Some General Thoughts on Coaching Soccer
- Kids should never stand around, unless they are recovering. But any line of more than two or three is too big...too much time wasted. Design activities that minimize this. If you are going to do line-type drills (dribbling, passing, etc.) then there need to be multiple groups. Better yet, use activities that emphasize more than one skill. You could have a passing-shooting drill so that part of the group is passing to another kid that shoots, rather than having one passing drill and one shooting drill. More kids are involved at once.
- Static stretching is not a good thing. It weakens the muscles and can actually lead to injuries. We (kids and adults) do need to warmup properly though. This should involve light runs (preferably with the ball) and dynamic stretching, with increasing intensity.
- Don't focus on advanced skills until the kids are advanced. Our kids need to first focus on being comfortable with the ball. If they can't control it by themselves, they'll never link up with another teammate. However, once they achieve a certain level of comfort, then focus on a two person game with receiving and passing (always on the move, never standing). Build from there.
- Always try to replicate a game situation. For example, I hate watching coaches run "the weave drill" with a soccer ball. It never happens during a game and is a complete waste of time (well, I guess its better than Pokemon, but barely). No one ever moves like that in soccer. They do in basketball which is why basketball coaches do it, but not in soccer. Look at the level of the players and come up with something that is similar to movement on the soccer field. Practice takeovers, wall passes, overlapping runs...anything but the weave.
- Quicken things up. Its OK to break skills down and practice them slowly, but during a game things are done at game speed (quickly and on the move). If you only practice a skill slowly, players will only be able to perform it slowly.
- Don't just practice something once. Repeat it over, and over, and over... In fact, if kids are alternating, have them go twice in a row instead of taking turns. This way they have an opportunity to fix a problem immediately rather than later, after a second (or third) kid has gone.