Sam’s Blog will be a weekly addition to the US Youth Soccer Blog. Sam is the Director of Coaching Education for US Youth Soccer
I’ve just finished teaching some sessions for U10 coaches at the coaching symposium of the PA West state association. Joining me at the symposium were Paul Halford, PA West Director of Coaching; Jeff Pill, U. S. Soccer National Staff Coach; Glen Buckley, Director of Coaching for New York West and Chris Hershey, US Youth Soccer ODP Girls Region I Goalkeeper Coach. During one of the presentations a coach asked how we can teach ball skills in game-like activities. Do not the players need the repetition for muscle memory that they get in drills?
Indeed many, many repetitions are part of learning a ball skill. However, given the dynamic nature of soccer ball skills need to be rehearsed in a dynamic and random way. Drills tend to be static, not dynamic and the technique execution tends to be blocked not random. A certain amount of trial and error is necessary in learning soccer skills.
As an example a 4 versus 4 activity provides opportunity for trial and error, random skill repetition and is obviously dynamic. Coaching during the activity could focus on a certain skill and there is the coach’s chance to teach technique. Follow the principles of youth coaching and you will achieve a good learning environment for your players.
PRINCIPLES OF YOUTH COACHING
• Developmentally appropriate
• Clear, concise & correct information (demonstration)
• Brevity, clarity & relevance
• Simple to complex
• Safe & appropriate training area
• Decision making
• Implications for the game