Providing a quality soccer program to the youth of Northeastern Connecticut

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About your practices
Establishing a relationship with your team's parents
Communicating with the Players
Managing the schedule
Game Day

   About Your Practices

focus on high touch, very active practices

· change the drill or exercise at least every ten minutes

· scrimmage often – as much as a third of each practice · explain, demonstrate, observe

· use the “complement sandwich” to provide instruction

· start your practices before the season officially begins

· set specific developmental objectives for your season,  

   and each of your practices

 

focus on high touch, very active practices

Players at all ages want to be active: to move, to run, to touch the ball. Your practices should include many opportunities for your players to use the energy they’ve been saving up all week, and to have contact with the ball.

change the drill or exercise at least every ten minutes

Players, especially at the younger ages, can have a short attention span when it comes to learning new skills. Keep the training and development exercises quick and to the point, and then move on. Always have a few more ideas than you expect to use in practice; if one of the drills doesn’t work out, drop it and move to the next.

scrimmage often – as much as a third of each practice

Children at all ages want to have fun and play the game. Some of your practice time is allocated to building specific skills, but the children will be able to practice what they’ve learned while doing what they enjoy the most – playing the game.  Use small sided 3v3   scrimmages.

explain, demonstrate, observe

The best way to introduce a new skill is to explain the skill; demonstrate how it should be performed; and then observe how your players respond.

use the “complement sandwich” to provide instruction

To correct or direct your players, use a “complement sandwich” – the correction sandwiched between two positive statements, such as “that was a good shot, but you can get more control if you use more of your instep instead of the toe; try again and you’ll be even more accurate.”

start your practices before the season officially begins

Getting in a few practices before the first game will give you a chance to understand the abilities of each of your players, as well as begin to build a team spirit.

set specific developmental objectives for your season, and each of your practices

So much to review, so little time ! As the season begins, set specific developmental objectives for your players (e.g., being able to dribble equally well with both feet), and then plan your practices to develop those skills.

 

Establishing a relationship with your team's parents

 

· set strategic objectives with your parents

· collect all the Email addresses for your families

· encourage parents to stay and observe practice - not stop and drop

· explain specific training objectives with your parents – let them know what 

   you are trying to do

· encourage parents to work on the targeted skills with their children during

   the week

· recruit a Team Parent

· recruit an Assistant Coach

set strategic objectives with your parents

Tell your parents what your priorities are for the season. If your objectives are foremost to “have fun and let the kids learn about the game,” say so . If you believe that “technique precedes tactics,” tell your parents you will build the basic skills first and worry about game day strategy later. Also, remind your parents that they are responsible for having players to games and practices ON TIME with cleats, shin guards & water. Be sure your parents know what to expect from you, and what you expect from them.

collect all the Email addresses for your families

Make it easy for your parents to be in touch with you, and vice versa.

encourage parents to stay and observe practice - not stop and drop

Parental participation can make a lot of difference in your season. If they know the game and understand the skills you are trying to teach, it is much more likely they will give attention & encouragement to these skills at home. Likewise, your players will treat you with more respect during practices if they know their parents are interested and involved. Explain specific training objectives with your parents – let them know what you are trying to do

“Explain, demonstrate and observe” can apply to parents. If your parents understand the moves and the rules, they can help pull in the right direction.

encourage parents to work on the targeted skills with their children during the week

Once your parents understand your training objectives and the basic skills, you can stretch the benefit of your scrimmages by encouraging your players to get out in the front yard with a parent or sibling and practice .

recruit a Team Parent

A Team Parent can manage all the little details that make up a season – uniform pickup, the snack schedule, the end-of-season team picnic, the team outing. Recruit a dependable volunteer as Team Parent. recruit a Team Parent

A Team Parent can manage all the little details that make up a season – uniform pickup, the snack schedule, the end-of-season team picnic, the team outing. Recruit a dependable volunteer as Team Parent.

recruit an Assistant Coach

If at all possible, recruit at least one Assistant Coach to help you with practices. Find a parent willing to be out on the field and working with the players. You can cover twice as much ground with two coaches during a practice, and sooner or later you will need an emergency stand-in at a game you have to miss.

 


 

Communicating with the Players

Click on an item to learn more


  set basic rules – to listen, to be courteous, and to follow   

   instructions

· use basic and consistent terms of reference

· don’t ever wear sunglasses – make eye contact

· make the children responsible for the basics: water,

   shinguards, and a ball

· set basic rules – "no shinguards, no playing time" (and

   on hot days, "no water, no playing time")

· consider homework

set basic rules – to listen, to be courteous, to follow instructions

Be explicit in your expectations for player conduct. Practice is like school, or church, or any other organized activity: there are expected rules of behavior. Your players should have respect for you, other adult volunteers, and for each other. And just as important, be sure the players know what they can depend on from you: equal playing time; on-time, well organized practices; and attention to their specific needs.

use basic and consistent terms of reference

Soccer has a number of basic terms that the players should learn and that you should use. Your players should know the basic field markings (touch line, penalty area, etc); player positions (midfielder, keeper); and other special terms (restarts, screening, marking). You must be very concise and very clear to communicate effectively with your players in the heat of a game, and using terms consistently will help. In addition, repeated use of simple phrases for younger players will help them catch on to the basics of the game (“say no to the toe,” “safe and to the sides,” etc.).

don’t ever wear sunglasses – make eye contact

Always be sure your players can see your eyes. Wear a ball cap to keep the sun out of your eyes, but don’t wear dark sunglasses.

make the children responsible for the basics: water, shinguards, and a ball

Being on a team builds responsibility. Even your second-grade players can be responsible to arrive ready to play safely.

set basic safety rules – "no shinguards, no playing time" (and on hot days, "no water, no playing time")

Likewise, be clear with your players and your parents that your first priority is the safety of your team – and that playing without protective equipment is unsafe.

consider homework

Each child learns in a different way. In addition to providing instruction in practices, you may add a page or two of basic questions about soccer as a way for your players to see the game on paper as well as on the field. This can be a great way to better understand how well your players are really absorbing the rules of play – some of them may actually know more than they can demonstrate on the field.

 

 


 

Managing the schedule


· tell your parents to call you if they cannot attend a practice or a game

· explain that they need to be prompt to practices, and arrive at least [twenty] minutes before game time

· explain the rainout rules set by NECONN

tell your parents to call in if they cannot attend a practice or a game

Game schedules are hard enough to manage without discovering at game time that your first period Keeper is on vacation in Florida. Be sure that your parents keep you informed so you know how many children will attend your practices and games – especially if they catch a cold or flu the day before. E xplain that they need to be prompt to practices, and arrive at least [twenty] minutes before game time.   “So much to cover, so little time.” It is frustrating to arrange your practice to begin with a scrimmage, only to see half your players drift in five or ten minutes late. Practice is like class – it needs to start on time, with everyone ready to participate. Likewise, games need to start promptly, with all your players “present and accounted for,” warmed up, and aware of their positions and your game plan.

explain the rainout rules set by NECONN

Some parents, especially those with younger players, will be concerned about practicing or playing in the rain. Be sure to set and explain your own age-appropriate standards, as well as the general rainout rules set by NECONN to protect the fields from damage.

 

Game Day

plan a drill for the players’ pre-game warm-up

· introduce yourself to the referee and confirm that he   

   is aware of any modified rules set for your age

   group by NECONN

· introduce yourself to the other coach

· plan in advance which player will play which   

   position by period

· observe game day etiquette

· coach the game

plan a drill for the players to follow for a pre-game warm-up (jog, then shots on goal, etc) to keep them focused

Your players should arrive on game day about twenty minutes before game time. This gives you the opportunity to warm them up prior to play (and also to count heads to be sure you have a full team !). If you are lucky enough to have all your players arrive on time, be prepared: (i) have a warm-up exercise that you can use on the sidelines (you won’t have much space); (ii) tell everyone their first-period positions; and (iii) get out on the field to practice shots on goal and passing as soon as the previous game has ended and their players are off the field.

introduce yourself to the referee

While your assistant coach is warming up your team, go out to the referee and introduce yourself. In any case, showing respect for the referee through a pre-game handshake is a very important example to set for your players.

walk over and introduce yourself to the other coach

At the same time, introduce yourself to your fellow coach on the other side of the field. This is another opportunity to demonstrate good sportsmanship, and also to work out any mutually-agreeable modifications to the rules (for example, more frequent substitution on exceptionally hot days). (If you agree to any changes, be sure to ask the referee !)

plan in advance which player will play which position by period

Arrive on game day with a clear plan of who plays what position in which period. Explaining the positions to young players can be very chaotic, so be prepared and know your own plan before they all rush you with requests to play midfielder. Also, leave with good notes at the end of the day, so you can look back over previous games to determine if your players are all being exposed to different positions.

observe game day etiquette

Always refer to the referee as “Ma'am” or “Mister Referee” during the game, and never argue openly with the ref; teach your players not to taunt the other team (or each other); be positive; and keep all your players and parents at least a yard clear of the touch line.

coach the game

Game day is the best opportunity you will ever get to coach your players, but you have to be able to do many things at once. The most important is to make sure they are having fun. GAME DAY is not the time to "instruct" but rather observe what your players have learned. Be positive and encouraging no matter the outcome.