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Soccer Coach’s Preparation for Practice Session

To be optimally prepared for your soccer practice takes, …well,  practice.

Set up ALL your drill grids/cones before the practice starts so that no time is wasted between drills. Sometimes the movement or addition of a few cones in a few seconds gets the next drill ready Spend no more than 30 seconds (60 seconds for very young children) explaining/demonstrating the drill and then step outside the drill grid to observe. The coach needs to really rehearse and be mentally ready to be this efficient and effective. When a correction is necessary, stop the drill and in 30 seconds explain what went wrong and how to fix it. Then step out again. “Teaching/talking” time should be no more than 60-90 seconds per 15 minute drill. Our soccer drill pages that go with each practice plan give you helpful tips on how to modify practices and what to do when the drill isn’t going as planned. Be ready to adjust your drill on the fly. Think through and perhaps use one of the techniques we teach: Visualization.

Break each exercise into as small a group as possible, each group running the same drill. My favourite example is shooting drills. I still see 11 kids line up in front of a goal for shots. In 10 minutes every child is lucky to get three shooting (ball touches) opportunities. That’s boring and ineffective. Instead I suggest setting up 4 goals with three kids each. One in goal (you find new goalies and train existing ones) and two take shots. Have a volunteer behind each goal to retrieve the ball and throw it back to the shooter (needs to control ball and dribble it to starting point – more touches). While the first shooter gets their ball back and gets ready, the second player shoots. Then rotate the goalie after two shots each. Everyone is busy all the time. There are variations so shooters sprint (fitness training) to retrieve their ball and dribble (skill, more touches) it back to get ready.
Have a good practice,

Coach Tom

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