Monday, May 24, 2010

I'm dating a soccer Mom, and it's hot.

My new relationship is going well, and living with a 14 year old and nine year old is cool. They get on with their thing mostly, and we cross in interests with indoor stuff like Warhammer, Computer games etc. But this is about outside.

J. is a rugby league and rugby union player. With my busted neck I never got to play those, so J. is left to his devices. I don't know the games well enough to suggest coaching techniques, and he seems QUITE on top of it himself, doing very well at the matches I have watched.

L. played previously, but A. didn't like the team so much. L.'s best friend T. is a soccer player, and talked L. into playing a year up with him for Belnorth. And they seem to be having fun, and I'm helping out with the driving, and the coaching. The attitude is great - encourage the good stuff, and move them towards better skills.  They are just emerging from 'we all follow the ball around in a blob' and are moving toward positional play. Crosses occasionally happen, rather than random booting in a roughly forwards direction.

It's an interesting process to watch. My instinct has been to pull it all back to basic skills, in order to have a foundation. I see a lot of people trying to advise on complicated tactics - stuff so complicated that they could not even execute the plans on the pith themselves.

A., L. & I played "The old one - two" Two forwards charge down a goalie. The forward has to be ready to decide - shoot or pass? The goalie has too much room to defend, so he has to charge down the forward with the ball. The receiving forward has to think about space as well. They have to be far enough away from the other forward to a) react to the pass b) trap the pass and c) still have time to shoot before the goalie responds.

It was good sweaty fun, with each of us getting each role in turn. Little mobs fail to get the angles. Good positional play turns it into a win. The plan is obvious - but it needs a good grounding in a dozen skills to make it work. Little steps, and keep it fun.


Natalia the Russian Spy said...

I hope the former TOBP-Steve sees this post - he could offer some simple and effective advice.

Steve said...

The problem with coaching soccer is that too often, people try to coach tactics that are too advanced for the age level. While kids can often pick it up over time, the result is the kids get bored, and it's not a lot of fun. The trick to keeping their attention is to avoid the 3 L's:


Don't do lines (Kid A dribbles and shoots, then Kid B, then Kid C, and over a few minutes, everyone gets a turn....but there's tons of down time).

Don't make the kids run laps. 2 laps at each practice, 2 days a week, does nothing more than make them tired. Making them play Keep-Away or Monkey In the Middle is more effective. Laps don't increase stamina unless they're running a mile a day.

Lectures just make them bored, hating the game, and hating you. If you can't explain a drill in 30 seconds, you've lost them.

If you can tell me the age level, I can provide a bajillion fun soccer activities that keep it fun, but also ingrain skills into them in such a way that they won't even realize they're learning them.


Flinthart said...

Busted neck? Did I know about that one? Yeesh!

YsambartCourtin said...

Hi Steve - thanks. That keeps with my understanding - I try and make 10 minute 'drill games' where superior drill wins the game. Age is 9, so under 10's.

Steve said...

I coached U10 (girls) for 2 years. Awesome age, that's where they start to "get" it.

Try a game of tag (I call it Jellyfishing, after a SpongeBob Squarepants sketch). Everyone has the ball, dribbling around (they're the jellyfish), and one kid runs into the circle and starts tagging (SpongeBob or Sandy, depending on gender).

When tagged, your frozen, and have to hold the ball above your head with legs apart. To get unfrozen, a teammate must pass the ball between your feet. Players must communicate to teammates when frozen, so it teaches quick turns, accurate passes, and communication.

Another one that is useful for starting the attack from defense is have an Offense vs Defense drill. Offense scores on the big goal. Defense must carry the ball out to midfield, where there are 3 small goals (cones, pugg goals, whichever you have) to the left, center and right. This encourages the defenders to actually join the attack and not just boot it downfield. If one team is dominant, you make a 2-3 pass minimum. This helps the offense learn crossing and through/channel passes, and the defense to carry it, and plan strategically, rather than just listening to Mom and Dad who don't know a damn thing about the game, and simply kicking it.

(I have threatened parents with fines, good-natured, if I hear them yell "kick it!")