The cornerstone of effective practice is routine. A set routine is the basis for consistent practice. Great athletes and great teams have set routines for training that do not vary. In fact, with individual athletes training routines sometimes border on ritual. Routine allows the athlete to focus on the task at hand.
There is security in having a routine. It gives an anchor point to build the training session upon. Start on time, have specific objectives and stay on task, then practice will be meaningful. As coaches we need to set routines for our athletes, we need to teach young developing athletes the necessity of routine as part of their daily preparation. When I change training cycles my first objective is always routine. As training cycles change routines sometimes have to change, so having it as an up-front object underscores its importance.