A Fun Practice -but- I Didn’t Learn Anything

Coach:  Unfortunately, this week was my week to be “trained” by the Major League Soccer coach that the league hired. Our league for some reason is in love with the MLS trainers and the guy we hired comes by to all of the coaches to help “coach the coaches”. Great idea in general, great young kid from England, but when I’ve got specific stuff I want to practice, it’s a distraction. His practice consisted of a series of FUN games and small sided games. Not bad, especially as there were no lines and the kids stayed active most of the time, but it was too much “candy” and not enough “meat”. As my daughter said when we were going home “It was a fun practice but I don’t think I learned anything.”

Karl: I’ll let your daughter speak for me 🙂

Coach:   I also think the coach was surprisedthat we picked up his small sided passing games so quickly as they were variants on two touch play that of course we know pretty well by now. Still, I didn’t like that two-touch or something similar wasn’t enforced as it ended up with a lot of sloppy 1 touch passes. Balls were sliding off the side of the foot, stubbed off the toe, etc. because the ball wasn’t under control before being released. I’m a stickler for that I must say. Control and then release under control! (I wonder where I learned that from :-).)

Karl: Sounds like this young coach has not attended one of our FUNdamental coaching sessions and learned about the (+) cooperative segment of our routine. He would be taught to let the players know that ‘stoppages’ for improvement would take place in this portion of practice. The players would be told what the coach is focusing to improve (i.e. two-touch play). Should a player make a ‘sloppy 1 touch pass’ play would be stopped and ‘points of refinement’ would be made to improve the two-touch theme. After three successful two-touch passes play would resume until another sloppy 1 touch occurred and play would again be stopped. Once the players showed signs of understanding 2-touch play and sloppy 1-touches were in-frequent. Then the coach would go to the Competitive Segment of practice where the 2-touch play rule was still enforced but no stoppages for ‘points of refinement’ would take place. The coach would note/write-down which players still had 2-touch problems and plan on helping them improve this technique at future practices.

Coach:  Overall, though, I must give him credit because at least they had a lot of fun. If all coaches did that, a lot more kids would stay in the game. Nevertheless, I would like to think you can have fun AND improve skills at the same time! 

Karl: No need to repeat your words because we know that our ‘9-Step Practice’ improves players skills while they are having FUN playing soccer.

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