, group periods and team periods.
At the start of practice, we aligned & assigned to our opponent on both offense and defense. We discussed our opponents strengths and weaknesses on defense, pre snap reads to our formations, box players and their alignment, post snap coverages/spacing on field, favorite blitzes, and any common tendencies that showed up on film.
We jumped to the defensive side of the ball and discussed our opponents strengths and weaknesses on offense, their favorite formations, run plays, pass plays, and tendencies on specific down and distances.
From there, we had a regular practice of individual, group and team periods for both offense and defense.
Tuesday’s special team period was kick off and kick off return.
Wednesday at lunch we had an O & D meeting to watch film together on our opponent. I made a playlist of 15-20 clips of our opponent to make connections to the game plan that was installed the day before.
Wednesday’s practice was in full pads and it was a regular practice for us with individual, group, and team periods for both sides of the ball. Our team periods consisted of game like situations for offense and defense. We had series on: opening drive, 3rd downs, 4th downs (going for it, defending it), Redzone, backed up, goal line, 2 minute offense, 4 minute offense etc. We used situations that we felt we were struggling with in previous games. Wednesday’s special team period is punt and punt return.
Thursday practice was about an hour and a half and we practiced with helmets only. I don’t like to be fully padded multiple times throughout a bye week because I want to limit the contact throughout the week and allow our players to recover physically as much as possible (even during week 3). We had shorter periods but went through individual, group and team periods for offense and defense.
Thursday’s special team period was PAT / FG.
No practice — everyone is off. I try to attend the game of our opponent to watch them live if possible. This is not required for all coaches. Players will have a 3 day weekend to be away from football for a bit and enjoy being a kid.
There was no need for coaches to meet over the weekend as the game plan had already been installed. We will return on Monday as we get back to regular practice schedule.
Utilizing the Bye Week
Although our bye week came fairly early in the football season, we had a very productive week. It worked in our favor as we had some minor injuries that popped up in week 1 and 2 that players were able to bounce back from. We also took more time to regroup offensively and defensively by spending more time on fundamentals and technique. Lastly, we were able to recharge our batteries so that we are fully equipped to play football for 8 weeks without a break.
The way we structured our bye week worked well for us this year. Hopefully this was helpful for you and you can take a few things from this article to help structure and organize your practices for the bye week.