Hope you are all doing well.
Our fifth week is officially in the bag with our 6-8 age group working on 'close control and attacking' and our 9-12 age group working on 'first touch and ground control'.
Here are the coaching points below:
Main Coaching Points
6-8 Age Group
- Bend your knees and stay low
- Take small touches when there are a lot of players around you, bigger touches when you have more space
- Always make sure you look up once in a while to see what is happening in front of you, where are your teammates, where are the defenders
- Use your body as a shield when a defender comes and tries to take the ball from you
- Once executing a skill, make sure to accelerate away at top speed to create space for a shot or to pass the ball
- Decision making - when is the right time to pass the ball? When is the right time to dribble
- Drag the defender in to create space for your teammate - once the defender is close enough, then you can decide when to pass the ball
- If you are the player without the ball, always keep a passing lane open - this means you have to be able to see 2 things - the ball and the player you are trying to receive the ball from
9-12 Age Group:
First Touch/Ground Control
- 3 Keys of Receiving
* On your toes
* Check your shoulders
* Ask or Show for the ball
- Use the inside of your foot to control the ball
- Ankle nice and firm- up to the player to let the ball come into the foot and not reach --> if you reach, the ball will go away from you
- Control the middle of the ball (this was something players did not do very well - this is why the ball was popping up sometimes because the player was leaning back or controlling the bottom of the ball)
- When controlling to the right, left or to the back of the box in the session we did - it is important to angle your body to help you go the direction you want - have to open your body as the ball is played to help with the direction of the touch
- Acceleration to get away from defender after touch
- Know which direction you are going to go before you get the ball - check your shoulders to see where defenders are to help with this decision
- - -
6-8 Age Group:
With this session we took it back to the basics and allowed the players to as many touches on the ball as possible. At this age, it is crucial for the young player to feel comfortable with the ball. At this age, the player can sometimes feel vulnerable with the ball or almost uncomfortable and this is what we are trying to change.
The more small touches and the more the player can manipulate the ball - even with small touches and small turns, their confidence grows to a whole new level into their relationship with the ball and what they can do with it. This is why we practiced various turns once again as well as dribbling with both feet and using the inside/out and laces/soles of the feet.
After this we took into attacking but this was a bit too much for the players as the speed of the session was lacking more than anything and this is one of the hardest things for players to learn at this age - the urgency and that also comes with ball control. With the 1 v 1's players need to attack the ball more as defenders and the players with the ball have to be more aggressive in running at a player with the ball. This will come with time and it was progress in the right direction.
9-12 Age Group:
First touch is all about body shape, consistency of foot position and weight of touch. Most players in this age group have the ability and the technique to get the touches right every single time but it is the concentration levels that let them down the most. Players have to be completely aware of their surroundings and once we added in a defender, we saw this happen - but only for a short period of time.
Sometimes it feels to the players that they may be doing the same thing over and over again but the best players will be the ones who hold them to the highest standards and try to do it right every single time. Mistakes are to be human as to be human is to make mistakes so that is not a problem as you learn from the mistakes you make.
Players just need to remember to focus on how their body should be shaped, check their shoulders before getting the ball and most importantly, KNOW which direction they are going to go. In a game situation, this is thee most important thing as if they identify where the space is or where the defender is, this is when they can make the right choice in terms of choosing which foot to control with and what direction to go.
All in all, great job by both groups and see you all soon!