Below are 7 soccer drills (practice Games) and coaching tips for U8, U10 and U12 coaches. All of the games except the "Win the 50/50 Ball" game are either on SoccerHelp or available to Newsletter subscribers:
1. Play "Shoulder Tackle & Strength on the Ball" - http://www.soccerdrills.net - soccer practice game as a warm-up to teach bravery and aggressive play, that soccer is a physical game and to not be afraid of contact or being bumped or pushed, strength on the ball to maintain possession while dribbling, shielding the ball to maintain possession when challenged, a legal Shoulder Tackle, challenging for the ball to slow the attack and how to legally push a player off the ball.
Below are some of the comments I have received from coaches about this game:
"This Game made an immediate improvement on my boys on how to fight for a ball." Coach Chuck, U-10 Boys
"I LOVE the "Shoulder Tackle & Strength on the Ball" drill - it has HUGE benefits. It paid off this past weekend when we played a team from another league. Their girls were very aggressive until we got on their shoulders and then they generally went to pieces and we took away the ball." Coach Tony, U16G, Premium Member
2. Play Dribble Across a Square (http://www.soccerhelp.com/soccer_drills/Dribble.shtml) soccer practice game as a warm-up -- Twice with the Square 10 of your steps wide to teach Control Dribbling - keep score and give Tips at the end of each game (if you aren't giving "Tips", how to do so is explained at the instructions for the Dribble Across a Square and Dribble Around Cone & Pass Relay Race soccer Practice Games. Then twice more with the square 17 of your steps wide to teach Acceleration into Open Space and Speed Dribbling. Doing it both ways is important.
3. Play Dribble Around Cone & Pass Relay Race ( http://www.soccerhelp.com/soccer_drills/Dribble_Around_Cone_Pass.shtml ) soccer Practice Game to teach kicking while running, Aggressive Receiving and "one-touch" play. Keep score and give Tips at the end of each game (if you aren't giving "Tips", how to do so is explained at the instructions for the "Dribble Across a Square" and "Dribble Around Cone & Pass Relay Race" soccer Practice Games).
4. Play Win the 50/50 Ball or Be the First Defender 1v1 Attacking & Defending (http://www.soccerhelp.com/New_Articles_On_Soccerhelp_Premium.shtml) Premium soccer practice game to teach how to win the ball or be the first defender and 1v1 attacking and defending.
5. Teach Coaching Rule No. 3 (http://www.soccerhelp.com/22-coaching-rules-report.shtml). This is very important. It is easy to teach (takes about 10 minutes) and worth 2 goals per game in U8 and U10 Rec.
6. Choose a Soccer Formation (http://www.soccerhelp.com/Soccer_Formations.shtml) that gives your team the best chance for success. Choose a formation that maximizes your strengths and minimizes your weaknesses. Read "Stopper Importance" on Premium - a Stopper usually works well for Rec teams. You will want a formation that allows you to control the Center of the field (between the 2 goals). On defense, you will want to keep your players toward the Center of the field so you are strong in the Center between the 2 goals and encourage your opponent to attack down the sidelines.
7. Should your Fullbacks Push Up or Defend Deep When You Attack? Pushing Up and Defending Deep are different soccer "Styles of Play". In brief, you should use the Style of Play that gives your team and players the best chance of being successful. The reason to "Push Up" is that it potentially allows your defenders to provide support for your attack. Another reason is that it creates a soccer "offside trap" that keeps opponents from hanging out near your goal. The danger of Pushing Up your Fullbacks is that IF the opposing Forwards are faster than your Fullbacks, you might give up easy goals on Breakaways. (If an opponent Pushes Up their Fullbacks and your Forwards are faster, a good attacking Style of Play is a fast counterattack, where you leave your Forwards Pushed Up when your goal is under attack and kick the ball to the Open Space behind the opposing Fullbacks so your Forwards can run onto the ball for breakaways. Your Forwards should be able to outrun the opposing Fullbacks because they are faster, and this teaches "Passing to Space"). There are lots of different degrees of "Pushing Up" and "Defending Deep" � it doesn't have to be all Fullbacks on the Halfway Line or all Fullbacks on the Penalty Box line. If your Fullbacks are slow, let them Push Up to the Penalty Box line and if your Center Fullback is fast, let him or her Push Up farther. How far you can safely Push Up your Fullbacks depends on how fast they are. Also, keep in mind that the If your Fullbacks are fast, you can safely Push Up one or more of your Fullbacks beyond the Penalty Box Line (maybe even to the Halfway Line), and that is preferable to Defending Deep at the top of the Penalty Box if you can do it without giving up soccer breakaways. How far you Push Up your defenders should be based your player's speed and on what gives your team the best chance of success. Here is an example of how one coach Pushes Up: "In my defensive "System of Play" the Sweeper Pushes Up to the soccer Penalty Box line. I Push Up my two fullbacks to the bottom of the Center Circle; and I Push Up my Stopper to the midfield line and if she is onball, she can carry the ball into the Offensive Half as far as needed and then recover back to a safe defensive position." http://www.soccerhelp.com/Soccer_Positions.shtml
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