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Adjusting the 1vs.1 Game

Coach – I’m going through your new Practice book and the Tactics book now very carefully in preparation for next year. Reading through it last week led to two questions.  Based on your suggestions a couple of years back, I have already implemented 1v1 in my practices with great success.

Karl – Every coach who has used the approach has commented on ‘how’ successful it is…they were also surprised and ‘how much’ the players loved this portion of the practice!

Coach  – As I noted in a previous e-mail, I like your concept of shorter 1v1 sessions (less than 60 seconds) rather than the longer ones I employed last year.

Karl  – You must adjust the length of the 1v1 games to the physical conditioning of your players that of course requires that you become a good ‘Observer! Knowing when fatigue sets in (the ability to ‘read your players) is one of the most crucial aspects of being a good coach.

You do not mention using the 1+1 portion prior to playing 1 vs. 1 games. I hope that you work on ‘teaching’ the technique to the point of success. Before you ask your players to ‘test’ themselves on their improvement? That is, go through the Stages of Play in learning the technique – performing same against a walking, jogging and at speed opponent. Before, actually playing the 1vs.1 games.

Coach – On the other hand, I had problems with one smart-alecky in particular who like to score on his opponent by booting the ball very hard across the goal so it would take his opponent a long time to retrieve the ball. Time would run out on this opponent, and he thus “wins”. Obviously, this isn’t behavior that should be encouraged. How do you handle similar situations?

Karl  – Not only do smart-alecky players use this approach -but, also the lazy players!

To resolve this simply adjust the ‘rules’ of the 1 vs. 1 game. For example: You must dribble the ball across the goal line for a score. -Or- You must bring the ball to a total stop once across the goal line to receive a point. Use your imagination to prevent the ‘long boot!.

Coach – FYI, I’ve had best success having goals scored by dribbling across the end line. This prevents long distance shots during a 1v1 game that are a lazy way some kids use to score that is easier than beating their opponent on the dribble.

KD – Wish I had read this before answering your ‘questions above. I congratulate you on using your imagination in coming up with the proper solution for preventing the ‘long boot’ during the 1vs.1 game. At this rate you will be publishing your own soccer book in the near future?

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