Strength On The Ball, Shoulder Tackle, Aggressive Play & Bravery Game ™ (4-stars)
(Teaches bravery 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, U6 to Adult)
"This Game made an immediate improvement on my boys on how to fight for a ball." Coach Chuck, U-10 Boys
"My team went undefeated this Fall, 7 - 0, scoring 40 goals to opponents 4. My girls knocked off a U10 boys rec team in a scrimmage that were undefeated. The coach said he had never seen girls play that aggressive." Derik, U10 girls coach, Premium subscriber for 3 years
"We did this first thing after warm-ups until I was satisfied the girls weren't going to be afraid of contact." Coach Corey, U-12 Girls
"The Shoulder Tackling game is working beyond belief. Some of my timid girls are now amongst the toughest on the team." Mark, U1OG
"The other team was bigger and trying to play very aggressively against us, but we have been playing the Strength on the Ball game since the beginning of the season, and, although they really tried, the other team could not push my boys around." Coach Stephanie, U10 Boys
"The other coach was impressed and frankly surprised that an All Girls team beat his majority boys team. He was really surprised at how physical my girls played. He said, "Your girls aren't afraid to use their shoulders and fight for the ball." The girls he was describing have played for me at least three previous seasons, and we played Shoulder Tackle and Strength on the Ball nearly every practice. And, it showed during this game. Time after time, I had smaller female players, literally going shoulder to shoulder and taking the ball back. It must have happened over 20 times during the match." Coach Brad, U14 Rec Girls, Premium member, after his All Girls Rec team beat a team 6-5 that was mostly 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 for 6 years
"Introduced a red soccer badge called the blood badge. My players love it. It teaches them not to be afraid of the ball even if it means a scrape, bump or bruise. My players still play clean. They play the ball, not the player - using shoulder tackle really effectively. Even my smallest player who is under 4 ft (for a 10 year old) is not afraid of larger players." Eric, U10, Premium Member and patch customer for 2 years
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This Practice Game teaches 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. Soccer is a physical game and in real soccer games, it is critical for players to be able to challenge for the ball and also to be able to retain possession of the ball when they are dribbling. The opposing players will try to use a "Shoulder Tackle" to push your players off the ball when they are dribbling, so they can steal the ball or slow down your attack. Your players need to learn what is called "Strength on the Ball" so they aren't easily pushed off the ball when dribbling. Young players often aren't used to physical play, but the fact is that the more physical team will usually win, so you must teach your players how to be physical so they have a chance to be successful. At the very least, you don't want them to fall apart and give up when their opponents are physical and aggressive. This game teaches defenders how to legally use their shoulder to push an opponent off the ball, which is called a "Shoulder Tackle" (and also called a "Shoulder Charge") and it also teaches players how to avoid being pushed off the ball while dribbling (which is called "Strength on the Ball"). It will get your players used to contact, which is very important, and teach them to play more aggressively. Soccer is a physical game and by U8 the more physical teams will start to have an advantage. Most parents prefer the word "brave" to "aggressive", so it might be better to talk about teaching players to be "brave". If your players aren't prepared and get pushed off the ball, they will get frustrated. This game teaches players how to shield the ball and to have "strength on the ball" so they can retain possession, and how to legally try to steal the ball from the opposing player who has the ball. As you can see from the Testimonials, it really works. I get lots of letters from coaches about how valuable this game is.
Use cones to create a "Starting Line" and a "Finish Line" 10 steps away
Pair up players. Coach or parent plays if odd number.
Try to pair up players by size and ability.
TIP: Tell the players without the ball that it is like "cutting line". (This tip from Coach Troy)
1st, Before you Pair Up the players, have them stand in line, shoulder-to-shoulder, facing you. THEN, have them turn sideways so their shoulders are toward you (it doesn't matter which shoulder, but it is easier if your players are close together). THEN, tell them all to put their feet together and stand up straight. THEN, go down the row and put ONE FINGER on the shoulder of each player one at a time and push each one off balance (it will be easy to push them off balance because their feet are together and their knees are straight). POINT THIS OUT TO THEM: "The reason it is SO easy for me to push you over with one finger is because your feet are together AND your knees are straight. I'm going to show you a simple way NOT to get pushed over." THEN, tell them to move their feet apart (about shoulder width) AND bend their knees a little. NOW, go down the row again and put ONE FINGER on the shoulder of each player one at a time and show them that now you CANNOT push them off balance. When you put your finger on their shoulder, tell them to be STRONG and to PUSH BACK with their shoulder. (Tell them to try to stay "straight up" and NOT lean over, and that they MUST keep their arms straight down by their side, because in a game if they lean into an opponent by "dipping" their shoulder or if they lift their arm to push the opponent they can be called for a foul). This will teach them how to NOT get pushed off the ball AND teach them that when they try to push a player off the ball they can Push, but NOT Lean or "dip" their shoulder, and that they must keep their arms straight down by their side (they cannot raise their arm or push with it, just the shoulder).
2nd, place the pairs on the Starting Line without a ball, facing the Finish Line, "shoulder-to-shoulder" and "hip-to-hip", with feet apart and knees bent for balance. See which players can make the other one move. Tell them to keep their arms straight down by their side (they cannot raise their arm or push with it, just the shoulder). Also, they must stay straight up and cannot "dip" their shoulder (if they do, they will often be called for a foul). They can move their feet, bend their legs and use their hip so long as their shoulder is in contact with the opponent's shoulder. (Read Shoulder Charge" in the Dictionary for more rules). Tell your players "You can't let other players push you around".
3rd, have the pairs walk toward the Finish Line (without a ball), pushing shoulder-to-shoulder, hip-to-hip. If some pairs don't push, switch up the pairs. Encourage players and praise improvement. For some players physical play is not natural, but with praise & encouragement they will improve. Tell them to keep their feet apart and knees bent so they are difficult to push.
5th, This is now Available on SoccerHelp Premium. Use the Coupon 5offpremium to subscribe to Premium for $10 for 30 days, $20 for 120 days, or $35 for a year. Premium has over 1,500 pages for youth soccer coaches - over 15,000 coaches have subscribed. Read 1,000 Testimonials from Coaches. See below for another version of how to play this game that your players might find more fun. My friend Coach Tony from Atlanta submitted the idea below that I really like.
Off-the-ball players (those without the ball) must stay shoulder-to-shoulder with the dribbler and try to win the ball by pushing with the shoulder and hip. (They cannot push the front, back or go around; only shoulder-to-shoulder).
Show dribblers how to "shield" the ball by dribbling with the foot farthest from the opponent.