Soccer Practice. When practicing there are a few general guidelines that are good to follow:

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1 General Guidelines Soccer Practice When practicing there are a few general guidelines that are good to follow: 1) Try to keep all players as active as possible. a. If everyone can have a ball at practice it will help (ask kids to bring a ball they will want to put their name on it). b. Avoid long lines if you have an Assistant Coach that can work with some of the players it will free you up to work with the rest. This can t be done all of the time, but try to minimize inactive periods. 2) Avoid running for the sake of running. a. If you need players to do conditioning, try to incorporate it in a drill. b. Avoid running laps, especially at younger ages. 3) Avoid long talks, especially with younger players. If necessary try to break skills and concepts into smaller bits of information, especially for younger players. NOTE: ALLOW FOR PLENTY OF WATER BREAKS (ON HOT DAYS A WATER BREAK SHOULD BE GIVEN AT LEAST ONCE EVERY 15 MINUTES). Practice Time A typical practice (1 hour in length) should be generally broken into minute drills, with the exception of possibly scrimmaging. Drills should be picked to focus on a particular skill or concept. As players progress, drills can be incorporated that work on multiple skills. Below is a general guideline that can be used to assist in planning a practice: Warm-up Stretching and Light Exercise 5-10 minutes Skill 1 Dribbling/Passing/Shooting minutes Skill 2 Dribbling/Passing/Shooting minutes Game Scenario Corners, Goalkicks, Throw-ins, etc minutes Positioning/Teamwork Off. v. Def./ Scrimmage minutes Again, adjust this to meet your team s needs. Water breaks should be inserted between activities. Soccer Formations One of the more important things you will do as a coach is to decide which formation fits your players and age group the best. Below are four sample formations and some advantages and disadvantages of each. Numbers 1 & 2 are probably better at the younger ages and numbers 3 & 4 can be effectively used at the older ages. As a general rule for the older age groups, you want your defenders comfortable pushing up the field at least near midfield. A suggestion for the younger age groups is start your players outside of the penalty box so they feel comfortable moving up to challenge for the ball (sometimes the defenders mistakenly believe that they have to stand on the line or be in the penalty box).

2 1. This formation shows 2 defenders, 3 midfielders, and 2 forwards. The advantage is it is easy to show defenders their area and it allows for more offensive players (players to run the field). The disadvantage is there is a gap down the center of the field, which allows a good dribbler to find a quick opening for a shot. 2. This formation shows 2 defenders (in a vertical alignment), 2 midfielders, and 3 forwards. The advantage is it is very offensively oriented and is designed to slow down a team with good dribblers. The disadvantage is a good passing team can get around it, and it is tiring on midfielders to run the field (may want to switch a forward to a midfielder).

3 3. This formation shows 3 defenders (one in a sweeper position), 3 midfielders, and 1 forward. The advantage of this formation is it allows for the defense to push up the field further without having to worry about a long kick by the other team getting behind you. The disadvantage is you lose an offensive player. 4. This formation has 3 defenders (one as a sweeper ), 3 midfielders (one in a defensive position), and 1 forward. The advantages of this formation is it is strong defense, allows defenders to take chances and push-up the field (often past midfield), and you can trap the ball in your opponents defensive end. The disadvantage is you are often out-numbered in the offensive end. The above formations are only a few possibilities. As a coach you want to pick the one that fits your team and the team you are playing against the best.

4 DRILLS These drills are designed for players of any age but it is important to keep in mind the difference in the caliber of players between the Bitty and Rookie leagues. Bitty league (ages 4-5) The primary theme of the Bitty league is to introduce children to soccer and provide an atmosphere where kids can have fun, run around, and acclimate to team sports. Bitty league games typically consist of herding players up and down the field. Offensive and defensive positions are assigned including a goalie but coaches will struggle to organize and spread out the herd. The key here is to have fun and encourage the players with overwhelming positive reinforcement. Rookie league (ages 6-7) At the Rookie level, players should begin to develop individual skills and position specific skills. Coaches should seek to spread the players out on the field, attempting to graduate from the herd of players that primarily occurs in the Bitty league. Because skills are not completely refined at this age, the aggressive and faster players will normally dominate.

5 Dribbling Warm-up Drills Ages: Any # Players: Any Have players dribble across the field using various techniques (progress through the drills based on age and ability): Inside of the foot dribble try touching the ball every step Have students work on their ball touches by: Ball touches alternate touching the top side of the ball with balls of players feet (as players get better have them move the ball forward or backward by using the ball of their feet) Between feet Have players keep the ball moving back and forth between their feet (as players get better have them practice turning with the ball) Relay Races Ages: Any # Players: Even teams 1) Divide team into teams (3-4 players per team seems to work best) 2) Line-up 5-8 cones, approximately 1-3 yards apart, in front of each team 3) Have players dribble between the cones, circle the last cone, and then dribble through the cones on the return trip 4) Once the player gets back to the next player in line the next player then dribbles through the cones, this continues until all players have had their turn Note: If lines are uneven you can have a player go a second time to have each team take the same number of turns. Variation: Instead of players dribbling through the cones after the turn, they can do a sprint dribble back to the line.

6 King of the Dribble Ages: Any # Players: Any Directions: 1) Have all players with a ball inside a defined space (10 yards x 10 yards works well) 2) Coach says start dribbling (stress change in direction, speed, and looking up) 3) After dribbling a few seconds, coach says go and players attempt to kick other players balls out of the space (once ball goes out player is out until next game) 4) This continues until only one person is left (King of the Dribble) Red Light, Green Light Ages: Any # Players: Any 1) Players line-up on the sideline 2) When coach calls green light players start dribbling across the field, when coach calls red light players put their foot on the ball and stop Variation: Add call of U turn and have players dribble opposite direction. Sharks and Minnows Ages: Any # Players: 5 or more 1) Players (minnows) line-up on sideline with one player (shark) starting approximately 15 yards away 2) When coach blows a whistle (or says go ) the players try to dribble across the field without the shark kicking their ball 3) Once everyone either gets across or their ball gets kicked by the shark, then prepare to start again on opposite side. Everyone who s ball was kicked by the shark also becomes a shark. 4) Continue going back and forth until either one or no one is left as a shark Note: Set-up clear side boundaries.

7 Heads Up Ages: Any # Players: Any 1) All players line up on the line with a ball 2) When coach says go, players start dribbling across the field. As the players dribble the coach holds up fingers and players call out the number 3) Coach continually changes the number as players dribble across the field Passing Warm-up Ages: Any # Players: Even number 1) Have players line-up across from their partner with one ball for each pair 2) Players then pass back and forth practicing the proper technique for passing (inside of foot) and trapping Variation 1: Have players pass using outside of the foot Variation 2: With players in groups of three, have one player between the other two with the two on the outside each with a ball; have player in middle receive a pass and pass back from one player and then turn to do the same from the second player; center player continues for approximately a minute and then coach has the players rotate (key is to have player in center in continual motion) Wall passing Ages: Any # Players: Even number 1) The players are divided into two lines starting on the side line, with every player in one line with a ball 2) The players pass back and forth as they run across the field 3) Once everyone has made it across the field, the players then return Note: To do this effectively one player will use their right foot and the other player will use their left; on the return trip they each will use the opposite foot. It is best if the players pass the ball slightly ahead of their partner instead of directly to them. Variation: have the player start at midfield and finish with a shot on goal.

8 Shooting Warm-up Ages: Any # Players: Any 1) All players in a line, preferably all with a ball about yards (based on players age and ability) from the goal; either a player or adult can play goalkeeper 2) The first player passes the ball to a coach, or player, that is several yards away; the coach or player then passes the ball to the side for the player to run up and shoot the ball Variation: Instead of players passing the ball, they can dribble up to the coach and then dribble (side-step) around the coach and then shoot the ball. This is a good way to have players practice their fakes by doing a shoulder or ball fake to setup their side-step. Rapid Fire Ages: Any # Players: Any 1) Six or more balls are lined up in a line approximately one yard between them on a slight angle toward the goal 2) A shooter goes down the line and shoots all the balls as quickly as possible 3) The balls are then reset for the next shooter Note: For a right-footed shooter, have the shooter start on the left side facing the goal. Set-up on the opposite side for a left-footed shooter.

9 One vs. One Shot Ages: Any # Players: 2 or more 1) Have players in two lines approximately 20 yards from the goal; the coach should be in the middle with a stack of balls; a player or adult can be goalkeeper 2) The first person of each line sits on each side of the coach; the coach then throws out a ball; both players get up as quick as they can; the first person to the ball tries to shoot and score Note: If the players are unequal in speed or ability, the coach can adjust by tossing the ball more to the side of the slower player. Small Sided Games Offense vs. Defense Ages: Any # Players: Varies 1) Have two offensive players attack the goal with one defender and a goal keeper. 2) Gradually increase numbers (3 v 2, 5 v 3, and 6 v 4 are common numbers) 3) Include game scenarios such as throw ins, corner kicks, and free kicks.

10 TEAM INFORMATION SHEET PLAYER PARENT(S) PHONE 1 PHONE 2 SNACK SCHEDULE OTHER VOLUNTEERS NEEDED GAME DATE SNACK PERSON DEVOTION LEADER ASSISTANT COACH(ES) CONCESSION STAND (Date TBA)

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