Welcome to all new and returning coaches, and thank you in advance for the time you are investing in Wayland soccer! We are a volunteer run program and greatly appreciate all of the time and enthusiasm we get from our coaches. Below are some suggestions that I’d like to present as basic guidelines for your practices and games.
Make sure that practices and games are conducted safely. For games, be sure to review the rules of soccer and what “dangerous play” consists of with your players. During practices, make sure no one hangs from the goal posts, or plays with the corner flags. Also, NEVER take a child home without the parent’s knowledge and permission. (And remember your cell phone!)
Spend time planning each practice. Decide on what skills you want to introduce and a practice theme (e.g. passing, dribbling, trapping, shooting), and choose activities which teach these skills in a fun way. There is a collection of material below which offer some suggestions for types of drills.
Select activities that maximize ball touches. Touching the ball is the only way to improve a player’s ball skills. E.G., for “knockout” type games, have players who have been “knocked out” do something fun with the ball and re-enter the game area as quickly as possible.
Use water breaks to set up your next activity, or have an assistant coach perform the set up. Players are more engaged in practices that move seamlessly between activities.
Be flexible. If an activity isn’t working, change it by either increasing or decreasing the challenge. If the activity still doesn’t work, move on quickly to the next one. Conversely, if one activity is working very well, feel free to extend it by introducing variations.
Use a lot drills where players wait in line. This is the least efficient way to get touches on the ball and is the fastest way to introduce boredom, and misbehavior. If necessary, run these drills in parallel with your assistant coach.
Invest too much time on field positions for 1st and 2nd grade players. Most young players are not developmentally ready to understand spatial concepts. Instead, use simple ideas such as “we go up the field and attack as a team”, and “we go back together and defend as a team”.
Yell coaching directions during the game. Mission impossible, right? The yelling most of us are guilty of is an American sports coaching tradition, and not a soccer tradition. The soccer tradition is that the game is for the players. Players have to make decisions on the field by themselves. When we yell at players, they often freeze and look at you: they stop thinking, and stop being soccer players. Let kids think on their own, learn from their mistakes, and most important, let them have fun. It’s their game.
We want your feedback.
We would love to hear your thoughts on the clinics--what worked and what didn’t, plus any suggestions for the clinic program in general. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org