Love this beginning. I am positive that you will say that the girls’ were able to go from Step 1 – Step 9 with you simply calling out the following ‘buzz’ words:
• Begin Practice
• Small Sided Game
• Cool down
• End of Practice
How Simple! Our first main goal was to have them learn ‘the Routine.’ After that was accomplished we would then be able to begin introducing, coaching, teaching specific themes..! So, let’s take a look at your Sequence…
Coach: Since the girls seemed to have the hang of setting up the fields and the “pattern”.
Karl: Oh, Oh!!! Mentioning that they ‘have the hang of it’ and we know they only did this one time at the previous practice. Oh, Oh!!! When were you able to ‘get the hang’ of anything new after just one attempt? I see storm clouds on the horizon.
By the by… What happened to Step 1? Begin the Practice and Step 2. Warm-up? Setting up the field and pattern are part of Step 3. They will not become familiar with your practice session expectations until you train them to go from One Step to the Next and in the same sequence. Everything takes time to Learn and that is a fact!!!
Coach: I had written-up a plan that included changing direction with the sole of the foot.
Karl: You would have been better served to observe the girls’ actions after you call out each and every ‘buzz’ word. See what happens after you say, “Let’s Begin Practice” or “Let’s Warm-Up” or “Let’s play 1+1” or “Let’s play 1vs1” or “Let’s take a Break” or “Let’s play 4+4 Small Sided Games…etc. etc. etc. I am positive that they do not ‘have the hang of it” and in your haste to coach/teach you will face chaos in future practices because they don’t understand what you want them to do..!
Coach: We made it as far as the 1 + 1 games.
Karl: There is no excuse for you not being able to get to the 1+1 and 1vs.1 games. Remember, we had discussed spending 15 min. to Warm-up followed by 15 min. for the 1+1 and 1vs.1 games. (Taking a Break). Then 15 min. for Small Sided Games and finally 15 min. for the Scrimmage. Did you already forget what happened after your last practice? You followed the routine and ended up commenting ‘how good the practice was!!!’ Why change so drastically and so soon??? How do you expect the girls to act/react at future practices if you are not ‘disciplined’ yourself to Stick to the Routine? You are asking for trouble with a capital “T” if you don’t teach the girls what you expect. Don’t blame the girl’s when they revert to acting like 8-9 year old (bored) girls when future practices fall apart. No discipline – No learning..!
Coach: Another coach approached us and we ended up spending the rest of practice scrimmaging against another team.
Karl: My, Oh – My!!! You have just set another precedent for what future practices will be like. What will you do in the future when you are making points of refinement and another coach wants to scrimmage? How will the girls respond to you when they are anxious to scrimmage and you want to teach them how to change direction with the sole of the foot? How will you make future practices as fun and exciting as a scrimmage against another team?
Karl: Of course scrimmages are lots of FUN — Why do you think our 9-Step Routine ends with a scrimmage? However, how are you going to duplicate this environment and results at the next and all future practices?
Coach: . They scored more than we did.
Karl: Oh, Oh. Maybe this wasn’t as much FUN as you stated above 🙁
Karl: I wonder if they can even spell the word ‘discourge’? Wouldn’t you/they be better off playing in and environment where you can guarantee success? Hint: Remember the ‘9-Step Practice Routine and the Goal of Making Hard Work Seem Like Fun… while they are Learning to Love to Play Soccer?
Coach: . But I was able to identify a couple of areas where we need improvement
Karl: A couple of areas???? I think you are pulling my leg? J
I know of professional players who need to improve in a ‘couple of areas’. Eight and Nine year olds are still learning how to play the game and need to improve in ‘all areas’ of the game. Your first priority must be to get them to “Love Playing Soccer – But, on their own!” Once they decide that they want to play and improve in the game … Then, we/they can start focusing on ‘areas’ of improvement..!
Coach: First is dribbling – several of the girls push the ball too far ahead of them, allowing for the ball to be stolen.
Karl: The Routine comes first…: “Begin practice, Warm-up, One + One, One vs. One, (Break), Small Sided Games, Scrimmage, Cool-down, and End Practice” Dribbling is a theme automatically covered in The Routine. The 9-Steps have been organized for you to get lots of proper repetitions of dribbling and dribbling moves.
• Begin Practice – Show/Tell them ‘the move’ you want them to learn.
• Warm-up — They practice ‘the move’ during the Figure 8 Stretch Routine.
• 1+1 — They practice ‘the move’ against one cooperative opponent.
• 1 vs. 1 — The test ‘the move’ against one competitive opponent.
• Break – Show/Tell how to use ‘the move’ with more opponents on the field
• Small Sided Game – They practice/test ‘the move’ against more opponents.
• Scrimmage – They practice/test ‘the move’ against even more opponents.
• Cool-down – Review ‘the move’ with individuals who need more help
• End Practice – Review and assign ‘the move’ to the team as homework.
Coach: . Another area is goalkeeping – we were pretty weak, I think that I should include keepers in our intra-team scrimmages – what do you think?
Karl: Get an assistant coach to help with this phase. Goalkeeper specialists suggest that at this age you should simply rotate players in and out of this position.
Karl: Please plan on having the girls learn ‘the Routine’. Spend 15 min. in each Step as we talked about… Have them practice the ‘change of direction’ in: The Warm-up, 1+1, 1vs.1 (Review during Break) Small Sided Game, Scrimmage, Review in Cool-down, make it Homework at the End of Practice. See the sequence above and simply replace ‘the move’ with your theme “change direction with sole of the foot.”
Karl: He is every beginning youth coach who is very anxious to help his players.
Yes, he will ‘get it’ once he realizes that children are creatures of habit and habits are created through proper repetition. He will ‘get it’ once he can discipline himself to create a repetitive environment and not allow outside influences (coaches/players) to interfere with this environment. He will ‘get it’ once he and his players understand and are able to flow through the FUNdamental Soccer ‘9-Step Practice Routine.’