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Practice # 1

Warmup- skillful footwork and killer moves ( 5 minutes)

 

OBJECTIVE: To improve dribbling and shielding technique and inspire the confidence in our players to keep the ball (possess the ball) under pressure with the intention to delay play until help arrives, beat an opponent or simply keep possession for your team.

1) Free Dribble (10 minutes): Everyone with a ball, use inside, outside, and sole of the foot. Have players dribble with speed (outside of foot), change direction, and perform moves. Coach calls out moves or changes in direction and sets the pace as the manipulator of the session; kids dribble the ball towards someone and try a move. Version 2: As players get comfortable, coach can walk around and put pressure on players as they are performing dribbling tasks. This adds fun and interaction. Version 3: Make the game a knockout game in which players try to knock each other’s soccer balls out of the grid while maintaining possession of their own. Note: You may wish to have them perform a skills task before re-entering such as 10 sole of the foot touches or juggling 5 times. You do not want players sitting out.

Coaching Points:

                        Bend your knees and get down low

                        Use your arms to keep balance

                        Keep the ball close using the inside, outside and sole of the foot ,Keep your head up

 

2) Shield-Steal (10 minutes): use entire space, half of players in the group have a ball and half do not. If you do not have a ball you need to steal one from someone who does. If the ball goes out of bounds, the person who touched it last LOSES possession. When the coach yells freeze, those who have possession of a ball receive a point. Play multiple games. Go over technical points as a group and at the start of the activity, show the shielding technique. Fix technical shielding errors throughout this activity and make sure entire group knows how to properly shield. Version 2: make the activity competitive by creating two teams; the team who has possession of the most soccer balls at the end of time is the winner.

Coaching Points:

                        Reinforce the coaching points from the Free dribble activity, Survey the area

                        Recognize when and were to change direction

                        Body sideways between defender and the ball when shielding

                        Arm providing protection when shielding

                        Ball on outside foot when shielding

                        Spin/turn as defender attacks when shielding

                        Hands become your eyes; use them to feel for defender

                         

3) 5 Goal Game (15 minutes): 4v4+2 or 5v5+2 in 35x40 yard grid. Five 2-yard goals are spread out throughout the grid. The 2 neutral players are always on the attacking team. Each team can score by dribbling through any of the 5 goals. The first team to 10 points wins. Players need to be able to see where the open goals are, and receive the ball with a “picture” of what is around them.

Coaching Points:

                        Dribbling to keep the ball ”Shielding”

                        Dribbling to beat an opponent ”Inviting a tackle, change of speed, change of direction, feints”

                        When to dribble to break pressure: This is used most commonly by midfielders and by forwards. It involves simply getting beside the pressuring defender for a split second. Once beside a defender, sudden, explosive changes in pace or direction and feints are the most common means of breaking pressure.

                        Where to dribble to gain space ”With any sort of space ahead of him, an attacker will run with the ball forward to gain territory” Recognizing what goal is open

 

4) 4v4 or 5v5 to Four Goals (15 minutes): Teams defend one goal and have the opportunity to score on the other three, you must dribble through a goal to score a point. The goals are on the ends of a large cross in a square grid roughly 25yd X 25yds. Have one team of 4 or 5 on deck, they come on when a team gets scored on twice. Game is continuous, they must run on immediately. Look for open space and attack it with speed.

Coaching Points: Reinforce coaching points covered in previous activities.

5) 6 vs. 6 (includes GK’s) Game (25 minutes)

Coaching Points:

                        Stress dribbling & shielding technique

                        6) Cool Down (10 minutes) – Controlled juggling (thigh-thigh-foot-foot). Statically stretch the large muscle groups.



PRACTICE # 2

 

Warmup- skillful footwork and killer moves ( 5 minutes)

 

OBJECTIVE: Improve passing technique with the inside and outside of their feet.

Recognize the correct timing and opportunity to pass.

1) Gates Passing (10 Minutes)--- Randomly place many pairs of cones making small goals (1 yard wide) in a large space (30 x 20 yards). Players are paired up and must successfully pass the ball through the cones to their teammate to earn a point. Again, players try to accumulate as many points as possible in the time allotted. Have them pass only with their left foot or right foot, or the outside of their foot.

Coaching Points:

Kicker

• Stress passing techniques

• Point your toe side-ways and with up locked ankle

• Strike the middle of the ball

• Follow thru to partner

• Knees bent

• Head down…eyes on ball at moment of contact

• Placement foot pointed to target and parallel to ball; pay attention to proper weight and angle

Receiver

• Support – get to an angle at which passing lane is clear and have your hips open to the playing field

• Communicate…call for the ball

• Head up

• Move toward pass (check to ball)

 

2) 3 vs. 1 keep away (10 Minutes)---In a grid 10x15 yards, play 3 vs. 1 continuous keep away. Three attackers combine to keep the ball away from one defender. When the defender wins the ball, he or she immediately combines with the attackers he or she did not win the ball from and the attacker who lost the ball becomes the defender. Balls out of play are dribbled in or passed in. Version 2: Add another defender and play 3v2 keep away.

Coaching Points:

 

• Stress coaching points from above

• Read the situation

Receiver

• Support – position yourself at an appropriate angle and distance so that you are a good option for the passer

 

3). 5 Goal Game (10 Minutes)---4v4 in 25x30 grid. Five 2-yard goals are spread out throughout the grid. The teams score by passing through any of the goals to a teammate. First team to 10 points wins.

Coaching Points:

Kicker

• Players need to be able to see where the open goals are

Receiver

• Receive with a “picture” of what is around them.

 

4) 4 vs 4 To Four Small Goals (10 Minutes)---In a 35 X 30 yard grid with a small goal in each corner teams attack the two opposite goals and defend their two goals. The coach will set up as many grids as needed to accommodate the players. When the ball goes out of bounds it can be passed or dribbled in to play. The teams should be rotated every three minutes until all groups have played against each other.

 

5) 5 vs. 5 + GK’s Game(30 Minutes)

Coaching Points:

• Stress passing technique

• Stress recognizing opportunities

• Timing of passes

• Playing away from pressure by changing the point of attack

• Efficiency of touches

• Movement of the ball

 

6) Cool Down (10 minutes) – Juggling,” in the next two minutes, let’s see who can juggle the most touches without letting your ball hit the ground. If hits the ground, start a new count.” . Statically stretch the large muscle groups

 

 

 

PRACTICE #3

 

Warmup- skillful footwork and killer moves ( 5 minutes)

 

OBJECTIVE: Improve long passing technique (using different techniques).

Recognize the correct timing and opportunity to pass long versus short.

Low drive

• Approach the ball from a slight angle.

• Place the non-kicking foot alongside the ball, pointing in the direction of the target.

• Drive diagonally through the ball, kicking the ball with the inside of instep (laces).

• The knee and body are over the ball at the time of contact.

• Follow through low with the kicking foot.

Lofted pass

• Approach the ball from a slight angle.

• Place the non-kicking foot alongside but towards the back of the ball, pointing in the direction of the target.

• Drive diagonally through underside of the ball using the upper instep above big toe.

• Lean back slightly at the moment of contact to impart loft on the ball.

• Follow through towards target.

 

1) Inter passing in 2’s (10 minutes):

Short Passing & moving in 2's (10-15 yards)...insides, outsides and laces/instep

Gradually increase the distance between the 2 players (20-30 yards)...focus on laces/instep

The purpose of this warm-up activity is to clean up the mechanics of passing & receiving, allow lots of repetition and increase the players’ technical speed.

Coaching Points:

• Stress passing techniques

• Survey the playing area at all times so that you can anticipate what to do next with and without the ball.

• Keep body open to as much of the field as possible based on where you are on the field.

• Take first touch toward the target.

• Strike ball with proper weight and proper surface.

 

2) Clean Your Backyard (10 minutes)

Break the group into two teams and have each team stay only on their own half of the field. Place a 15 yard buffer zone between halves so that no one can enter or cross. Each player needs a ball. Place three small (3-5yd) goals at the far end of each side of the field. Have both teams shoot balls at the other team’s goals in an attempt to score through any one of the small goals (below knee height). Players cannot cross the buffer zone or go into the other half. Balls get recycled naturally in the game. This is a competition and teams need to keep score. Play 2 or 3 games and have teams re-strategize between each game. Teams can play defense but no use of hands. Only shots (or passes) with laces count as goals.

Coaching Points:

 

• Stress long passing technique

• Point your toes down and lock ankle

• Placement foot pointed to target and behind the ball, pay attention to proper weight and angle (for air ball pass)

• Placement foot pointed to target and parallel to ball, pay attention to proper weight and angle (for low ball pass)

• Strike the middle of the ball

• Follow thru and land on your kicking (passing) foot

 

3) Three Zone Game (15 minutes):

Split grid into three even zones (zone 1, 2 and 3). Split team into three even teams (3 to 6 players in each zone). Each team occupies a Zone. The Team in Zone 1 starts with the ball. The team in Zone 2 sends two of their players into Zone 1 to defend. The team in Zone 1 tries to possess the ball a minimum of 3-4 passes before attempting to play the ball to the team in Zone 3. If the two defenders win the ball in Zone 1, they turn and attempt to play it down to Zone 3 and then switch zones with the team in Zone 1 (the team in Zone 1 then has to then send two defenders into Zone 3 and try to win the ball back). If the team in Zone 1 is able to play it down to team in Zone 3, they get a point. That means the other two players waiting in Zone 2 are entering into Zone 3 trying to win the ball back. The team that gets to 5 points first, wins. Variation: Make a restriction in which the ball played into the other zone has to be in the air.

Coaching Points:

 

• Stress the proper technical points as well as the proper timing of the passes

• Read the situation. Read the game

• Supporting players must get to an angle that provides a good passing option

• Proper communication by supporting players

 

4) 4v4 + 2 Targets (15-20 minutes):

In a 50x40 yard grid, 4 red versus 4 yellow with targets on opposite end lines. In order to get a point, team must find the Target. Version 2: Team must look to find a Target, get the ball back and attack the opposite end and try to get the ball to the other target. Three points if a player finds the Target in one long penetrating pass from their own half and one point if a player finds the Target through shorter combinations.

Coaching Points:

• Stress on the quality of the pass (which surface of which foot, which direction and why)

• Stress communication and organization.

• Reinforce the coaching points listed in activity #1 and #2 and #3

• Encourage finding the end line/target as quickly as possible.

 

5) 8v8 regular game (30-40 Minutes)

On a 70x50 yard field with goalies and large goals, play a regular match. This is the US Youth Soccer recommend field size and numbers.

6) Cool Down (6 minutes)

Controlled juggling (thigh-thigh-foot-foot) or any combination of 4-6 juggles that will challenge the players. Statically stretch the large muscle groups.

 

 

 

PRACTICE # 5

 

Warmup- skillful footwork and killer moves ( 5 minutes)

 

Objectives: To improve the technique of shooting with the insides and instep of both feet. To foster the confidence to shoot!

1) Shooting Through the Cones (Warm-up - 15-20 minutes):

Set up a line of cones about 6 yards apart, representing goals for the players to shoot through. Position two players about 10-15 yards away from and on opposite sides of the line of cones. Players opposite each other proceed to kick (shoot) the ball through their cone goal, back and forth, working on correct shooting technique. It is important that the players work to perfect their preparation touch and that they strike a moving ball. The players should be using both feet to shoot. Scatter extra soccer balls around the playing area.

Coaching Points:

• Keep ankle of shooting foot locked with toe down

• Non-kicking foot is placed parallel to ball (not behind it or ahead of it) and far enough

away that it is comfortable to hit ball and that both ball and non-kicking foot are

underneath your hips

• Non-kicking foot should be pointing towards your target

• Your weight should be on the ball of your non-kicking foot

• Both knees bent

• Strike through the middle of the ball…if you made a cross in the back of the ball, hit

where the two lines intersect

• Follow through to your target

• Land on your kicking foot

• Keep head down to see what you are kicking

• Lean over ball as you kick, do not stand upright

• Strike ball with laces so that ball strikes hard bone on top of foot

• Encourage players to strike through the ball

• Players may need to make a slightly angled approach towards ball in order to prevent

them from kicking ground…this will result in hip of the same leg as the kicking foot

being higher than non-kicking foot

 

2) Popcorn (15-20 minutes):

Set up a grid about 30 yds. X 20yds. With a goal on each end. Coach plays balls into 4-5 players who are all competing against each other to get the ball and score in either goal. First to five goals wins. Coach should manipulate service in order that all players are able to have shots and feel some success.

Coaching Points:

• Reinforce the coaching points listed in activity #1

• Gives players more opportunities for scoring chances

• Encourage a risky mentality to shoot

 

3) Four (4) Corner Shooting (20 minutes)-

On a field 20 yards wide x 25 yards long, position two goals at each end. Split group into two teams (red and blue). Position half of the red team in a line behind one corner of the field and the other half of the red team in a line behind the other corner of the field, at the same end. Organize the blue team in the same manner at the other end of the field. Select a goalkeeper for each goal and rotate that player every 5 minutes. The coach is positioned at the midfield line, outside the field, with all the soccer balls. When the coach kicks a ball into the field, the first person in each of the four (4) corner lines enters the field to play. The game becomes a 2v2 + keepers activity. Play continues until the ball goes out of play or a goal is scored. When this happens, the players on the field quickly get back into their original lines, keepers stay on, and the assistant coach kicks the next ball in for the next 4 players. The coach should play the ball toward one of the corner lines (risk/safety management).

Coaching Points:

• Reinforce coaching points listed in activity #1

• Players looking to go to goal quickly

 

4) 4 vs 4 + 4 on deck (15-20 minutes):

Two teams playing to one goal each. First team to two goals stays or if two minutes pass by, the longest team on gets off and new team comes on. Captains on each team keep score.

Coaching Points:

 

• Reinforce the coaching points listed in activity #1

 

• Help players to recognize when to use the inside of foot vs. the instep (laces)

 

5) 6v6 scrimmage (25-30 minutes):

Depending upon numbers, space will change. Ideally, finish with the number you normally play with in games. Play a regular game with goalkeepers.

Coaching Points:

 

• Highlight the technique of shooting

 

• Reinforce positive decision making opportunities (when, how and where to shoot the ball, etc.).

 

6) Cool-down (10 minutes):

Individual juggling. Have players compete to see who gets the most in a 2 minute period

 

 

 

 

PRACTICE # 6

 

Warmup- skillful footwork and killer moves ( 5 minutes)

 

 

Objectives: To improve the technique of receiving soccer balls played in the air. To help players practice using different surfaces when receiving lofted balls (feet, thighs, chest).

 

 

1) Dutch Circle (Warm-up – 15 minutes):

Half of the players (servers) create a 25-35 yd outer circle and have soccer balls in their hands. These players must always be alert and on their toes. The other half of the players (receivers) are in the middle of this circle and do not have soccer balls. The receivers check to the servers to receive a ball out of the air from them. They receive the ball with feet, thighs or chest and then play the ball to any server on the outer circle who does not have a ball (except the player who tossed it to them). They then check to another server on the outside that has a ball and repeat the process for about 2-3 minutes until coach switches players on outside and inside. Focus on both feet, receiving with the top of foot and then turning with it; the thigh, taking it in the direction they want to go; the chest.

Coaching Points:

• on toes and get body behind ball

• move to the ball, do not wait for it

• try to drop the ball a bit in front of your body using one touch so the ball is in your

control but not under you

Thigh:

• lift thigh up to meet ball and once ball touches thigh drop your leg down to cushion the

ball

• torso should be leaning forward

• make sure you push ball slightly in front of you so you can handle it easily

• ball should not pop up as you cushion it

• point of contact on leg is the bottom of the quadriceps muscle

 

Chest:

• bend knees with feet staggered

• slightly arch back while using arms for balance

• cushion ball (collapse chest) as it hits your chest and guide it just in front of your feet

• do not push out chest to pop the ball out too far in front of you

• ball should droop down, not pop up

• once contact is made move forward to stay over the ball and protect it

 

2) Box to Box (15-20 minutes):

Two players per team. Two boxes are made approximately 20-30 yards apart. There is a player from each team in one box. One team starts the game. When the ball is lofted to the other box, the attacking team gets the opportunity to get the first touch. Then they have to dribble outside of the box (square) to receive a point. The defending player is outside the box and has to wait until the attacking player gets the first touch. The defending player tries to win the ball after the first touch has been made. If the attacking player is successful in bringing the ball down and dribbling outside of the square then they keep it. If the defending player wins the ball after the first touch, then they become the attacking team. Coach may allow the serving players to toss the ball in the air or punt it in the air to the opposite box.

Coaching Points:

• reinforce coaching points listed in activity #1

• first touch and importance of cushioning ball

• get in line with the ball

• select controlling surface early

• relax body part at impact

• take first touch away from where pressure is coming from

 

3) Arsenal Drill (15-20 minutes):

Split grid into three even zones (zone 1, 2 and 3). Split team into three even teams (can have 3 to 6 players in each zone). If have three teams of 4, then Team in Zone 1 is trying to possess the ball (can ask them to have 2 to 4 passes before they can play the ball down) and then play it in the air to team in Zone 3. Meanwhile, team in Zone 2 sends two defenders into Zone 1 to try and win the ball. If they win the ball, they turn, play it down to Zone 3 and then switch zones with team in Zone 1 (team in Zone 1 then has to then send two defenders into Zone 3 and try to win the ball back). If team in Zone 1 is able to play it down to team in Zone 3, they get a point. That means the other two players waiting in Zone 2 are entering into Zone 3 to win the ball back. Team that gets to 5 points first, wins. Variation: Make a restriction that the ball played into other zone has to be in the air.

Coaching Points:

 

• reinforce the coaching points listed in activity #1 and #2

• first touch and importance of cushioning ball

• get in line with the ball

• select controlling surface early

• relax body part at impact

• take first touch away from where pressure is coming from

 

4) 6v6 Scrimmage (25-30 minutes)

Play a regular game with goalkeepers.

Coaching Points:

 

• Reinforce the coaching points listed in activity #1 and #2

 

• Highlight the technique of receiving the ball in the air

 

• Reinforce positive decision making opportunities (what surface they use to receive it, where their first touch goes, body positioning, etc.)

 

5) Cool-down (10 minutes):

Groups of 3. One player is the server and has the ball in their hands and the other two are ready to juggle. Server says 2 and 2 which means the server tosses the ball to the first player who has to juggle the ball two times before getting it to the next player who has to juggle the ball twice and get it back to the server (ball should not touch the ground). Server can change numbers of juggles to 1 and 1, 1 and 5, 3 and 4, 4 and 2, etc.

 

 

PRACTICE # 7

 

Warmup- skillful footwork and killer moves ( 5 minutes)

 

Objectives: To improve the technique of receiving soccer balls played on the ground. To help players see different methods of receiving ground balls (inside of foot, outside of foot, across body, through legs, etc.).

 

1) Dutch Circle (Warm-up – 15 minutes):

Half of the players create a 25-35 yd outer circle and have soccer balls at their feet. These players must always be alert and on their toes. The other half of the players are in the middle of this circle and do not have soccer balls. The inner players check to players on the outside to receive a pass from them. They receive the pass and then play to any player on the outer circle who does not have a ball (except player who passed to them). They then check to another person on the outside that has a ball and repeat this process for about 2-3 minutes until coach switches players on outside and inside. Focus on both front foot and back foot receptions and add in feints (i.e. ball runs through legs, ball runs across body, or take ball early). Work on receiving with both feet and receiving sideways-on.

Coaching Points:

                        get body behind the ball and be on toes

                        go to the ball, do not wait for it

                        keep ankle of receiving foot locked

                        cushion ball as it arrives (as you would catching an egg)

                        point of contact is the middle of the ball

                        keep feet moving before ball arrives

                        make your first touch active by pushing the ball in the direction in which you want to go (typically away from pressure)

                        get head up before and after receiving

                        always try to receive the ball facing the way you want to play

 

2) Numbers Passing (15 minutes):

Split the team into groups of 4-5 players. Give every player a number. Have them spread out and pass the ball from number 1 to 2, from 2 to 3, etc. through the whole group. The highest numbered player simply passes back to number 1 and the activity continues. Tell all the players that the ball cannot stop moving, and they cannot stop moving. As they become proficient at the activity, introduce another ball to the group; they now have to pay attention to where they are receiving the ball from as well as where they need to play the ball next. Version 2: Have the whole team as one group and follow the same information above (but can add more than one soccer ball to group).

Coaching Points:

                        Reinforce the coaching points listed in activity #1

                        Player receiving must have head up to know what they are going to do with the ball before they get it

                         

3) Four Square Passing (15 minutes):

Form a grid 35yds x 35yds with squares roughly 4 yds across in each corner. Two teams of 4 to 6 players try to score by passing the ball to a teammate who makes a run into one of the four squares. Only players from the attacking team can enter a corner square. Once a player in the square receives a ball, they can pass to a teammate or dribble the ball out for a point. Balls out of play can be passed or dribbled back into play.

Coaching Points:

                        Reinforce the coaching points listed in activity #1 and #2

 

4) Bread and Butter (15 minutes):

Typical 4 vs. 4 but with an additional 4 players who stand on outside of field and can be used by either team as outlets (can limit the touches of these players if they have the ability (ie: two touches)). If a team gets scored upon, they become the team on the outside and the outside team plays on the field. Use approximately a 20x25 yd area. May restrict the players to 2 or 3 touches to force quicker decisions, and better body position before the ball arrives. Keep score and make the game competitive.

Coaching Points:

                        Reinforce the coaching points listed in activity #1 and #2

                        when receiving balls with back to goal or in midfield, try to receive sideways on (with body sideways to the length of the field) and look over shoulder before receiving the ball

 

5) 6v6 Scrimmage (25-30 minutes)

Play a regular game with goalkeepers.

Coaching Points:

                        Reinforce the coaching points listed in activity #1 and #2

                        Highlight the technique of receiving

                        Reinforce positive decision making opportunities (how they receive the ball in relation to where they are on the field and the options they have)

 

6) Cool-down (10 minutes):

Top cross bar chip. All players, each with a soccer ball on the penalty mark try to chip the ball to hit the crossbar. Can have them then try from the edge of the penalty area (and farther if they need to be challenged more). Coach can make a competition out of it – when team hits top crossbar certain number of times, they can go home, etc.