Coaching Day 3: U7s in the snow
December 1, 2010 Leave a comment
Training for our U7s went ahead tonight despite the cold weather conditions we’re currently experiencing in the UK, although it did mean we had depleted numbers. Despite these lower numbers the session was still positive though – as it provided us with a good chance to see a selection of the kids play in an environment where they had much more time on the ball than they otherwise might.
There were only 5 kids who turned up, so we played a simple game of 5 v 2 (the 2 of us being adults – appreciate this isn’t recommended, but I digress…) on the all weather pitch. At first, it seemed this may just be an activity in keeping the kids warm & entertained for an hour but it soon became evident that there was good coaching opportunities to be had.
• The lower numbers meant each of the kids had more time on the ball
• Having more time on the ball gave them more time to think about decisions
• We could position ourselves defensively to provide them with either easy or more challenging decisions
• We could talk, frequently, to each player to ask them about their position, or what they were going to do next
• We saw how good some of the players were when they had more time on the ball
If I compare this with a larger game it’s immediately obvious that the kids enthusiasm, which leads to the “shoal of fish” problem, can cause the game to be played at such a pace that it makes it hard to engage with the players, to challenge them as individuals and to observe them in a situation where they have more time to think about their next decision. That is – I’ve thoroughly enjoyed being able to work very closely with the 5 who turned up tonight and we saw a marked improvement in their decision making and the amount of passing they performed over the 1 hour session.
Tonight has been interesting. It’s shown me at first hand the value in small sided games, and the opportunities they provide for developing young players. I’ve been told about the value, but it’s always better to experience and to understand than to be told. I also have a much better view of those 5 players – what their strengths & weaknesses are, and that’ll help me to help them develop.
Another enjoyable night of coaching.