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Archive for February, 2017

How to Keep Young Player’s Attention & Our 9-Step Soccer Practice Routine

Wednesday, February 15th, 2017

Coaching Question:

“Help! I coach very young players (4-6 year olds). It is really hard to keep their attention. Can you suggest some drills that I can work with them on?” – Lydda

Koach Karl’s Komments:

Lydda you do not need any help – what you need is lots of PATIENCE.  It is rather sad that we organize this wonderful sport at such a young age.  But, that is not your concern.

However, it would be great if your administrators made every effort to just organize PLAY DAYS for the children in your age group. That is, have a Saturday when the children are dropped-off at the playground. Yes, have the parents go home and enjoy some quality time together – while their children are outside in a safe environment – PLAYING!

Now to answer your question: Do not look for any ‘drills’ to keep these children active. All soccer players including your 4-5 year olds come to practice to PLAY! So make your first goal to: KEEP the PLAYERS and the SOCCER BALL MOVING in other words KEEP THEM ACTIVE – ALL THE TIME!

Two Key Concepts About Learning Soccer

Keep these two (2) thoughts in mind:

  1. If the players and the balls are moving = Then they are learning about soccer.
  2. If the players or the balls stop moving = Soccer learning stops!

And these are proven facts! So, teach them our ‘9-Step Practice’. That is, PATIENTLY teach them our ‘ROUTINE’. I have written other articles that you can find on FundamentalSoccer.com; but, let me take the time and give you the flow chart.

Our 9-Step Soccer Practice Routine

Your First Few Practice “Theme” – “Keeping the Balls Moving and the Players Active”

1. Begin Practice – by letting the children socialize and tell them the ‘practice’ rules.

2. Warm-up – Have each player dribble their ball in a confined area & (pretend) stretch ever once in a while.

3. ONE + ONE (Cooperative Play) – Teach them ‘how to’ attack one goal and defend their own goal. PATIENTLY Teach them ‘how to’ play against each other, allow them to make-up their own rules.

4. ONE vs. ONE (Competitive Play) – See if they learned ‘how to’ attack one goal and defend their own goal. (Reminder- It takes time to learn everything)

5. HALF TIME ROUTINE – Teach them (PATIENTLY) what will happen at halftime. – Drink water (no oranges, not enough liquid) – Socialize and give them compliments (away from Mom & Dad)

6. Small Sided Games (Cooperative & Competitive Games) – Split them into groups of 2 or 3 vs. 1 or 2. Talk to them during the Cooperative phase and teach them ‘how to’ attack and defend the appropriate goal. Leave them alone during the Competitive phase and allow them to fail their way to success.

7. Scrimmage (Cooperative & Competitive) – Talk to them during the Cooperative phase and teach them ‘how to’ attack and defend the appropriate goal. Leave them alone during the Competitive phase and allow them to fail their way to success. When competition starts leave them alone and watch them be the best they can be. Don’t get discouraged if some decide to ‘stop’ and watch the clouds ‘go by.’

8. COOL DOWN – Pretend that they are ‘stretching’ their muscles – just like the big players and give every individual a compliment.

9. END PRACTICE – Praise the team – Review what they learned – Give a home-play assignment and let them know of the next team activity. (Be Brief)

If you stick to this ‘ROUTINE’ you will find that as the children begin to understand what is expected and they will become more and more attentive.

It is just like learning to play a computer game. At first they were hesitant until they figured out ‘hey I can hit these keys as hard and as many times as I want’ and Mom and Dad did not get mad. Also, the computer game is very slow and simple at the first level – to allow the child to be successful. With that success and understanding the game increases in challenge at level two. I’m sure you know the progression after that!

Now here is the real secret – once the child is finished playing the game (that day) and they come back. Where do they have to start again? Yes, they need to start again at the very slow (level one). And you realize that in several weeks they can almost do level one without looking at the keys or the monitor. That is ‘true’ understanding and putting the subconscious into play (but, we are getting rather technical here).

To keep it simple…Make your first goal – to teach the children ‘how to’ keep the ball and themselves moving…make sure they eventually go to attack one goal and also defend their own goal. Teach them the “ROUTINE” and with lots of PATIENCE you will find your very young players actively PLAYING in your practices.

If you keep changing (from drill to drill) they will not understand what you want and you cannot build on that…

No Understanding = No Learning … That is the bottom line!!!

Final Note:  Thank you for taking the time to read this article and Sharing it with your soccer community. Clicking Like and Commenting on this subject is also very much appreciated

Your FUNdamental,

Koach Karl (Karl Dewazien)

  • Emeritus Director of Coaching – California Youth Soccer Assoc. 1979-2012
  • Author – Internationally Published FUNdamental SOCCER Books Series
  • Producer – highly acclaimed ‘9-Step Practice Routine’ DVD.
  • Clinician at: www.fundamentalsoccer.com

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Soccer Tips: How to Shoot and Score on Net Every Time

Wednesday, February 1st, 2017

Koach Karl’s Soccer Tips for Shooting & Scoring

Hello Koach Karl,
My name is Andrew. I have problems when shooting at goal I always seem to be shooting over the goal. If I actually shoot low I don’t seem to get enough power behind it. I also have problems crossing the ball like it’s supposed to be crossed.

FUNdamental Response:  Let’s start with the fact that you have a better chance of scoring when the ball is ‘on target’ than when it is off target. Second, you will not receive ‘extra points’ for the power in which the ball crosses the goal line. You need only to get the ball across the line and under the bar in order to score a goal.

I can guarantee that if you use my unique “Self-talk” approach you will in a very short period of time put the ball past the keeper and into the net every time … Priceless!

“Push – Peek – Place!”

Begin by memorizing, in sequence, these three ‘buzzwords’: PUSH – PEEK – PLACE!

Now close your eyes and see yourself in action (visualize) yourself doing the following:

  • PUSH the ball slightly in front of you – during your dribble.
  • PEEK to see the net in back of the goal – or the space beside/over the goalkeeper.
    • Avoid focusing on the goalkeeper – find the spaces and the net! ‘See’ the ball go into the space and into the net – make the GK a non-factor.
  • PLACE the ball (in your mind) over the goal line and under the cross bar for a score!

Repeat this ‘visualizing’ as often as possible. This method is currently used by many international athletes who realize that the body can better achieve what the mind has rehearsed. See yourself ‘scoring’ on every single attempt. You may want to say the buzz words out loud while your eyes are closed.

Next, find a wall and outline a goal on it – start practicing by… PUSHING the ball slightly in front of you…PEEKING to see the space where you will PLACE the ball. Then PLACE the ball at the exact spot that you decided to ‘hit.’ Be sure to say the words out loud – this will help tell your body ‘what to do.’

Finally, go to your next practice and repeat the sequence – over and over again. Here you may want to say the words in your mind rather than out loud (teammates may laugh at what you are doing). I promise they will stop laughing once you start PLACING the ball in the back of the net during the league games.

Get back to me in a few months, if the ball continues to go over the bar, and I will give you some ‘pointers’ on the placement of your “Plant foot” to keep the ball low!

As for your dilemma on crossing the ball… Using the same ‘buzzwords-visualizing and practice’ introduced earlier here is what will improve your ‘crossing.’

  • PUSH the ball toward the near post – this will put your body into proper position
  • PEEK to see your intended (player, space or target)
  • PLACE the ball there!

With lots and lots of practice – you will succeed because the technique of the kick is basically the same in each instance – except you need to place the ball low into the goal and high on the cross!

Your FUNdamental,
Koach Karl

Karl Dewazien at FundamentalSoccer.com