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Coach: Thanks for the 9 step program. I truly believe it will do all that you say it will do as long as I follow and apply it correctly.

Karl: You are very welcome and Yes you will have Great Success if you continue that train of thought – Guaranteed!

Coach:   I coach a U10 and U12 boys’ team and we are having a good time. I just have one big problem that I can’t seem to fix.

Karl: If they are having a good time Playing Soccer then there can be no big problem. But, let’s take a look at how you are attempting to increase their good-times.

Coach:  I can’t get the boys to understand how to lay out their small fields in preparation for the 1+1, 1v1. The first boy is great then the rest just seem to forget what we are trying to do. Their spacing between fields is crazy or non-existent and never in a straight line. And the distance between goals is something they just don’t grasp.

I’ve placed corner flags to give them reference points, my assistant coach “spots” them where to start. Short of me taking each boy to his spot, counting off the steps, and putting the cones down, they don’t get it.

We’ve been practicing for a month, that’s 8 practices, and it’s not really flowing.


Let’s make sure that no one considers the boys inability to lay down cones as being a problem. A problem would be the boys fighting, not listening, not attending, using foul language, talking back etc. etc. etc. What we have here is a Lack of Communicating Your Expectations.

First, you must give the boys a clear picture/example of how you want the cones to be arranged. Start by having them follow you –like ducks- and placing their cones in their proper place. Once the field is laid out, to your satisfaction, gather the boys in a spot where they can see the lay-out. Have a brief discussion as to the importance of having the field arranged in this manner. Also, let them know that the quicker the field is laid out correctly the quicker they will get to Play Soccer.

After the brief discussion have them collect their cones and ask them if they can lay-out the field on their own. Or, do they need to repeat the –Coach leading the ducks- method of laying down the cones. I think you know which method they prefer and will chose J

Now, hold a contest of the Boys vs. the Clock. See how long it takes the boys to lay out the cones –properly. Start the clock when the first boy lays down his first cone and stop the clock when the last boy places down his last cone. Let them know their ‘un-official time’. Then, walk around the field and take away ‘seconds’ for each misplaced cone. Let them know their ‘Official Time’ — which is their un-official time minus their mistakes. Then, challenge them to see if they can beat that ‘official’ time on the next go around.

At future practices, remind them of their previous record ‘official’ time and then challenge them to set a new record.   Let me know how this works out for you..!

Coach:  One Week Later…

I can’t believe how quickly both teams are laying out their cones after the ‘Follow Me Ducks’ experiment and they are really enjoying their 1+1 and 1vs.1 games! I think we will continue to have a great season if your ‘9-Step Routine’ works as well as this advice.

Thank you, Koach Karl.

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