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Posts Tagged ‘ Youth Soccer ’

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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Potential ‘Ball Hogs’ in Youth Soccer

Thursday, December 22nd, 2016

Three Stages in Youth Soccer Development

Many youth soccer coaches complain that they have players who hang-on-to-the-ball too long and are afraid that they will end-up becoming ‘ball-hogs’. There is no need for them to worry because all players go through ‘three stages’ in their development. Top players go through the stages more rapidly than average players and some players just simply get stuck. The stages of development are:

  1. Dependent Stage  (Coaching tip – Need for patience)
  2. Independent Stage  (Coaching tip – Need for repetition)
  3. Interdependent Stage  (Coaching tip – Need for freedom)

Dependent Stage

Players in the Dependent Stage have little or no soccer background. They need others to learn from and the coach may become just one of the ‘others’. Coaches with players in this stage must be very patient and allow the players to fail their way to success as they attempt to mimic what has been presented.

Independent Stage

Players in the Independent Stage believe they have the skills, knowledge, background, etc. to win ball games for their team.  They feel that unless they take on the opponent and beat them the team cannot win. You will see a ‘selfish’ type of play from Independent players who many times are tagged with the title: ‘ball hog.’ Players who continuously keep the ball will eventually learn that ‘hanging on to the ball’ may not be the solution to the team’s success.

  • They will get tired during the middle or toward the end of the game – we know what happens to technique when one gets tired.
  • They may get injured since opposing players will find a way to strip the players off the ball.
  • They may be double teamed if the opposing coach knows what he is doing.
  • Their peers may let them know verbally or physically (no passes to them) that they are hurting the team effort.

All of these negatives (and more) will lead ‘smart’ players to conclude that: There is a time to dribble, A time to pass and A time to shoot…!

Interdependent Stage

Players in the Interdependent Stage the top stage, which takes many years to reach, realize that it takes everyone on the team to have a successful game/season. The few players who make it to this stage will have taught themselves (learned) that it is better to pass the ball to the outside in the Defending-third. That it is better to look for through passes in the Midfield-third and to dribble for a shot (on a Farpost goal) in the Attacking-third. In all cases they must feel very comfortable in hanging on to the ball (ball-hogging) until they find a better option. In the meantime let them have some FUN in this current stage which may be frustrating for you but a great time for them! 🙂 Your FUNdamental, Koach Karl (Karl Dewazien)