5 Components for Simulating Tempo in Practice

Oct 13, 2019 | Offense, Practice Organization, Tempo and Communications, Program Development, Game Planning

John Wagner
Run Game Coordinator/RBs Coach
Monsignor Bonner/Archbishop Prendie (PA)
Twitter: @JWags42


With more and more coaches moving to the no huddle, it is important to be able to simulate game tempo during practice. In my first year running a no huddle, high tempo offense, I found it difficult to run the practices at a tempo that would help us come game time. We had revisit the way we ran our practices. This started from the daily schedule to the way that we coached our players. 

We completely revamped the practice schedule and shortened each period to keep a better flow and avoid lulls in practice. Our longest period is 15 minutes and are team periods. Our normal periods are typically 5 or 10 minutes in length. By doing this, we are constantly moving preventing our players from becoming stagnant. 

What we learned was that we did not start the practice at a fast pace. We did not transition well from stretches to the next period. The 1st thing that we did to correct this was start each practice with 4 stations of 1 minute a piece. This got our players moving immediately at the start of practice. 

The next thing that we did was add a team take-off period. This is a period where we line up and march down the field on air.  Again, this is just to get the guys moving and used to the tempo that we want to have in a game. 

Team Take-off

During team take-off, the 1st and 2nd team offenses move the ball down the field on air. Both offenses will start with the ball on the plus 40. Each huddle will have their own signal caller and will march down the field. Once the ball crosses the goal line, we flip the huddle and start with ball on the ball on our 5 and move out to the 40. This is great work for the 1s and 2s.

For us, it is a great opportunity for the JV guys to get reps in a high tempo period. This period will run 5 minutes and typically we will get off between 30-40 plays. During our 1st year doing team take-off, we really increased the tempo of our practices. The players started to realize that we needed to keep this tempo throughout the whole practice in order to be successful in the game. By going against air, you will get your team to move at a tempo that will be impossible to match on game day, thus slowing things down for your team in the heat of the moment.