How to react to mistakes:
Give encouragement immediately after a mistake
If the player knows how to correct the mistake encouragement alone is sufficient
When appropriate, give corrective instruction after a mistake, but always do so in an encouraging and positive way
What variations can a coach implement in this 3v3 exercise to give variety and change the learning for players?
Each player has a ball. There are 4 bases in the grid, one in each corner. Players try to dribble their ball without being tagged. Taggers carry a pinnie to distinguish themselves. If the player gets tagged, they exchange places with the "tagger". (exchanging pennie for ball)
Players are safe in any one of the 4 bases. Only one player allowed in a base at one time. If a new players enters a base, the old player must leave.
- multiple taggers
- Fewer bases
- players can stay on base for 5 seconds before exiting
- 2 players allowed in each base.
- Play with fewer balls: can only be tagged if you have the ball. or, if you don't have a ball (balls must be passed).
Watch this video to be reminded of the importance of having safety protocols for our players.
Give a lot of positive feedback
Set realistic expectations
Give positive feedback for desirable behavior as soon as it occurs
Praise effort as much as you praise results
An excellent exercise to test your players on at the beginning, middle and end of the season to reveal progress.
4 colors 4 zones
Create a small grid approximately 20X30 yards. In each corner create a square of cones using 4 different colors. This will create 4 different colored spaces. Players are dribbling freely in the grid when the coach calls out a color. All players dribble quickly toward the colored box.
call more than 1 color at a time. “blue, yellow” Players then head to blue first and finish in yellow.
Limit the touches to a certain foot or a certain part of foot. right foot only, inside of foot only.
head up, eyes looking for space, toe down, heel up while dribbling, check for open space, quick change of direction
What makes a good pass?
The weight of the pass. The accuracy. The intention behind the pass. Most would answer all of the above.
But what about a pass to feet?
I often hear coaches call a pass to feet a "good pass" and a pass not to feet a "bad pass". I would encourage you to rethink the communication of this idea. Main reason...its limiting. To teach a young player that the only "good pass" is a pass to feet you are teaching them a way of playing soccer that limits their play. A pass into space, a pass to where the player is headed or a pass encouraging the player to move into space are examples of passes that are actually quite good even though they are not to feet. Limit the "rules" and give players freedom for creativity and expression on the pitch.
rob the nest
Place 5 squares in the grid. One in each corner and one in the middle.
Divide the group into each of the four corners.
Put all of the balls, as many as you have, in the middle square.
When the coach says “GO”, one player from each square goes to the middle and takes one ball back to their corner, tags their teammate and the next player goes to the middle.
The winning team is the one that has the most amount of balls in their corner when there are no remaining balls in the middle.
When no balls are left give an additional 60 seconds for players to follow the same rules but remove the balls from their opponents squares. Corners cannot be protected.
Don't tell when you can ask?
It is necessary to constantly test your players with questions. There is a reason the socratic method is used throughout the world in educational settings. Set problems for your players to solve and give them the space and time to solve them. Force them into thinking for themselves.
When putting together your training session, keep a standard format in mind. For example:
TYPICAL U-6 TRAINING SESSION
- 45 minutes or less.
- Every player should have a ball.
- Warm-up, including movement, use of ball, fun games and challenges (15 min)
- Soccer Activities, individual and partner activities, game like situations (15 min)
- Free Play, finish with a 3v3 game with two goals, no goalkeepers (15 min)
The end of each training session should be devoted to playing 3v3 practice games. Fun games involving 1v1, 2v1, 1v2 and 2v2 can lead into the final activity of 3v3. Coaches can use this time to teach the rules of the game, discuss spacing, and game situations.
Coaches, use a games approach to learning. Make sure each player has a ball as the increased number of touches on the ball will more quickly develop players. Have a selection of game-like activities planned, avoid being drill oriented and focus on fun.
Find more formats here: https://90plusproject.org/new-page-2/
Danielle Slaton, a former U.S. Soccer women’s national team player, explains how to weave together character-education themes for youth with specific training activities in practice. The goal is to have activities that contribute to enhancing player skills but also reinforce messages about character, leadership and how to continue to develop as a person.
1 V 1 Duels
The players are divided into two teams, and positioned at either side of the coach outside a 15x20 yard grid with two small goals (or set of cones) on each end line. The coach serves a ball into the grid and the players try to gain possession and score on their opponent, in either of the 2 goals.
Play for about 20 seconds, until a goal is scored or the ball is out of bounds.
- A goal in the closest goal = 1pt. Ball passed into the goal = 5pts. Dribble to the opposition’s goal or through the cone goal is 10pts.
- Players can only score in the opponent's goal.
- Coach can make it a 2v1 game with bonus points for goals scored after a turn or a move past an opponent.
Coaching points: winning possession, attacking the goal, beating an opponent off the dribble
Keep it simple!
Limit your instruction to one point. Have the conversation last less than 30 seconds. Be specific with your key point and make it actionable. Have the point be something the players can immediately put into action.
Tactics are so important because everybody has to know what they have to do on the pitch. The relationships and behaviours off the pitch between team-mates have to be as good as possible. [Pep Guardiola]
How are you developing your players toward these outcomes? If you had to choose one outcome to focus on at the current age group your coaching, where would you start?