No Standing in Line
29 Practice Tips and
Tips from 3 Famous Coaches
Soccer practice tips, Free No Lines Soccer Drills, and a training program that is fun and teaches great skills. Use our No Lines Drills and your players will improve twice as fast because they will be practicing instead of standing in line.
U4 and U6 coaches, go to U4 U6 Soccer Drills & Tips for how to coach U4 and U6, practice tips and drills.
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Use SoccerHelp No Lines Drills. Do NOT make players stand in line. Lines are boring and waste time. Players will learn twice as fast if they don't stand in lines. Try our Free No Lines Drills . There are 1,000 Testimonials about the SoccerHelp Program. A typical example is:
"At every practice we do Dribble Across a Square, etc. - the poise my boys have on the ball is leaps and bounds above other teams now. Before, we were 4 wins 5 losses. Last season our record was 9 Wins 1 Tie." Coach T, U12 travel, MA, Premium member
Be organized, have a practice plan and get to practice 10 minutes early to check the field and set up for your first SoccerHelp No Lines Drill. If you need ideas, check out Free Practice Plans.
Be sure each child has a ball (tell each child to bring one, but bring some extras in case they forget).
The key to improvement is "touches" on the ball. Ideally, every player should be active and never stand in line for the entire practice. Try to plan your practice so each child will get at least 200 touches on the ball.
The most important fundamental soccer skill is dribbling. Many SoccerHelp No Lines Drills that are Practice Games teach dribbling, but the best one for U8 and older is Dribble Across a Square which I recommend you play at every practice as a warm up for teams U8 and older. The Soccer Help Practice Games are self teaching and players learn by playing the games.
If your team is U4 or U6, watch the 7 Free U4-U6 Videos. The videos show the perfect way to coach U4 and U6, how to teach basic soccer skills, how to avoid lines, and there is a great No Lines Practice Game named Hit the Coach. Players learn skills by playing SoccerHelp Practice Games like Hit the Coach - the games are "self-teaching". At U4 and U6, we recommend you focus on teaching dribbling, how to kick the ball, and basic rules (such as not using hands) but NOT passing. Passing is too confusing for U4 and U6 players and teaching it will hold back their development of other skills such as dribbling. The USYSA recommends this approach and we agree.
Practice attendance is CRITICAL. Players won't improve unless they practice. Players are MUCH more likely to attend practice and be on time if your practices are FUN and if you minimize lines and maximize activity. But, if players don't attend practice or are late, motivate and reward them. Praise and reward the things you want your players to do, such as hustling, improving, and giving 100% effort (every player can do those things). We have had great success using small iron-on patches to motivate players - you have probably seen them - we sell soccer balls, Lightning Bolts to reward hustle, a B for Bravery, a D for defense, a Happy Face, T for Team Work, etc. You can see them at Motivational Patch Incentives.
If your team is U8 or older, you should teach control dribbling, speed dribbling into Open Space (acceleration into Open Space), how to "chip" the ball, how to make a Throw-in, passing, and Aggressive Receiving. There are Free No Lines Drills to teach all of these.
Practice Tips from the Great Anson Dorrance for U8 and Older - The best way to teach skills to U8 and older is by using the SoccerHelp No Lines Soccer Drills that involve pressure and competition (SoccerHelp Drills for U8 and older are designed to create pressure and competition). The reason is because they prepare players to perform those skills in games, at "Game Speed", and while under pressure. Coach Anson Dorrance is one of the greatest soccer coaches ever - he is a college coach and his teams have won over 700 games and 22 national championships. Below are some of his tips that have influenced the SoccerHelp Training Program:
- In practice, encourage competition.
- During practice, try to keep score in everything you can -- keeping score encourages competition, 100% effort, game speed, and is more like what player's face in a real game.
- Competition is critical to developing each player's potential.
- "Competition is key to developing players. The only practice environment in which you truly develop a player is a competitive arena."
At practice, be sure to use Drills or Practice Games that are Age Appropriate. For example, SoccerHelp has different Drills and Practice Games for U6 than for U8. SoccerHelp Games for U6 don't keep score or try to create competition so players practice as fast as possible, but those for U8 and older do.
Summary - SoccerHelp No Lines Practice Games are a better way to train players. The best way to train your players is by using SoccerHelp No Lines Practice Games - that is why there are over 400 Testimonials from coaches. SoccerHelp Practice Games are effective and for U8 and older they involve competition and pressure. SoccerHelp Practice Games train players to play fast while under pressure. Coaches who use SoccerHelp No Lines Drills and Practice Games achieve 200% to 300% MORE at each practice, because actual practice time is maximized and standing in line is minimized. The result is that your players will improve 2 or 3 times faster and develop better fundamental skills - read the Testimonials from Coaches about Results. Even if you practiced twice as much with Line Drills, your results would be inferior because Line Drills don't create competition and train players to play fast while under pressure. SoccerHelp Drills and Practice Games are a better way to train and train players to play fast while under pressure, so they are able to play better in real matches.
8 Practice Tips from the Great April Heinrichs - No one can match April Heinrichs' experience and success as a soccer player and coach. She was Soccer America's "Player of the Decade" for the 1980's, a 3 time All American at the University of North Carolina where she scored 87 goals in 90 games and Coach Anson Dorrance said she was one of the best he has ever seen at 1 v 1 attacking, in 1998 she was the first female player voted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame, Captain of the World Cup Championship team in 1991, Head Coach of the U.S. U-16 Girl's National Team, Head Coach at the University of Virginia, and she coached the U.S. Women's National Team. I interviewed her and asked:
"What should coaches of players age 13 and younger emphasize in practice?" Below are Coach Heinrichs' 8 Practice Tips (SoccerHelp No Lines Soccer Drills let you achieve her recommendations):
7 Practice Tips from the Great Jay Martin, the winningest coach in college men's soccer history:
The above tips are from an article by Dr. Jay Martin in the NSCAA Soccer Journal. Jay is a great guy, a great coach, and Editor of Soccer Journal - he is the winningest coach in college men's soccer history with a total of over 680 wins. I encourage all youth coaches to join the NSCAA.
Don't have players standing around watching or standing in lines while only a few practice with the ball. You won't be able to totally avoid this, but you can minimize it.
Don't use Line Drills if you can use No Lines Drills.
Don't scrimmage too much. Only scrimmage for 10-15 minutes at the end of practice. SoccerHelp Practice Games are much more beneficial than scrimmaging. If you scrimmage, use the "Small Sided Scrimmage Without a Goalie" Practice Game in Soccerhelp Premium, it will teach all players to learn to defend and to work as a team to move the ball into scoring range. Large-sided scrimmages don't give each child enough touches on the ball (especially the less skilful or less aggressive players), don't allow you to practice specific skills or concepts, and can actually reinforce bad habits. In brief, they are not the best training method for recreational coaches. If you follow the SoccerHelp Program, your team will improve much more rapidly and play better as a team than a team that spends most of their practice time scrimmaging.
Testimonials and Success Stories (youth coaches talk about the SoccerHelp program and how it has helped their teams)