Thank you for volunteering to be a coach for PQ Rec. Soccer! Our program exists for our young players but without volunteer coaches, the club can’t function. Being a coach is one of the most rewarding roles to play within the club, yet it can be a challenge as well. Each player is different and presents a unique opportunity from teaching/coaching point of view. Also, there are twice as many parents as players and it is the coach’s job to get all of them on the same page.
We are always looking to add to our roster of coaches, at all levels of experience. If you know someone who is interested in making a difference in a young soccer player’s life, please have them register to be a coach by contacting Mike Davison, Director of Recreation at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Step 1 ~ Getting Started
1. Coaching clinics will be scheduled for you in order to provide simple but fun drills for teaching soccer to young children.
Step 2 ~ Contacting your players
1. Once you have received your roster(s), contact all parents by phone or email within two - three days. Please note that children are anxiously awaiting your phone call! Be prepared to tell them when their child will practice - location, days and times. At this time, ask for permission to place their names, phone numbers and email addresses on a team roster to distribute. Tell them what to bring to practice, ie., ball, shin guards, cleats and water.
2. At your first practice, you should
Share some information about yourself and why you decided to coach soccer.
Ask parents to volunteer as an assistant coach or team parent. All assistant coaches will also NEED to get fingerprinted.
Discuss your expectations for the team, your focus and objectives. Stress the learning, good sportsmanship aspects of the game rather than competition and winning.
Schedule of games and picture day information.
Other parental obligations and needs (sponsorships, snacks, etc.)
Prepare a handout and/or talk about "team rules". Some examples are:
Players must call if they will miss practice or games.
Players are expected to show positive attitudes and to follow directions given by the coach(es). Coaches will NOT permit grumbling, horse-play or other disruptive or disrespectful behavior during games or practices.
All players must be willing to play all positions (intended for Divisions U6 - U10).
Players are expected to show courtesy to opponents and referees. The decision of the referee is binding, don’t complain about missed calls. Contact the Director of Recreational Soccer if you have concerns.
Parents should express only positive remarks to players, coaches and referees.
Discuss what will be done if a parent does not pick up their child at the end of practice. In order to protect both players and coaches, parents should make every attempt to be punctual when picking up their child from practice.
At times, you may need to take a parent aside and discuss privately his or her behavior. Sometimes you can address parents as a group, particularly if several have been yelling coaching instructions to their child during a game, but occasionally, you will have a parent who is too aggressive or belligerent toward players and/or the referees. FC San Diego stresses sportsmanship and enjoyment for all players and their families. Contact the Director of Recreational Soccer if you need assistance at email@example.com.
Step 3 ~ Equipment
1. We will provide you with a soccer ball, air pump, pinnies, cones and a coach’s shirt.
2. Have the children bring a soccer ball, shin guards, soccer cleats and water to all practices and games.
3. Have them label their ball with a permanent marker.
4. As a coach, you will need a few items of your own.
Step 4 ~ Practice
1. Always prepare a list of drills and skills you wish to accomplish during practice.
2. Check the players for loose clothing and jewelry before starting games and practices.
3. A 90 minute practice might consist of:
4. Your practice should be modified to fit your age group and needs of the players. You’ll always want to start with warm-ups and stretches, but the skills, small sided practice and scrimmage can be adapted to fit the objectives of your practice.
5. Try to close each session with a brief discussion of a rule or skill concept so that the children have the opportunity to discuss and ask questions.
6. Take the opportunity at the end of practice to talk to parents about an upcoming game or perhaps a drill they can practice with their child at home.
Practice Hints for the Player
As any great soccer player will tell you, playing soccer two or three days a week is not enough to become a top level player. These players will tell you that it takes a great amount of time and tremendous dedication to become a college level or higher caliber of player. As a young player with dreams of once becoming great, what can you do on your own to improve? Today’s practice hints will give you some ideas of things you can work on at home to improve your skills.
Yes, it is always nice to have a partner with whom you can play soccer at home with, but what can we do when someone else is not around to play soccer with us? Probably the biggest difference between a great player and someone who is just okay, is their ability to control the ball from any angle and in any type of situation. There are many activities which you can work on at home, alone, to improve your ball control.
First, and foremost one can spend many hours juggling a soccer ball. For those of you just beginning in the game, no matter what the age, this is an important part of the game. Though you may never juggle a ball in a game learning to juggle the ball will help you to have a better feel for the ball, improve your balance, improve your foot to eye coordination and will teach you to have a softer more consistent touch on the ball. The beginner may want to start by playing what I call "1 bounce". This means that after every time you kick the ball in the air, the ball may bounce one time on the ground before you must kick it up again. Now, I say kick the ball but what I really mean is touch the ball up with your feet because we always want to demonstrate that we are under control of the ball and not sending it flying into the air where we must go chase the ball. As you get more advanced in your technique then you should look to eliminate the bounce and juggle the ball using any part of your body to keep it in the air. Some of us will find that it becomes very easy to juggle the ball with our thigh, however this does nothing for your control of the ball with your feet. We need to focus on juggling the ball with our feet.
In order to keep my interest, I always liked to challenge myself to get my personal record. If yesterday I did 17 then today I want to try and get 20. That way I was always competing with myself to improve. If you adopt this attitude you to will soon see rapid improvement in your juggling. A strong improvement in juggling should translate into a strong improvement in your ability to control the ball in a game. Keep up the good work, and until next time good luck with your soccer!
Before I get into teaching certain skills of the game I feel it is important that we all realize the best ways to teach our kids. First and foremost we must realize that the game itself is a very good, if not the best teacher of all. We are their to help the players make adjustments to their game. Secondly we must realize that kids are "doers" not thinkers. They learn by actually getting out there and doing something not by talking about how to do something. Some kids are "auditorial" learners who will learn by listening, but will get bored quickly if you talk a lot. Make your explanations quick and concise. The more time we talk the more touches on the ball we are losing. Other kids are "visual" learners and must see demonstrations. If you are not comfortable in your ability to make a demonstration, why not use a player on your team who is capable of performing that task.
Another important aspect to coaching is to remember to make your practices as realistic as possible. When was the last time your kids stood in a line to take a shot on goal, better yet when will the next time be? When do you see them standing in place and passing to a teammate? Not very often if at all. Thus we need to eliminate these types of activities from our practices. Soccer is a game of constant movement and change. The players must learn how to adjust their body and position in relation to what is happening in the game. Thus we must replicate these changes in our practices. Eliminating lines and standing around will also help you to eliminate opportunities to get bored and begin goofing around.
Lastly, we must remember that though our team may have many faults, we cannot take care of them all at once. Each practice we must look at teaching only one thing. Organize your practice going from simple to more complex based upon developing that one topic. Never try and tackle three things in one practice. Such practices will only lead to a variety of topics which your team may recognize but not have improved at. Stick to one thing at a time, then you will see improvement. As coaches we must be patient.
I feel confident that if you can remember these three things in developing your practices you will see much more success in the development of your team and enjoy your experience all the more. Coaches don’t win the games, players do!
Passing the ball is at one time, seemingly one of the easiest and most fundamental skills of the game, yet if not done properly can lead to some major problems in the game. Today we are going to go through all of the technical points of passing the ball so you can be sure that you are teaching the kids the proper technique.
The first thing our players must learn to do is strike the ball properly. For the most basic of passes, the "push pass", we stress hitting the ball with the inside part of our foot, somewhere between the big toe and your heel right at the arch of your foot. It is important that we bend our foot sideways or 90 degrees to the ball upon contact. When doing this we lock our ankle tight in that position, thus contracting all of the inner muscles in the leg. When we lock our ankle we want to do so with our toes pointed up in our shoe. Failure to lock the ankle, will consistently lead to "soft" errant passes. Next, our planted foot must be pointed in the direction of where we want the pass to go. I call this foot our steering wheel. The leg of the planted foot must be slightly bent, we are looking for a good balanced position here. What we also want to look for here is that our player get their hips and shoulders to also face the direction of the pass. Failure to square up your body to the pass will also lead to weaker or soft passes because it will not allow for proper follow through. In striking the ball we are looking for the middle of the foot to strike through the middle of the ball for a nice level pass. When beginning the swing we just need to withdraw the foot slightly, keeping the knee bent, and then nice and easy (depending of course how far or hard you need to hit the ball) we swing at the ball. Upon striking the ball we want to stress that our players follow through with their swing. Their swing should finish with a bent knee going towards their chest.
Some common mistakes to look for are hips not pointing the proper direction, ankle not locked or the follow through is non-existent. These are critical parts of the pass so be sure not to allow your players to get away with such sloppy technique.
Here is a sample practice that you may use to help your team with their passing.
1. Partners passing back and forth so you can spend a few minutes reviewing the basics. If your players have down most of the basics then have them passing and moving to new space because this will be more realistic.
2. Groups of 3 or 4 (at this point your team should be divided into three even groups, if these groups are large then use two balls per group to increase the repetitions) passing and moving in a large grid. Make all the groups do so in the same grid, this way they are moving among each other and must pass through openings and look around for their partners just as they would have to do in a game.
3. Now take one of your three groups and put them in bibs or colored jerseys and then combine the other two groups into one group. Now in that same large grid (approximately a third of field no larger than half field but be realistic to your numbers, give your players space but not too much) play keep away, the large group against the bibs. Their challenge is to string together five passes, or any number you choose -- keep it simple for success yet still a challenge -- without the colored bibs touching the ball to score a point. If the bibs get the ball they look to string three passes to score a point. Each group should rotate to being the team that is outnumbered by players as this group will get very tired.
4. Take this into a scrimmage. I like to divide the team in half and play with two "schemers". Schemers would be players who are not on either team specifically but are always on the team with the ball. This way the attacking team always has an advantage and it should help to maintain control of the ball and add up to increased passing opportunities.
With this simple practice, I think you will find that it is both realistic and fun for the kids. You should be able to maintain their attention and improve their technique. Until next time, Good Luck with the remainder of your season!
One of the most fundamental aspects to maintaining possession of the ball, is to have proper lines of support on the field. Even after such support is set up, we must be sure that our players use their support. Commonly, our players will receive the ball and immediately head forward with the ball to try and attack the goal. Sometimes the best way to attack the goal is by playing the ball back to maintain possession while other teammates get into a more forward, attacking position. The following practice is one that can be used with any age, I’ve used this with my U-10’s, in order to help develop the idea of giving support behind the ball and then using.
1. 15x20 yd. grid. 1v.1 in the middle of the grid with a support player (who is a partner of one of the middle players) at each end of the grid. The point of the game is to check-in and receive the ball from your partner while the opponent defends. Upon receiving you are trying to stop the ball on the opponents end line. If you cannot beat them 1v.1 you may play the back pass to create a 2v.1 situation. There are many coachable moments in this game for various types of support. If the attacking team loses possession of the ball one of the attackers must get off the field while the opponent may either counter-attack or drop the ball to his partner and build up the play.
2. Open up the grids some and play 2v.2 in the middle with one support player.
3. 4v.4 scrimmage with goalkeepers. Make your field and then take cones to put in a center or midfield line. Put the keepers in goal and with three defenders against one attacker in each half. No one can cross over the mid-line. The three defenders look to maintain possession in their own half while waiting for that opportunity to play the ball to their lone attacker in the other half. Upon doing so that attacker can either turn and go to goal (bad decision, it’s 1v.3) or lay the ball back for support. Upon dropping the ball back, both wing defenders may move into the attack to create a 3v. 3 in the attacking half (much better decision). There are many coachable moments to fix your lines of support in a game such as this.
4. Take it to a 4v. 4 game and see how they do.
It’s half field games like this that can help you to improve the use of support on your team. Remember the S.A.I.D. principle? Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demand, your players will adapt to the rules you put on them. Thus you can create a situation that will resemble exactly what you want to get accomplished.
Peter Stogsdill, SDSC Girls Director of Coaching