Kids Teach Proper Soccer Training

Kids Teach Proper Soccer Training

Parents and Coaches,

I want to share something with you very quickly. I continually stress how important it is to let the game be the teacher when you are coaching kids with soccer training.

To support that point I want to share a story with you. The other day at a soccer training practice session I had my kids play 5 v 5 in a small-sided game of offense versus defense. There was one player that was universal and played both ways. The offense was trying to score on the regular sized goal passed the goalie.  The defense had no goal and had to work on possessing the ball when they won it.

I didn’t interject at all in this game and allowed the kids to play freely for five minutes. As I observed, I noticed that the offensive team going to goal was having extreme difficulties. They couldn’t hold onto the ball.  When the defense won the ball, they moved it around with great fluidity and control. The defense held the ball for at least four of the five minutes just playing keep away.

So as a coach, I made a quick hypothesis. I figured that when I switched the teams around for five minutes, the defense to the offense and the offense to the defense, my new offense was going to rock because they had just possessed the ball for 80% of the time in the last session. Not so much! The conventional soccer training philosophy failed me!

The second session looked much like the first and the defensive team, you know, the one that had problems even retaining the ball as the offense, kept the ball for close to 80% of the time. So my hypothesis was very far from the truth. This experiment was teaching me about coaching.

So what did I learn from this? I learned that kids put unnecessary pressures and blocks on themselves when you throw a goal at them. They get overly excited and forget that soccer is a game of possession, totally disregarding their fundamentals. They are so focused on moving the ball forward and scoring, that they disregard the very fundamentals that make the game so simple. Instead of moving the ball around and allowing the situation to dictate the attack, they will continually force the ball and try to create chances that aren’t there.

This observation was mind blowing for me. It will revolutionize the way that I approach training in the future. In a future lesson I will speak about some of the different adjustments I made to our training to help the kids become more comfortable and release those mental blocks so they can play as freely going to goal as they can in possession.

Keep it Simple,

Coach Randle

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