Coach, you are the voice of authority. You are the fountain of knowledge. You are the presenter of facts pertaining to the play of soccer……even if you have to fake it for a while.
I play odds. If you watch enough soccer, especially at the younger ages you see reoccurring themes of play. Passes go similar distances and in predictable areas, players move in sequences, behavior can be forecast within age groups and game situations. Use these to your advantage. Build team strategy around them and incorporate this into your practices.
Here’s an example…… At u8, when we start having a ‘goal box’ marked on the field I started coaching that on a corner we must have one player covering ‘The Spot’.
The Spot is the area off the near post about 8 yards at u8 and midway between the six and eighteen at u10-14. Above u14 it moves out further and becomes less relevant because of the power of the players.
At u8 and very much so at u10, u12 & even u14 you’ll notices that this area, The Spot, is where the ball will end up during a corner kick. It will bounce into, roll through or in some way travel to this area about 80% of the time.
When practicing corner kicks, whether defending or attacking coach that one player must cover this area. Tell them the statistics….80% of the time the ball will be in this area.
Where does this statistic come from? My observation. I made it up.
Unlike the stats given in Trap – Pass – Move dealing with the French League 1 study (that’s all true) this 80% is totally made up. But I believe it. Just watch a youth soccer match and see if it’s not true, or close to it. But it doesn’t matter, nobody is going to run a study during the season documenting whether 80% of corners end up in that area. All that has to happen is for the ball to be there once for you to become an authority! And it will, over and over and over.
At u14 and above the area 30-40 yards out directly in front of the goal becomes an important space. Make sure a defender is covering this area, preferably one who can shoot from that range.
What is important is that you as a Coach must be the authority on the field. You must dictate practice, system, play and give your players information. Why you run a specific drill is important to the players. Telling them What they will be doing and Why…how it will help them improve…will make your coaching experience more enjoyable and their playing experience more fun.
Isn’t this being dishonest? Won’t they loose respect when they find out?
You’re not telling them farfetched stories. You’re giving them observed data from personal experience, yours, mine, other coaches….. The key is to give reasons why you train in a certain way. Why you want an area covered. Why you want your defense to play high and not stand back inside the 18 chatting with the keeper.
The WHY behind your training will help your practices run much smother.
You need to discover whys on your own. Spend time researching soccer. An hour a week, 8-10 hours per season will give you enough information to sprinkle around to have your players in awe of you.
You may start off the season using only what you learned in Trap – Pass – Move but by the end of the season, with just a little work, you will become a why machine and a true coach.
If you are new to coaching Trap – Pass – Move was written for you. It contains information that you will find helpful including mental development of youth players, drills, systems and the whys behind them. It’s short with little fluff, just down to earth soccer coaching information that helped make our teams very good.