TOPIC: BASICS OF COACHING
PRESEASON TRAINING- THE BASICS 2 years, 9 months ago #775
Pre-season training - the basics
Your pre-season training programme has to be focused on what your players need for the new season.
It may be that you want to improve their shooting skills, defensive play or work on set pieces. But don't neglect the basics. All players need to be able to dribble and run with the ball. So planning a session or two that works on these essential skills will pay dividends.
And it doesn't matter how old your players are. Five-year-olds and 15-year-olds need the same basic skills! You can find more details on how to plan a good youth soccer coaching session by clicking here.
Dribbling is, perhaps, the most important skill for any soccer player. Dribbling the ball makes young players feel good, it gives them confidence and can demoralise the opposition.
Young players are never in the wrong place to try to dribble the ball. Defenders should be encouraged to dribble or pass their way out of their own penalty area rather than kick the ball into touch at the slightest sign of danger.
If you want to see attractive, skilful soccer you must encourage your players to take risks and accept they may sometimes give a goal away as a result. A goal conceded because a defender tried to dribble the ball instead of passing or kicking it into touch is a learning point, not a disaster! So no more shouting 'kick it out!' please.
Key coaching points
Encourage your players to use all parts of either foot when dribbling. The soles, toes, inside, outside, instep, even the heel, can and should be used. Tell players to keep the ball close to their feet at all times.
How to practise dribbling
Have your players move around a grid while touching the ball with every step they take. Allow them to look at the ball to begin with, but as soon as they are confident ask them to keep their head up.
You can work on this essential skill by holding a coloured cone in the air. Tell your players that if you hold up a red cone they must stop with their foot on the ball. A green cone means 'go faster'. A yellow cone could mean 'slow down' or 'turn'.
2. Running with the ball
Running with the ball is not the same as dribbling. Instead of keeping the ball close to their feet, your players should kick the ball ahead of them and run after it.
Key coaching points
"Move the ball out from your feet quickly."
"Run in a straight line using big strides."
"Keep your head up."
"Know what you are going to do with the ball when you stop running!"
How to practise running with the ball
Split your players into two groups (team A and team standing at opposite ends of a 40 yards by 40 playing area that is divided into four 40 yards by 10 yards channels. Team A players have a ball each.
Players from team A run down channel one and channel three with a ball each. Players from team B start running down channels two and four at the same time.
Team A players pass the ball to the team B player who is running towards them in the adjacent channel as soon as they are within passing range. The team B players collect the passes and continue their run. When they approach the other end of the playing area they pass the ball to the next player to run down the channel and continue.
Note: The playing area can be expanded to provide more channels if you have a lot of players.
Challenge your players to perform this drill at pace and without making a mistake for five minutes.
ASK THE RIGHT QUESTIONS AS COACH 2 years, 7 months ago #812
Today’s topic deals with asking the right questions as a coach.
Go out to almost any soccer field and listen to the coaches try to give the answers:
* “Get Wide”
* “Mark number 10”
* “Pass to the corner”
* “Set up a wall”
The feeling is by telling the players what to do it’s helping the players learn how to make decisions (at least this is some of their thoughts, others seem to feel their players are so stupid they can’t make any decisions for themselves).
Making decisions for players does NOT help them learn how to make decisions in the future. If anything, it stifles their decision making process.
Instead, we need to allow the players to learn to make these decisions on their own.. Short term, it might help to tell them what to do but good coaches are looking at developing their players for long term growth.
This doesn’t mean allowing the players to make the same mistakes over and over again. Allow them to make a mistake, see how they attempt to correct the mistake and then, if they keep making the same mistake over and over again, help them through the thought process so they can figure out the better solution.
While games are a great learning opportunity, there are other ways to work on this decision making. A very effective, yet very tedious method is through video. This is best done in small groups (1-5 players). Have them watch a game for a bit then suddenly turn the video off and have the players draw on a sheet of paper exactly where all 22 players on the field are located. It’s rare to be able to see all 22 players at any given time on a video but this will challenge the players to really concentrate on not only what they see but also tendencies based on previous situations on the field. Have the players compare their locations to the others and see how close they are. If they can’t “see” the field at all times (and this does include times when it’s not visible) it will limit their ability to read the play. Next have them anticipate where the next two passes are going to be made. Again, this would be done by looking at space, seeing who is open, who isn’t and also reading the individual abilities and tendencies of the players in the game. After each discusses their reasoning, then turn the video back on and see how close they were. Continue watching and then repeat the process. After doing this enough times, the players will start to be able to read plays and make decisions quicker. The objective is for them to eventually take what they are practicing in this static environment and apply in games. This is NOT a short term solution as it has to be done over and over until the players (and coaches) really get good at this. If you try to do this with large groups, some will lose focus and will eventually bring the rest down with them. It’s best to start small and slowly increase the size of the groups. As far as the videos are concerned, you can do this with different levels. Sometimes, use high level professional teams to see what could/should be done at that level. Other times, use video of the team you are coaching or of the opponents to see it applied at a more realistic level for the players.
Another way to work on this is through full field scrimmages. Have the team scrimmage with the understanding that occasionally you will call “freeze” and all players must stop right where they are. Call on a player and that player must close their eyes and tell you where all players are located. Then have a discussion regarding options in that given situation. Instead of telling the player with the ball what to do, have that player discuss their options and determine what is best in that situation. Allow for comments from other players but don’t allow it to be too drawn out that players lose focus/interest. Do this for different situations with different players. Keep in mind, this isn’t exciting for the players so don’t do for an extended period of time. Instead, do for short periods of time but do frequently. Follow this up with something quick moving and fun for the players so they don’t see it as punishment.
These processes described above involve a lot of asking of questions as opposed to the giving of answers. It takes time, patience and planning but long term, it’s worth the effort. Some coaches will never do this because telling the players what to do is sometimes easier and might get better results short term. I realize there are coaches out there who feel the pressure to “win now” and as such will never do this but I don’t worry too much about those coaches because their need to “win now” short term will result in them failing long term.
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