Setting up your Practice
Equipment needed: Coach
· Practice Plans
· First aid kit
Equipment needed: Player
· Shin Guards
· Shorts – (dressed properly for weather)
· Socks – (covering shin guards)
Optional equipment for practice:
· Pugs or small goals
· Thinking out of the box ex.
The SOCCER COACH-a Facilitator
A. Coaching Philosophy
a. Understanding why children play in soccer
b. Developing a proper Youth Coaching Philosophy
i. Proper Goals for a youth soccer player
ii. Exhibit philosophy with actions as a coach
iii. Take the time to care
B. Coaching Youth players is different from coaching adults
a. Physiological Differences
b. Psychological differences
C. Soccer, “The Players Game” – The Game is the Teacher
a. Meet the demands of the game, not the coach
b. Learn from playing not from running or over drilling
c. Movement is necessary to acquire skill
D. Coach must be a facilitator:
a. The coach/facilitator sets the conditions and the environment for learning. The environment, facilitated by the coach, enables players to improve.
b. The coach/facilitator is critical in
E. Overall objectives for players “MUST
a. The best coach is the one whose
players after a practice can say “I had
b. Feedback from young players must constantly
reinforce to the coach that what the coach is doing is
c. Feelings are important. Young players must be permitted to MAKE MISTAKES. Remain patient and have realistic expectations. Challenge players to develop their skills.
d. The most important characteristic of a coach is ENTHUSIASM for the players and the game of soccer. Recognize improvement and efforts as often as possible. “Catch them being Good” (great book) but do what the phrase says. As coaches we always find the mistakes and correct them. Now let go to the next level, when a player or group does the correct thing catch that moment and tell them they did a great job and even bring that moment back and go through it.
e. Young players must be put into situations where they experience SUCCESS.
i. Practices must be organized with correct numbers, appropriate space, size of field, size of ball, etc. to facilitate SUCCESS.
f. Practice activities should be modified to meet the skill needs of the age group of players you are working with.
g. As players increase in competency, raise the level of difficulty, but insure they still experience SUCCESS.
h. Coach must facilitate the young players’ perception of the “COACH” as one who is helpful, happy, teaches them soccer and only utilizes positive reinforcement.
i. Young players must have MAXIMAL NUMBER of BALL TOUCHES/CONTACT per session as possible. (The average soccer player should touch the ball around 1000 times per practice session) very possible. Acquisition of skill comes only from constantly dealing with the ball in a dynamic/moving setting, not by standing in lines waiting to take a turn.
F. Effective ways to correct common youth soccer coaching problems.
a. Coach integrated team play. Do not coach players to play specific positions.
b. Coach games and activities versus coaching drills. Use a minimum number of lines of players, using challenging games with soccer. Limit lines to no more than three and have enough soccer balls for one per player.
c. Become a keen observer. Limit continuous talking. Use cue phrases.
d. Train the player by using small numbers games. DO NOT stress training the team structure.
e. Define SUCCESS by how well the team plays, their courage and daring , their confidence and how many play the next season – not by the number of WINS.
players must perceive winning as a VERY
ii. Trying hard, doing their best, and playing for fun and excitement.
iii. ALWAYS, end a correction with a positive comment.
iv. Preface corrections with a positive comment. Try to avoid “but” and “should” in talking to players. Stop the drill and ask them how to solve the problem or what the other choices they had are. Let them make the correction on the field so they see what they know and that they can make other choices.
v. Eliminate league standings, won/lost records, trophies, etc. Acknowledge participation.
Coach should try to address any issues with team or players as a group and not one player in front of the group. Talk to the entire team about what the issue may be, this way everyone gets the message and nobody feelings are hurt. Talk to a player off to the side or after practice or game never in front of the team or group.
THE WORLD’S GREATEST
The name Pele, Maradona and Bobby Charlton are synonymous with the best there is in soccer. The fact is, they may never have been heard of had these players not been members of a team. Jack Nicklaus, Muhammad Ali, Jimmy Connors take their place in the Worlds Sports Hall of Fame forever, because of their individual accomplishments in golf, boxing and in tennis, respectfully.
Soccer is not a 1 v 1 game. It is a 11 v 11 game. It is a team game. Of course, one player can make a significant difference in the team performance – positively or negatively. But how many teams SUCCEED when they find themselves a player short? In soccer, 11 vs 10 is not a fair soccer match-up.
Pele, Maradona and Bobby Charlton, in their prime, would have had little or no chance of beating a team of 11 average adult players. Eleven vs 3 – no matter how talented the three – is no contest. That is why in the final analysis, team play will be a paramount importance.
The greatest test for a soccer coach is to bring the individuals together in order to maximize their abilities for the benefit of the team performance. The coach must also minimize individual weaknesses through team strategy and through the co-operation of teammates compensating for and complementing one another.
“the team performance should always be greater than the sum of the individual parts”
Fun and activity are
the key consideration at this age group. Keeping players moving and interested.
Developing of the basic skills – kicking, passing, dribbling, ball control.
Games should be teaching soccer. Some small drills for ball skill development
-- Top of the world,
Fun and activity are the key consideration at this age. Development of soccer skills – kicking, throw ins, passing inside and outside of feet, ball control, basic goal keeping should be presented in fun small-sided games and situation. Techniques -Proper way to kick and dribble the ball using different areas of the foot. Teaching players to use both feet to pass and dribble and using the outside of the feet. Skill-- Fun practices mainly involving two co-operating players . Team – Small sided games, 2 v 2 and 3 v 3. Fitness – None at this age. Free play – Very important – preferably 3 v 3 (supervised but not coached) Average length of practice session – 40 minutes
9, 10 and 11 year olds
– THE GOLDEN
Heavy emphasis on skill development, particularly in situations that allow co- operation with two or three friends. Small – sided practices or games are the principal development vehicles. Techniques – Passing, shooting, juggling, ball control, 1 v 1 work, basics of the game. Teaching player to use both feet with all skills. Skill – 3 v 1; 5 v 2; skill games (how keep control of ball, shielding, passing to space, showing for the ball, support of attacker and defender) Team – 3 v 3, 4 v 4 --- emphasis on passing and support. Fitness – Warm-up, introduction to stretching. Free play – 4 vs 4, 5 vs 5, 6 v6 (supervised but not coached) Average length of practice session – 60 minutes
12 – 15 YEAR OLDS – EARLY TEENS
concept (peer pressure) becomes one of the most important considerations.
Competing with one another and against one another is a key factor in the
organization of practice. This is the age when “
16 – 30 YEAR OLDS –THE
Tactics, team work, fitness, strength, individual ability -- they must all come together for what are the optimum soccer years in term s of performance. This is the time when strategically-organized set plays assume great importance, and players are better prepared mentally to take the time necessary to make the plane work. Winning (and losing) are very important. Techniques – Continue servicing of technique development plus adding the subtleties and finesse, e.g., bending passes, chip passes, bending shoots. Skill – 4 vs 2, 5 vs 2; crossing/shooting/heading work with opposition; passing and control always important. Team – Much greater emphasis on re-starts- corners, free kicks, etc.; collective defending and attacking work; shadow play. Fitness – Start with players warm up at the start of practice and end with a cool down at the end of practice, Comprehensive and intensive approach to soccer fitness work (highest percentage of time spent on fitness in pre-season and early-season period). Free play – Will always be an essential ingredient of the practice session time. Average length of practice session – 90 minutes
ORGANIZATION OF A PRACTICE SESSION
A. Pre-practice preparation:
i. Balls (number, sizes, inflated properly)
ii. Vest or pinnies to distinguish players.
iii. Cones to dedicate girds or areas of play
iv. Extra shin guards in case players forget them.
v. Nets for goals (if needed), flags, etc.
vi. Medical emergency numbers, telephone-access arrangements, cell phone
vii. Ice or “synthetic” ice packs
viii. WATER players should bring water or sport drink to practice
B. A Practice:
a. Equal length to game length. Remind, practice should be completed at the time announced.
b. Variety of games/exercises is recommended. Emphasize dribbling and touch of the ball.
c. Choose a topic to work on. Have practice objectives. Set them from a seasonal plan or from what the coach saw as a weakness during the last or recent games. The older players, the more the observation of the game(s) tells the coach what to practice.
d. Emphasize the focus of the practice session, do not be overly concerned with the other areas of play.
e. Activities should flow into one another to minimize down time and off-task behavior.
f. Teach from simple to complex – games and exercises should follow a progression from easier to more difficult.
g. Sections of practice:
i. Warm – up or preparation period
1. Approximately 20 % of practice time
2. Purpose is to prepare players physically and psychologically
4. Warm-up should be related to the main topic of the practice
5. Remember movement s the key to learning the skills of soccer.
6. Example – Dribbling:
a. Conduct 2 – to – 3 minute game with static stretching between and during games:
i. Follow the leader.
ii. Body part dribble.
iii. Sharks and minnows.
iv. Hospital tag.
v. Freeze tag.
h. Main activity section.
i. Approximately 50 % of practice time
ii. Related to the game.
iii. Can control what the coach wants by changing:
1. The size of the space to play in. General size is 10 square yards or larger per attacking player; sufficient width to allow for creativity, sufficient length for running, but do not stretch the space too far.
2. The time to do something.
3. The number of touches a player can take.
4. The number of balls used.
5. The number of goals.
6. The number of players in the space.
iv. Example – Dribbling:
1. Conduct 4 – to – 5 minute games:
a. Shadow dribbling.
b. PAC man
c. 1 v 1 games.
i. Concluding activity section _ playing the GAME of SOCCER
i. Approximately 25 % - 30 % of practice time.
ii. Allow players to play the game to goals.
iii. Remember that the smaller the numbers the more clear the exercise/teaching point. As the numbers are increased, the exercise/teaching point becomes more game like or real
iv. Restrictions are permitted, but limit them and limit the time of restrictions to no more than 1/3 of the time of the activity.
v. Play the game to see if what the players have been practicing can be done in the game.
vi. Example – Dribbling:
1. To two large goals, must dribble across a line to score.
2. Players cannot pass a ball forward, but can pass it backwards.
j. Warm – Down.
i. Approximately 5 % of practice time.
ii. Stretch and permit players to cool down. Do not forget the upper body. As players are playing the buildup of lactic acid in the muscles is increased. Players need to do cool downs from age 12 and up to allow this acid to dissipate. By doing cool downs players will not get cramps after a practice or a game.
iii. Example _ Dribbling:
1. Stretch using the ball and without the ball
2. Dribble around easy and just walking with the ball touches on the ball. ( Double-Double-this, Double – Double- that, Double – this – Double that).
4. Use the time to positively reinforce the efforts of all players!
5. Ask player what they learned that practice?
k. Drills or games not working
i. Re think the drill, break it down more. Re-coach the drill.
ii. Teach to players level of understanding
iii. Too much talk is worse than too little (see how drill come out and adjust)
iv. Let them play thru their mistakes (Coaching moments GOOD and BAD)
v. Have player(s) the “get it right” demonstrate
vi. Not always the same player (don’t show favorites)
l. Before practice (players)
i. What are players doing when they arrive?
ii. Have player touching the ball
1. Juggling, passing to each other, working on moves, working on header, working on trapping, in either pairs or groups.
a. Should not be standing talking and playing around
b. Never have players standing in goal and just shooting on other players. This is where injuries happen, only players should be shooting on goal is during a shooting drill under coaches supervision.
a. Warming each other up
i. Toss and catch, Rolling balls, ½ Volleys, Full Volleys, Hand eye coordination drills.
3. Multiple groups of activity
a. Use of asst. coaches (one at each grid)
b. Rotate players with different coaches
c. More players active, less standing/waiting, more focus on the activity.
a. Always small sided games to increase touches on ball and to develop player’s skills. (4 v 4)
b. Match players of equal ability against each other
c. Match players of equal ability with each other
d. Carful of attitudes, behavior
5. Water Breaks
a. Keep water by the activity and away from (parents, other groups and distractions) want players to get their drink and get back to task.
b. Emphasize small sips, and short breaks ( one minute)
c. Kids are resilient, they recover fast and adjust. Do not deny any player of water or the use of the bathroom.
d. Watch for excessive heat days, players should be sweating if not watch for dehydration.
e. Know your players, Asthma, injuries, and health issues this can help you and the player have a more successful season and enjoyment of the game as a player and a coach.
i. Be honest and fair to players
ii. Try to treat all the players the same
iii. No screaming / yelling
iv. Soft and calm voices will accomplish more
v. Disciplines a player have them do a task with the ball preferably not running laps. The sign of a coach that does not know a lot about what he is coaching is he makes players run laps.
vi. Talk with parents
C. Responsibility of the Coach
a. Players safety
b. Communication skills
c. Teach fundamentals of soccer
d. Teach the rules of soccer
i. Playing time
iii. Starting lineups
f. Role model
i. No yelling at games at players or Referees (players learn what they see)
ii. Practice and game behavior
iii. Facing Adversity
1. Bad officiating
2. Bad coaching
3. Fan & Parental behavior
g. Athletes 1st and Winning 2nd
h. Positive Attitude
i. No matter how bad things are going find something good
i. When to “Back-Off”
i. No excuse for running up the score (players get discouraged and we lose players over years)
ii. Be a Gracious winner and Loser
iii. Embarrassment (running the score up Ex. 10 – 3) figure out a way to help your players become better at this point. Have them shoot wide of the goal, move the ball and play back and shoot, work on other parts of the game.
j. Setting GOALS
i. Have players set individual goals and a team goal. You as a coach should also set a team goal and try helping player reach their goals.
1. Scoring in a game
2. Heading a ball
3. Combination play
4. Crossing plays
5. Give and go, overlaps
Setting up a practice plan
What is your practice Topic? Dribbling, Passing, Shooting, Offence, Defense, Trapping balls, Air Balls, Headers, Goal keepers, Throw - ins, Corner kicks, Restarts, etc…
We only use “Play” or “Go” to start play, for stopping play we use “FREEZE” NO WHISTLES They are for games only.
Example Topic. Dribbling
(1) Warm up – Small grid ex. 10 x
20 if you have 10 players, always make grids as if on the soccer field. Players
dribble around using, all surfaces of both feet to move the ball. Next stage is
to have them work on moves and changing the direction of the ball (direction
change Heel, Sole, Pull backs, Top of the World,
(3) Pair skill building- Shadow Dribble- players pair up with a partner and two balls. The first player starts to randomly dribble in the grid leading the second player. The trailing player tries to mimic, or shadow , the movements of first player’s movements. Put restrictions on the first player, players change positions every 60 seconds, play so each player is the leader 2 or 3 times. Objective: Improve dribbling skills through the use of subtle body feints, sudden change of speed and direction, and deceptive foot movement. Tips: Players should keep their heads up while dribbling looking for space and to maximize their field of vision. Make the exercise more challenging by requiring players to increase their dribbling speed or by reducing the playing area so that players must keep close control of the ball within a confined space.
Cone to Cone – Two cones set 5 to 10 yards apart, two players and one ball. Players face one another on opposite sides of the line, between the cones. One player is the (1st attacker) has the ball, and the other player as the defender (1st defender). Neither player can cross the line that the cones are on that separates them. The 1st attacker attempts to dribble laterally to either cone before the 1st defender can position there. Play continues for 90 seconds and players switch positions. Rest after 2 rounds, play so that each player has gone 6 times. Scoring is done when the 1st attacker beats the defender to the marker with the ball under control. The player who scores the most points wins the game. To place a little more competition on the pair the player that is 2nd does some task. 10 Bell drills, 10 Top of the Worlds or even have fun. Like 10 star jumps or donkey kicks. Objective: To develop deceptive foot movements and body feints used to unbalance an opponent; to improve mobility and agility; to develop aerobic endurance.
(4) Small Group Skill – 1 v 2 possession game - Players 7 (3 teams of 2; 1 server) Objective: to take on and beat an opponent (and in some cases two opponents) in tight spaces; to possess the ball under intense defensive pressure; to develop endurance. Set up – Use flags or cones to form three small goals in the form of a triangle, with at least 15 yards between them. Form three teams of two. One member of each pair station outside the triangle, near a goal. One member of each pair stands within the triangular field area formed by the goals. Position a server to the side of the field with an ample supply of balls. Play begins as the server kicks the ball into the triangle. The player who receives the ball (1st attacker) competes 1 v 2 against the other middle players (defenders). The 1st attacker can score points by dribbling the ball through any of the three goals. Points can be scored on either r side of the goals, but the attacker is not permitted to dribble through the same goal twice in succession. If the defender steals the ball, they immediately become 1st attacker, while the player that lost the ball becomes the defender. Players on the outside the triangle (next to the goals) are passive until their partner tags them. When a player is tagged, they enter the triangle and assume the role of his or her partner; the partner then stations outside of the triangle to rest. Play is continuous. Practice tips – Dribbling is an effective means of penetrating a packed defense. Encourage sudden change of speed and direction coupled with deceptive body feints to beat defenders. No slide tackles.
(5) Group Play- Freeze Tag – All players have a ball except one. The one
player without a ball is it, they will be the one who gets to tag players in a
grid 15 x 30. All players inside the grid have a ball and on the coaches
command “PLAY” they start to dribble around, the coach will then tell the
tagger to start. The tagger without a ball will run around and tag as many
players as she can. If the player with the ball leaves their ball they are now
frozen. If a player goes out of the grid they must do 10 top of the worlds or
Bells to get back in. The only way a player can be unfrozen is for another
player to dribble their ball between their feet. So the frozen player stands
there with the legs open so that a player can dribble their ball though their
legs. Let play continue for 3- 5 minutes and freeze all the players and have
that player pick another tagger. Play for two or three players are
taggers. Objective- Players keep their heads up and see where they are
going, a lot of ball control skill work, ball speed work, dribbling to space
and great conditioning at young age groups. And it is
(7) Give Home Work- Give player’s thing to practice at home that you worked on.
Ask them what they learned at this practice? To give you two things they
learned. Most of all have
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