POINTERS AND GUIDANCE FOR COACHES NEW & OLD
Role Models – Players look up to you and are influenced by your behavior. Players as well as parents observe your language, treatment of your peers, their peers, and parents. Players learn through observation. * Teacher of Soccer – The goal for this age group is to introduce them to the basic concepts of soccer (dribbling, kicking, running, scoring goals!), help them improve their social skills, and most importantly…Have Fun! * Facilitator of Fun – Players participate when they are having fun. Soccer is the most popular sport that offers excitement for youth players of all abilities. Coaches need to be enthusiastic and conduct all activities in a spirit of enjoyment. Each practice should finish in a scrimmage as the largest portion of the session. The game is the biggest teacher.
No Lines – Try to create smaller groups in drills so more players are constantly moving with the ball. * No Laps – It is good to run but if they don’t have a ball at their feet, they are losing time learning how to control and have balance with the ball. * No Lectures – Just boring, these kids have an attention span of 30 sec if lucky. Demonstrate your point if possible and then have them do it.
Your practice sessions should be at least 45- 60 minutes long. You can go longer if the kids are having fun. * You should incorporate a warm-up, and individual activity, small group games, and a scrimmage at the end. o Warm-ups – Can consist of dribbling as they arrive which gets their muscles moving and blood flowing. Dynamic stretching during warm-ups is perfect. Traffic Jam, Hi/low, rabbit/turtle speed, Body parts. o Individual Activity – Perform a repetitious move with the ball so the player is constantly touching the ball at their feet. Teaches to manipulate and keep the ball under control. This is best to teach kids change of direction for example like inside/outside foot chops and pull backs. For the older players, step overs, scissors etc. Games like Red light Green light, Dribble relay race, Kick the coach. o Small group activities – activities include opposition, do not need to be even can do 3v2, 2v1, even 3v1. Some examples Steal the bacon, Martian Invasion, Sharks and minnows, back to back goals. o Scrimmage – Break the team into 2 teams and have them play. Participate in the game as well. Have fun. There are many web materials online. There are helpful activities and games to create your practice sessions provided by US Youth Soccer at: https://www.usyouthsoccer.org/coaching-resources/