soccer-SOCCER_DRILLS by yvtong

VIEWS: 6 PAGES: 26

									                                                               SOCCER DRILLS
Principles of Play ........................................................................................................................................... 2

Relays With and Without the Ball................................................................................................................. 4

North South East West.................................................................................................................................. 5

Progressing Practices .................................................................................................................................... 6

Relays With and Without the Ball................................................................................................................. 8

Shadow Play .................................................................................................................................................. 9

Soccer Windows..........................................................................................................................................12

Spinning Wheel ........................................................................................................................................... 13

Square Dance ..............................................................................................................................................14

Steve Kindel's Non-Stop 2 vs. 2...................................................................................................................16

Super 8's......................................................................................................................................................17

Sweeper/Man-Marking & Zonal Defending Systems..................................................................................18

The Man Marking Game .............................................................................................................................20

The Zone Game ...........................................................................................................................................21

Through the Cones......................................................................................................................................22

Two's Company, Three's a Team ................................................................................................................23

Don’t be a Cone Head .................................................................................................................................25




                                                                           Page 1
Principles of Play
This month with Steve Spence setting the scene on Principles of Play with his "systems" article and with our previous
"Principles" article (Newsletter April 2007 ) our practices will highlight and help develop these very important components
of team play.


For our younger players 3v3 including a goalkeeper - our Micro Soccer® game - is a great place to start. Just make sure
you have an "equal time in goal" rule for all players.




The great advantage of having a goalkeeper, apart from introducing young players to this vital and fun part of soccer, is that
the keeper becomes the rear supporting player (Depth and Support in Defence). At the youngest ages the concept of
defensive support is a difficult one to grasp.


However, when they are ready (8 or 9 years of age) in practice play 3 v 3 without a goalkeeper - with narrower goals.




Now the understanding of the principles becomes more difficult - especially if players are moving around (interchange of
positions - Mobility). So 3v3 without a goalkeeper is great for teens and adults. In addition to developing and reinforcing the
principles, the 3v3 game if played competitively is a good one for conditioning.


The last practice game is 4v4 without a goalkeeper (or with a keeper with younger players). The attacking shape for much
of the time is the diamond and it allows for the full attacking principles - including in particular "Width" on both sides of the


                                                             Page 2
field, something that couldn't or at least shouldn't, happen in 3v3 play otherwise the "shape" will be wrong




                                                   The Principles of Play


                                           ATTACK                        DEFENCE
                                   Penetration                 Delay
                                   Support                     Support
                                   Width                       Concentration (Compaction)
                                   Mobility                    Balance
                                   Improvisation/Creativity    Discipline/Patience




                                                              Page 3
Relays With and Without the Ball
Players young and old always enjoy the challenge and fun of relays. It is an old standby, but it works. While
winning and losing should be downplayed most children enjoy a relay challenge, but make sure the “winning”
aspect is not overdone at the younger ages.




          Use a variety of relays.
          Give a point for each success. For a tie or close to a tie – a point each.
          Team scores are what counts. Make sure you keep the score or get your assistant (or parent) to keep the score.
          Try to keep numbers per relay group to two or three (maximum) – for greater activity.
          Dream up any number of relays – in and out of cones; in and out of players sitting down; 360 degrees around a
cone; race to place ball on line, touch the next player and they have to retrieve it, etc., etc., etc. There is no limit to the
various relays you can come up with.




                                                            Page 4
North South East West
Objective:


          Fun warm-up giving direction and urgency to dribbling activity.
          A progression on the Square Dance theme.




Organization:


          Mark a square approximately 15 yards by 15 yards, depending on numbers.
          Four goals are put in about three paces in width on each line.
          This practice can be a progression from the Square Dance and that is where you might start.
          At first, only use the North and South goals so as not to confuse the children.
          On the shout "North!" every player must dribble through the North goal and then make their way around the
outside of the field to come back in through the South goal.
          Once they become comfortable with North and South then introduce East and West. If they go through the East
goal they must make their way around to re-enter through West goal and vice-versa.
          As the children get used to the game, the coach can fool the kids, by pointing South and shouting "North!" or by
running towards the East goal and shouting "West!"
          Or "North & South" or "North & West" to give them options.

Teaching:


          Encourage the children to be alert and alive and to react quickly to the shout.
          Try to be the first through the goal.
          Keep ball under close control.

Target:


          If not near the goal that is designated, try to get past at least one player so as not to be last.




                                                              Page 5
Progressing Practices
In the modern game the expression "age- and developmentally -appropriate" is often used - and so it should. We should
structure practices that are suitable to the abilities of the players.


So if we take the great and exciting situation of cross ball circumstances it's pretty obvious we would have difficulty in
cultivating the appropriate skills in say, 7-year olds. Understandably, their perspective of the game is vertical and not
lateral.


"Let's get the ball forward and in the net!"


Why would they go the long route to score?


If you look at our 4 vs. 4 game with goalkeepers and neutral "windows" this will help the process of thinking about playing
the ball wide.


Here is the set up for Fab Fours with Windows.




         Game is played in area 25 x 35 yards
         Goals are 4 yards wide and 5 feet high (corner flag height)
         3 teams of four players
         Goalkeeper may use hands only within six-yard area.
         Rotate goalkeepers on an equal-time basis.
         The "windows" on the outside of the field play with the team in possession.
         The "windows" come on to the field when a goal is scored or at the discretion of the coach - of no goals are scored.
         It is in the interests of the "windows" to help score a goal as they then come on to the field at the expense ofthe
team that is scored on.
         Therefore encourage the "windows" to play low balls from the outside to the central area in front of the goals - the
beginnings of the cross ball.




So the first practice could be used as early as 7 years of age and moderated and progressed through their years.


In the next practice, the Medium Mixed Bag, we are moving into more "formal" attacks from the flanks with a neutral crosser
or two on each outside channel. 2 strikers vs. one defender and a goalkeeper produce the classic near and far post runs.




                                                            Page 6
This practice would be suitable for players from age 9 or 10 and can once more be progressed in terms of numbers and
difficulties from there on in. At this age it would be important to rotate the players so that most, if not all, get experience in
different roles and situations.


Finally after developing the Medium Mixed Bag in field size and numbers we could arrive at the "full" Mixed Bag that we've
shown in an earlier newsletter.


The Mixed Bag practice can be modified and progressed in many ways - including the introduction of 2 vs. 1 in the
channels. This is the "stuff" of the game - crossing, shooting, headed clearances, great saves. If players don't enjoy this
they shouldn't be playing.




                                                              Page 7
Relays With and Without the Ball
Players young and old always enjoy the challenge and fun of relays. It is an old standby, but it works. While
winning and losing should be downplayed most children enjoy a relay challenge, but make sure the “winning”
aspect is not overdone at the younger ages.




          Use a variety of relays.
          Give a point for each success. For a tie or close to a tie – a point each.
          Team scores are what counts. Make sure you keep the score or get your assistant (or parent) to keep the score.
          Try to keep numbers per relay group to two or three (maximum) – for greater activity.
          Dream up any number of relays – in and out of cones; in and out of players sitting down; 360 degrees around a
cone; race to place ball on line, touch the next player and they have to retrieve it, etc., etc., etc. There is no limit to the
various relays you can come up with.




                                                            Page 8
Shadow Play
Shaping the team into a cohesive unit is probably a coach's biggest challenge. There are a number of ways of
doing that. In this month's practice section for the older players we look at Shadow Play.


                                                     Shadow Play

Former Liverpool coach Ronnie Moran, once said, with a twinkle in his eye: "They ruined the game of soccer when they
introduced opposition. Until then it was easy."


No doubt about it. Opponents have a nasty habit of upsetting the game plan.


Although opponents are a necessary fact of life in soccer, there is still a good case for practicing patterns of team play
without opposition. The method is called Shadow Play.


Shadow Play in its purist form is 11 vs. 1. The "1" is the opposing goalkeeper. Patterns of play are developed on the field
so that players can begin to appreciate the types of passes to make, the positions to take up and the timing of runs to
coincide with the passes (and cross balls) in order to produce a successful attack.


The absence of opposition allows the practice to flow and the patterns of play to become understood and established. Great
care must be taken to avoid unrealistic play which would break down in an opponent's presence. Bad habits established in
practice will be punished later in 11 vs. 11 play. The players ─ and in particular the coach ─ must use their imagination to
appreciate what will work in a true game circumstance, and what will not.


We have a comprehensive section on Shadow Play both in the manual Coaching the Team and on the Byte Size Coaching
website (www.bytesizecoaching.com ), but for the purposes of this newsletter we will summarize Shadow Play as
succinctly as we can. Nevertheless, we would highly recommend this methodology for developing your System of Play -
with certain provisos.


Let us first look at the illustration below to see how Shadow Play is organized and how it operates.


Starting Organization


         Two goalkeepers are in opposite goals with a supply of balls in each goal net.
         The goalkeeper of the 11-a-side team starts with a ball in his hand.
         The field players deploy themselves for a kick or throw from the goalkeeper.
         The coach can direct the goalkeeper to kick or to throw. For practice purposes it is better to throw more often than
kick.




                                                            Page 9
Play has begun with a throw from the goalkeeper to the left side defender.


The player with the ball, as depicted in the illustration above, has several options - depending on the way you want your
team to play:


Play with the ball wide to the flank player - 1


Play the ball forward into the feet of the first front striker - 2


Play a lofted ball over the top of the opposition into the attacking space for a second striker making a run from a center field
position - 3


Play a pass inside to the supporting midfield player ─ who can then set up a pass to either the wide player or the front
players - 4


On the instruction of the coach, the ball can be played backwards or returned to the goalkeeper ─ as it might be in a game if
the other options are closed off ─ for the back player or goalkeeper to start again ─ with a pass to the opposite side - 5


Play continues in a realistic way until a strike on goal ends with a goal, or the ball goes out of play ─ or the opposing
goalkeeper secures the ball.


Sometimes the ball goes over the sidelines through a misplaced pass. Play should be re-started with a throw-in or free kick
pass-in.


This is the basic method of Shadow Play. However, there are many developments which will add interest and life to this
practice method. We have covered those in detail in the book and on the website.


For instance, with a squad of 15 or sixteen players, you would not want 3 or 4 of the "bench" players standing on the
sideline. As soon as possible the practice could include the other players so it becomes Semi-Shadow, e.g., 11 vs. 5. And
the so-called bench players could change positions with the starters so that they understood their roles when coming on the
field as a substitute or replacing a former starter.


As well, on the website and in the book, we suggest ways of getting from one end of the field - after an attack - to the other
with various methods that add interest to the practice. And we give advice on ways to avoid the practice becoming
monotonous.


We know from personal experience just how valuable Shadow Play can be in establishing and further developing a System
of Play, but we also know that players need to be motivated and enthused to ensure they enjoy the practice in a positive
way.


Without some form of Shadow Play (other than playing 11 vs. 11 practice games), it is extremely difficult for a team to get a

                                                                Page 10
realistic appreciation of team play ─ the combination plays; the different runs, the quality of the passes and crosses and the
distances involved in passing and supporting. In the heat of a game - even a practice game - with the spoiling tactics of the
opposition, the strategy you are seeking to implement has less of an opportunity of being "patterned." Time and experience
─ trial and error over an extended period of time ─ may help establish a team pattern.


But how many coaches (and players) can wait 10 years?




                                                          Page 11
Soccer Windows
This month we add a variation that can be used in a lot of possession and shooting games with large groups by including
"Windows."


In the graphic we are showing a group of 10, but it could easily be more (as many as 16 - 18).




In the example we are showing we have a 2 vs. 2 possession game. The object is to get as many consecutive passes by
using the "windows" on the outside. In this example the square is approximately 15 yds. x 15 yds.


Here are some of the variations using the "windows" principle.


    1.   Pass to an outside window counts one.
    2.   Pass to teammate inside the square counts double.
    3.   Can pass to anyone outside the square or can only play to own teammate outside the square - notice in the
         graphic we have a white-shirted group and a black-shirted group, but opponents outside the square are not
         allowed to challenge each other.
    4.   Players on the outside can move along the line to make a better supporting angle to receive the ball.
    5.   Could make it two-touch for outside players.
    6.   Possibilities are 3 vs. 3, 4 vs. 4, etc., but will need to adjust the size of the field to the ages and abilities of the
         players.




                                                             Page 12
Spinning Wheel
Objectives:


         To develop the techniques of turning with the ball when back is to the goal to improve accuracy and weighting of
the pass. Can be used as a Warm-Up activity.




Organization:


          Set up several areas, having groups of three players as shown.
          Each playing area is 20 yards long and 5 yards wide and sectioned into three. Two end 5 yard square boxes and
one 10 x 5 yards center box.
          Play starts at one end. Ball is played to middle player, who turns with ball and plays it to teammate at other end.
          End player may control ball or play it first time back to middle player, who turns and plays it to third player with no
more than two touches.
          All players must play ball from within their respective boxes.
          Teams count each time the ball is played across, but does not count if the ball goes over sidelines, or if it is not
played from within the respective boxes.
          Winning team is one with most successful crosses in one minute (stop watch out!)
          Change middle player with one of the end players and repeat game.

NOTE: A key to success is the middle player's ability to turn quickly.


Teaching:


          At first do not make it a competition so they can practice and experiment.
          Condition it for some time; turning with inside of the foot; or outside of the foot.
          When competition starts - turn any way; turn using inside foot only; outside of foot only ─ at the direction of the
coach.

Challenge:


          To be the King (or Queen) Box.




                                                            Page 13
Square Dance
Objective


To start practice in a lively way with a fun warm-up that introduces and develops the fundamentals of dribbling. See the
article from Andy Donahue - Games, Games, Games!




Organization


          Mark a square approximately 15 yards by 15 yards, depending on numbers.
          Each player should have a ball.
          If not, use the "Change Soccer" principle: half the players inside the square, each with a ball, the remaining half
outside the square, without a ball. Trade places when coach shouts "Change!"
          Three instructions are given to the players inside the square:
"STOP" Put foot on top of ball quickly and freeze like a statue.
"GO" Move right or left with the ball, fast, for three or four yards.
"TURN" Quickly turn 180 degrees with the ball, moving three or four yards.



Teaching Points


           Encourage players to keep the ball close to their feet.
           Occasionally insist on using left foot only or right foot only. Encourage players to keep their heads up while
playing.
           See how many different ways they can turn with the ball.
           To avoid giving players too much information at once, introduce instructions one at a time and incorporate
practice time between.
           Later, incorporate your own ideas.



Target


           Stay in the area with the ball.
           No contact with other players or with other balls.



Progressions


With this basic setup any number of variations and activities/challenges can be introduced. Just see what Andy Donahue
has come up with his "Games, Games, Games."




                                                            Page 14
Side Kicks
Objectives


          Practice for field players in clinical finishing; to develop goalkeeper understanding and decision making involved in
attacks from the sides of the goal.




Organization


         Set out the penalty box as shown in the illustration. The practice starts from one side and is later changed to the
other.
           Initially the "side kick" can be served in by the coach, later by the players.
           The keeper must start at the near post area. If the keeper anticipates the cross, then shots/goals are permitted at
goal in the open near post.
           The squad should be split into two teams - one shooting while the other fields. The challenge is between the two
teams. How many can they score from 20 shots.
           The goalkeepers have their own challenge - to keep the success rate on scoring under 50%; or they split - one with
one team and one with the other.
           It is important that the placement of the cones is such that the cone nearest the goal line for the "side kick" is
sufficiently close to the end line to make the cross a "pull-back."
           When players are crossing themsleves place a cone or marker disk three yards or so out from the near post and
decree that they must play the cross outside the cone not inside (stops simple passes to the far post).

Coaching Points


          Goalkeepers must defend the near post first and foremost.
          Encourage keepers to position marginally in front of the near post - so they won't push a high shot into the top of
the net, nor crash into the post. May consider inside hand extended sideways and backwards to touch the post.
          After forcing the cross by holding position, the keeper can cut out the cross ball - or, more likely, move across the
goal to defend the impending shot. As the ball is played across the goal, the keeper must move towards the far post fast,
and attempt to "set" just before the shot.
          A delay in the shot, may allow the keeper to advance a step or two to cut down the angle.
          Praise each keeper for every effort and success (may not be many to start with!).
          Field players have to time their runs or they will get ahead of the ball.
          Clinical side of the foot finishing to the near and far post - depending on the GK position.
          Avoid running around the ball with a cross from the left to get onto good (right) foot and vice-versa.




                                                           Page 15
Steve Kindel's Non-Stop 2 vs. 2
 Objective


           A fast-paced game teaching cooperative attacking and defending.




 Organization


           Ideal number is 6 vs. 6
           6 Reds, 6 Blues split into 3 pair of Blues, 3 pair of Reds.
           2 vs. 2 in the square. One team defending one goal and the other team the opposite goal.
           Players not in the square spread around the outside.
           Game never stops.
           When a goal is scored or the ball goes out of play, one of the players off the field gets to the ball first (Coach is
 referee and shouts whose ball it is - "Red Ball!" and that player cannot be challenged by the opposing players outside the
 field.
           The player with the ball outside the field dribbles to the edge of the field and plays the ball into the square to
 one of his/her teammates.
           Coach shouts, "Change!" every minute or so and the next two opposing pairs outside (given their order - 1, 2 3)
 immediately go into the game with the others coming out.

 Teaching Points


           2 vs. 2 encourages good cooperative attacking and defending.
           Players outside the field must read the game to put them in the best positions to be first to the ball when a goal
 is scored or played outside the playing field.
           Player outside the field with the ball must make a good pass into the open player(s).
           Players inside the square must find space to receive the ball from outside the area or deny space to the
 attackers when on the defence.

 Progression


           Build into 3 vs. 3, but make area larger.




                                                         Page 16
   Target


   For one team to score more than the other.


Super 8's
Objectives


          With a squad of 14 - 18 players, to produce a fast-changing game with most of the critical decision-making
ingredients of 11-a-side play, including off-side.




Organization


         Set up a line and regulation-sized goal 18 yards beyond center line.
         Mark in two 25-yard lines with coaching disks ─ if available use corner flags to emphasize 25-yard lines.
         If available use two people ─ assistant coaches, parents ─ to act as linesmen, stationed on opposite sides of field
to coach at the 25-yard lines (with flag or handkerchief).
         Normal rules of soccer, except that each team can only be offside beyond attacking 25-yard line.
         Consider narrowing field by 5 to 10 yards on each side if field is very wide, e.g., over 70-yards.
         Juggle the numbers according to the number of players you have, e.g., with 14 players play Super 7's, with 18 it
could be Super 9's.

Coaching Points


         Encourage goalkeepers and rear defenders to "utilize" offside to keep opponents away from goal.
         You have the alternative of free play (no set positions) or a system of play (will depend on your objectives).
         If setting a system, replicate your 11-a-side system 3-3-1 (if 4-4-2), 3-2-2 (if 4-3-3), 2-3-2 (if 3-4-3).
         Encourage awareness, attacking support, width and defensive cover.
         Encourage goalkeepers to help "organize" the team.

Challenge


         To outscore the opposition.




                                                          Page 17
Sweeper/Man-Marking & Zonal Defending Systems
At Bloomsburg University last week, as part of the NSCAA Advanced National Course, George Perry, one of our senior
instructors, and I did an on-field presentation of the Sweeper/Man-Marking system and the Zonal Defending system.

I asked the candidates how many use a Sweeper/Man-Marking system. Out of over 50 coaches only 3 hands went up. 10
years ago it would have been a majority (of American coaches).

Things really began to change after the success of Brazil in the 1994 World Cup Finals held in the United States when in
winning it all, Brazil showed themselves to be not only the best attacking them in the competition, but also the best defensive
team - using a zonal system.


We are not saying there is any "best" system. The only thing we would say is that every good team uses Pressure, Cover
and Balance considerations when defending.


So our two practices are ones that will help young players and teenagers learn about "zonal" play - Pressure, Cover,
Balance - by just playing. No need to stop them and coach.


Practices for Younger Players:




            Micro Soccer®


Rotating, equal time goalkeepers give the small team "Balance" and helps the 6- and 7-year olds understand the "zonal"
roles. Strict man-marking would not be an advantage here.




           3 vs. 3 - no goalkeeper


Absence of a goalkeeper - permanent rear defender - in the above 3 vs. 3 game means that the triangle of attack and
                                                          Page 18
defence will be more difficult and confusing for 6- & 7- year olds, but good for 8-year olds and above.




             Fab Fours - 4 vs. 4 including a rotating goalkeeper




             4 vs. 4 without a goalkeeper


 As numbers increase so do the difficulties - particularly for the players "away from the ball," but these are the correct
progressions.


Practice for Teenagers

Phase of Play (Attack vs. Defence)




In the Phase of Play-type practice with counter goals (or spaces) play the defending team with even numbers or with one
player less than the attackers to force them to defend zonally, e.g., 6 attackers vs. 6 Defenders plus a goalkeeper, or 7
Attackers vs. 6 Defenders and a goalkeeper.




                                                            Page 19
The Man Marking Game
Objectives


         To establish both the individual and team discipline required for successful defending; to establish good 1 vs. 1
defending habits; to practice reading the game (Sweeper Role); to encourage attackers to "elude" tight marking. Even if
your team uses Zonal Marking, man-marking will be needed in certain situations.




Organization


           Field size according to numbers and ages (approximately 65 x 45 yards) with halfway line.
           Goals/poles are set up (4 yards wide).
           Squad is split up evenly (e.g., 6 vs. 6).
           Every player is assigned "Partner Opponent" from opposing team.
           One "pair" split to become the sweepers ─ "sweepers" are changed every three minutes.
           Each player can only mark and challenge his assigned opponent.
           The sweeper can challenge anyone.
           No one can challenge the sweeper.
           "Sweepers" are restricted to their own half of the field, and are limited to "two touches" maximum on each ball
contact.
           Interceptions (not challenges/tackles) are permitted by anyone.
           No one is allowed to handle the ball.
           Don't go for much more than 12-15 minutes with this activity.

Coaching Points


          Show players how to challenge their opponent without "diving in" and being left trailing.
          Make each player aware of "opponent" at all times.
          When the attack breaks down have former "attacker" react immediately by attempting to recover to defending
position "goal-side" of opponent.
          Carefully select the "match-ups" ─ two "lazy" players may come to an "agreement."
          Encourage players to get forward to score.
          Encourage player caught "wrong side" to get back if a teammate loses the ball ─ but don't criticize them if they are
caught out when trying to make a positive forward run.
          Position "sweeper" to block an attack or to be available for a back pass from own team.

Challenge


           To outsmart your individual marking opponent both in attack and defence; as a team, to outscore the opposition.



                                                           Page 20
The Zone Game
This simple small-sided game is anything but. With the players having to attack a zone rather than a goal, good passing,
decision-making, dribbling and postional play are all required. In defence, only zonal defending will save the day . This
game is most suitable for players 12-18 years old.


Zone Game


Objective:


          To develop combined offensive and defensive play in a 4 vs. 4 game. To encourage attacking players to get on the
"blindside" of the defense to receive a pass.




Organization:


          Area 35 x 25 yards, with additional five-yard zones at each end.
          Normal 4 vs. 4 - but the only way to score is by "touch down" of ball with foot in end zone. If ball goes out of play
over end zone line or at side of end zone, defending team re-starts game with "goal kick" or "dribble-in" from end line.
          If ball goes out over side line (not including end zone) play is re-started by "pass-in" (or throw-in if coach prefers).
          Condition game to disallow any slide tackling.
          As a progression put player(s) outside of each side-line as "windows" who can be used as another outlet for the
attacking team.

Teaching:


         The only way to score is by dribbling or passing into end zone - both methods should be encouraged.
         Players attempting to score should screen ball from opponent as he or she "touches down" - to protect both ball
and player.
          Attacking player "off-the-ball" should try to steal into an attacking space on the "blindside" of the defence.
         Defending team must work collectively to stop "dribbler," and at same time avoid being "blindsided" by pass.
         Defending team needs to "Zone" (Pressure, Cover, Balance).
Encourage defenders to be come very aware of all attackers and their changing positions.

Target:


          To outscore opposition.




                                                             Page 21
Through the Cones
Similar to knock the cones down, but this challenge requires a more measured and not so heavily weighted pass




Variations/Progressions


         Wider cones for younger players, smaller for older players.
         Short distances for younger players, longer for older players.
         Left foot only (for righties), right foot only for lefties.
         Moving ball - two touch - alternate each time. Touch with left, pass with right. Touch with right, pass with left.

The Challenge


         With young players how many can we score between us with 20 passes? Then can we beat the record?
         With older players, all out war! Who can be the first to score 10 (etc.)?




                                                          Page 22
Two's Company, Three's a Team
Making the game Kid Sized is a BGO - a Blinding Glimpse of the Obvious. One has to wonder why it has taken so long for
people to accept that. So should it be 3 vs. 3 with a goalkeeper, 3 vs. 3 without a keeper, or should it be 4 vs. 4 with or
without a goalkeeper?


The answer is...Yes!


Any of the above.


My strong recommendation is to start with 3 vs. 3. I'll come to the goalkeeper bit in a moment.


Three players can (and should) form the soccer triangle - the basic support unit of the game. 4 vs. 4 is not just one step up.
It is several steps up. 4 vs. 4 gives the opportunity of exploiting the diamond of soccer. But try telling a 6-year old that he
should go away from the ball to create space for others. Or to make a 3rd Man Run. You what? Or to re-adjust the diamond
and its four potential soccer triangles?


Hey! Some pros don't get all of that.


A goalkeeper? I've been to 82 countries in this world - courtesy of soccer. I played street soccer as a kid every opportunity I
got.


Whenever I see kids playing soccer on their own (without the interference of adults) I have yet to witness a 3-a-side, 4-a-
side, 5-a-side game without goalkeepers - with most player eagerly awaiting their turn in goal. "Three Goals In" was one of
our games as a kid. Score three goals and you earned the right to go in goal!


Anyway, suffice to say that 3-a-side or 4-a-side soccer with or without a goalkeeper is great Team Play for our younger
players.


                                                  Micro Soccer®

Objective


         To give each player plenty of opportunities to kick the ball in a 3 vs. 3 game, and to gain a fundamental
understanding of the game of soccer.




                                                          Page 23
Organization


          Field size 20 x 30 yards.
          Six-yard "boxes," marked by cones or lines, within which each designated goalkeeper may handle.
          Center line marked by cones/lines.
          Each player takes a turn in goal for three minutes maximum.
          When ball goes out of play, game is restarted by:
Sideline - throw-in (or kick-in)
End line - goal kick or corner kick, depending on which player last touched ball.
          After a goal, re-start goal kick from 6 yard line. Opponents must retreat a minimum of 5 yards (same with a kick-
in).
          In practice with numbers greater than six, either have two 3 vs. 3, or if less than 12, have separate practice
operating and rotate players in and out of the 3 vs. 3 game.

Coaching Points


           Encourage at least one player to go fully wide on goal kicks or when goalkeeper has ball in hands.
           Encourage goalkeeper to move off line to support attacks or to intercept through balls.
           Encourage players to pass, dribble and communicate with each other.
           On throw-ins, encourage non-throwing attacker to look for a forward shooting chance - and not to go too close to
thrower.
         When comfortable with the game, add the "Bobby Howe Rule" that stipulates that a goal for the attacking team
only counts if their goalkeeper is in advance of the 6 yard goal box - thus giving rear support.

Challenge


           To outscore opposition.




                                                          Page 24
Don’t be a Cone Head
In our practice section this month we are going to make a little change of direction. Instead of a practice for the team we will
look at players practicing on their own away from the team practice.


During the next year or so, every so often we will put in a "game" that young players can play on their own or with a friend or
two.


Here in the United States and Canada, as the game has become "mainstream," you can see more and more kids playing
pick up soccer or simply having soccer fun with a ball. It means that soccer has gone up a notch or two as the team practice
on its own will never be enough.


Coaches are welcome to print out these practices and pass them on to their players with the encouragement to get some
practice in. Maybe a coach can organize the individual and pairs practices suggested at a team practice to "test" them in
order to see their improvement. That in itself should provide a little motivation for players to do some "homework."


                                                     Don't be a Cone Head




Organization:


           Place a cone or water bottle on a marked center spot and then each player moves away the same distance -
marked by a disk or some kind of line.
           The idea is to knock the cone down (2 points) or it if touches the cones, but the cone stays up (1 point). First to 10
points is the winner.
           If there are three of you, take it in turns after each 10 point win and keep going with equal time opportunities (turns)
until one player scores 30.
           On you own, do the same thing, but have a back stop of a wall - or something to avoid having to chase after the
ball too much. Set you own target. How many points from 10 passes?

Variation and Progressions:


          Start with a static ball.
          Then it must be a moving ball - touched to one side with the right and passed with the left and vice versa.
          Have a "weak'" foot only competition (left foot most often).
          Move further away to increase the difficulty.
          So a 6-year old might start 3- or 4-yards from the cone, while a 16-year old could be 10-yards away. Later, a 16-
year old might want to move 15-yards away and low drive (kicking with the laces) their pass/shot as they would when
shooting for goal.




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