Soccer Coach Question
I can’t seem to keep my players in their ‘position’ once the game starts. I have tried yelling at them; have had assistant coach yell at them and even their parents and nothing has worked. Do you have any suggestions?
Have your players go through the following steps:
- Observe an older age group play. Give each player a specific assignment to watch/chart/evaluate the player who is playing the position you want them to play. Ask them questions as to what they observed!!!
- Give a chalk talk – covering the responsibilities of a Back, Midfielder, Forward and Goalkeeper. Use a chalk board, magnetic board, butcher paper, etc. to visually show the players his/her role in their position.
- Reverse Chalk Talk – Have the players illustrate and talk to the team about what their responsibilities are in their position.
- Verbal quiz – Have the players answer specific questions posed by you on what their positional responsibilities are.
- Written exam – (Highly recommended) the written test will quickly tell you the player understands and what you can expect from them during the practice/game.
- Shadow Training – Put the players in their positions and have them play against no opponents.
How to Start
Start by putting your players in their positions: Backs, Midfielders and Forwards – with substitutes next to the starters. Now, you (Coach) dribble the ball toward the opposing goal and stop occasionally – check and see if the players have moved the same distance as you and maintained the appropriate distance apart?
- Repeat until you feel they understand what you are trying to teach them.
For the following practices, start as you did previously and do it several times going in the ONE direction. If you see that they are able to stay apart the appropriate distance while moving toward the opponents’ goal (one direction). Then begin to challenge them by dribbling forward, backward and from touchline to touchline. Again, be sure to Stop Often and check to be sure they moved and still held the appropriate distance. Increase and decrease your dribbling speed as they get better.
Eventually start adding opponents – but, only one (1) at a time. That’s right, should your team be playing 4, 7, 9 or 11 aside games. Then the Shadow Training would be 4 vs. 1; 7 vs. 1; 9 vs.1 and 11 vs. 1. Continue to add more opponents as they get better in keeping their positions but add only one (1) opponent at a time.
In the meantime you can make one immediate adjustment, do you realize what happens to anyone, including you, when they are ‘yelled-at’? Stop with the ‘yelling’ and start patiently practicing on positioning. You can only expect from your players in a game what they have mastered in your practices. And I wonder if your players have mastered all the basic Attacking & Defending Techniques?
Please let me know your progress as you patiently follow my suggested steps!
Koach Karl (Karl Dewazien)
- Emeritus Director of Coaching – California Youth Soccer Assoc. 1979-2012
- Author – Internationally Published FUNdamental SOCCER Books Series
- Producer – highly acclaimed ‘FUNdamental SOCCER -Practice’ DVD.
- Clinician at: www.fundamentalsoccer.com
- Have a question? Please send it to me at: email@example.com
- Thank you for taking the time to read this article and Sharing it with your soccer community.
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