As I’d already mentioned in Monday’s blog, I’d chosen to go along to tonight’s session with a plan in place for what we’d do during the session and I’d also hoped to ask the boys some questions to get them engaged verbally in the training session. So, how did that go?
Having the plan in place was useful and I used two of the three games I had in my plan. The session started as usual with some cross-pitch dribbling mixed in to a game of sharks & minnows – a game which I find is an excellent way to start the session as it allows me to work with one or two individual players. Both weeks now I’ve been able to help one or two boys improve their dribbling skills and I’ve found this really enjoyable, primarily because I find it’s very tangible.
We then moved on to playing ‘Soccer Simon Says’ which was met with one boy shouting “that’s boring!” but I set up a square area and had the boys doing a number of tasks with the ball such as dribbling with either foot, controlling the ball, swapping the ball with another player, sitting on the ball and I also had them throwing it in the air before immediately shouting “Simon says control the ball!”. This is one of those games which I feel only has a small window before the boys get bored but hopefully it continues to work on their ball skills & also on other aspects such as dribbling, awareness, communication & balance.
After this we moved on to a game of 4v4 using two goals. Interesting game. A couple of the boys didn’t like the sound of it initially (they just wanted a game) and a couple of the boys needed one or two reminders of which goals they were attacking (I gave each team two goals to score in and two goals to defend) but once the game got going you could see it challenging them to look at where the spare goal was, both when attacking and defending. After about ten minutes of play one team started getting ahead in the game so I adopted the rules (progressed) and had them making sure each player touched it before they could score. This resulted in them needing to think about where their team mates were and had them passing the ball more frequently – something I believe is important at this age because it’s quite clear that as players they’re incredibly selfish when it comes to possession of the football!
I missed my opportunity for Q&A but I did speak to a couple of the players after the 4v4 game and asked them what they thought had been important to do in the game, to which the responses came “passing”, “pass it” and “look for the goal” (positive). I then asked them (they’re two of the better players) to take that passing in to the match we then played and they seemed to take this on.
In talking to the players I’ve found again tonight, as with previous weeks, that it’s easier to communicate to them on a 1-2-1 level than it is with them as a group. I find I get their full attention on a 1-2-1 level whereas they’re easily disrupted when together as a group, especially if one or two of them decide to play up. Something to work on perhaps.
I’ve enjoyed tonight’s session again, I balance the enjoyment and successes of the small improvements I see the players making along with the things which I’m still grasping, such as the need to set sessions up more quickly! We’ve got a two-week break now so it gives me a chance to do some more reading and come back in the new year ready to start working with the boys again. I’m also hoping to do some other coaching via a local school in the new year so that should be something else to look forward to as well!