Coaching Day 7: Small improvements visible

We had a fairly good turn-out at training tonight with the milder weather bringing out a few of the kids (or parents) who had been reluctant to come during the recent cold snap and it was great to see a couple of the kids back who I particularly like to work with.

The session was run as one tonight which meant we didn’t split them up in to two groups like we often do. Therefore, whilst still participating and helping out I also spent a proportion of the evening watching Phil run the session, observing how he interacted with the kids, got their attention and ensured they all understood his instructions.

As with previous weeks the focus was very much on dribbling, control & passing. The warm-up mainly focused on dribbling (sharks v minnows as usual) and allowed me to once again work with one or two players on an individual basis. I’ve started to realise that the more I challenge the boys (& girl) the more they surprise me. For instance, tonight a couple of the boys were showing me the different tricks they could do and whilst the execution of them needed work (as you’d expect) I was aware it was all about encouraging them to practice the skill(s), both in the game and the match at the end, and then praise them when they tried it.

We then played an adaptation of the Level 1 game, Waves, but with defenders. This gave the kids & opportunity to work on passing, shooting and other “softer” aspects, such as communication. It’s also a good game for getting them to get their heads up whilst in control of the ball, something we also covered during the first game.

We then ended with a match and what was especially pleasing is that it’s becoming clear that week-by-week the kids are getting better. It’s not always clearly obvious on a weekly basis but for some reason tonight it struck me that these players were doing small things that they definitely weren’t doing when I first saw them in a match scenario. They’re calling for the ball now, they’re controlling it better, they’re passing it more and one or two of the boys were starting to introduce their tricks in to the game which was met with plenty of positive reinforcement by me (I’m a striker by trade so I’m naturally more excited by flair players!).

Our under 7s will play their first match in April and they’re all excited about the prospect of that. It’s going to be interested to see how they get on against other boys/girls of their age. For one, we can see how well they’re developing and for me, these are the only U7s I’ve seen play football so it’ll give me a chance to see what other kids at this age group are like.

Until next week…


About Simon
Grassroots Football Coach

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