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Getting Ready for the 2022 Season

Establish a ‘Pre-Practice Ritual.’ For yourself and the players as they arrive at the practice site.

PLAYERS:                                                        COACH:

-Greet the coach and report any injuries              -Arrive early to check weather & field conditions

-Greet teammates and Socialize with them.         -Greet the players and check for injuries

-Check your equipment.                                     -Check players’ equipment

-Juggle and make the ball your friend.                -Allow them to work with the ball

-Have your home assignment checked.              -Check their home-assignment progress

-Participate in the ‘official’ beginning                  -Determine the time for the ‘official’ beginning

 (Example: Team Cheer)                                     (Time to begin ‘concentrating’ on improving)


  • Explanation/Demonstration of the THEME. 
  • Briefly ‘Show and Tell’ the players what they are expected to learn & improve.   
  • State clearly the ONE goal to be achieved!

Step 2. WARM-UP.

Inside the FUNdamental Square, every player with a FUNdamental SOCCER Ball.

  • Confined area activity to develop ball sensitivity, coordination, flexibility, agility, and body control; summarized – building confidence in keeping possession of the ball.
  • Confined area activity that maximizes ball touches and creates a habit that may prevent injuries in their future        

Step 3. ONE + ONE (Cooperative Play)

Coach and players Prepare to Stop the Action to make and take ‘points of refinement’ on the Theme.
·                     Two players/One-ball; Review previously taught techniques to provide continuity. 
·                     Two-players/One-ball; Working on ‘new’ techniques to be learned and developed. 

Player(s) use ‘the Stages of Play’:

  • Beginning Stage -Perform ‘Theme’ at controlled speed vs. walking opponent
  • Intermediate Stage -Perform ‘Theme’ at controlled speed vs. jogging opponent
  • Advanced Stage -Perform ‘Theme’ at controlled speed vs. game speed opponent


  • Realize that some players may never get out of the Beginning Stage – Which is OK!
  • Be careful in advancing players through Stages – Since Success is the Key!
  • When in doubt, put player(s) back in the previous Stage – Since Success is the Key!
  • Understands that (+) = Add information to improve player(s) performance.

Step 4. ONE vs. ONE (Competitive Play)

Coach and players understand that there will be No Stop In Action.

Player(s):  Experiment with the ‘new’ technique while competing.

  • Test their ability to perform Theme (s) vs. real opposition

Coach:  Observes to see who will need help with ‘the theme’ at future practices. 

  • Observes individual strengths and weaknesses.
  • Understands that (vs.) = Being verbally silent while players are competing.

Step 5.  Half-time Routine

Rehearsal for game day activities that take place in a limited amount of time, such as:

·                     Gathering in a defined, secluded, shaded area

·                     Replenish liquids and stretch

·                     Check for injuries

·                     Give points of refinement (if necessary) to -Individuals-Group-Team.

·                     Prepare them for the 2nd half. 

Step 6.   SMALL SIDED GAME (s)

Games are framed inside a set of rules to correct a weakness (Theme) observed in the previous practice or game.

COOPERATIVE Small-Sided Games are Controlled by the coach.

Players:  Understand that there may be Stoppages or Interruptions in Play for ‘Points of Refinement.

Coach: Plans to Use Stoppages and makes Interruptions during Cooperative Play

     (But, only when necessary…!)    

COMPETITIVE Small-Sided Games are ‘FREE’ Games Controlled by the players.

Players:  Understand there will be No Stopping or Interrupting Play  to make ‘Points of  Refinement.’

Coach:  Understands that there are No Stoppages or Interruptions during competitive play.

  • Observes and takes Mental/written Notes
  • Understand that (vs.) = Being verbally silent while players are competing…!


Full team games are framed inside a set of rules to focus on the Theme:

COOPERATIVE  SCRIMMAGE a Team Game Controlled by the Coach.

Players: Understand that the Coach May Stop or Interrupt Play to make ‘Points of Refinement.

Coach: Understands when to Stop and Interrupt during Cooperative Play. But only when necessary!

COMPETITIVE SCRIMMAGE is a ‘FREE’ Game Controlled by the Players.

Players: Understand that there will be No Stopping or Interrupting Play to make “Points of Refinement.’

Coach: Does Not Stop or interrupt play.  

  • Observes and takes Mental/Written Notes
  • Understand that (vs.) = Being Verbally Silent while players are competing…!

Step 8.  COOL-DOWN 

The physical goal of relieving the tightness created by running and other soccer-related activities.  The mental goal is to complement each player for their effort.

  • To create a habit that may prevent future injuries.


The time to reflect and review the practice session and its ‘ Theme.’

  • Briefly analyze the strong and weak points of the teams’ performances.
  • The time when positive statements will let them know they improved.
  • Give home-play assignments preferably to play 1 vs. 1 as often as possible!

I hope that “the important (themes) that will sink in” with the Players in 2022 are…

…as Attackers:                                      …as Defenders:

Read the Game                                    –Read the Game

Run to Attack                                       –Run to Defend

Receive the ball                                    –Ready Stance

Retain the ball                                      –Reject Advancement

Release the ball                                    –Regain the Ball

I hope that the most critical (Theme) that will sink in with the Coaches in 2022 is:

Understanding that (vs.) means becoming Verbally Silent anytime’ the players are competing!