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Fundamental Soccer Blog


Soccer has moved away from one-dimensional play, where forwards only focus on scoring, midfielders solely link the play, and backs primarily defend. The game has evolved to emphasize a collective team effort. Players now have dual responsibilities, adapting to the flow of the game based on ball possession. When our team has the ball, all players become attackers, and when the opposing team has possession, everyone must focus on defending.

The 1 vs. 1 game played during the summer break can help instill these two crucial habits in players: Attacking when they have the ball and Defending when they don’t.

In this game, players have limited options and no time to do anything else. When in possession of the ball, their objective is to score, and without the ball, their focus is on preventing the opponent from scoring. This simplified and focused approach in the 1 vs. 1 game can help develop and reinforce these important habits in players.

To effectively implement 1 vs. 1 play during the summer break, have your players follow these steps:

  1. Make arrangements with someone to play against, whether it is a parent, teammate, or friend.
  2. Find an open area, preferably with grass, that is safe and free from hazards like holes, sprinklers, or objects that could cause injuries.
  3. Improvise using (objects) such as shoes, shirts, or milk containers filled with water or sand to create their goals. They don’t need cones or official goals for a 1 vs. 1 game.
  4. Record and keep track of the scores for each game and send the results in weekly!

Explanation/Demonstration “Making Small Goals:

  1. Stand with feet together and hold an object in each outstretched hand.
  2. Move the right foot as far as possible and place the (object) outside of the right foot.
  3. Bring the feet back together.
  4. Move the left foot as far as possible and place the (object) outside of the left foot.

By following these steps, they will have their perfect goals for the 1 vs. 1 game.

Recording Progress

Provide a ‘1v1 Playing Chart’ to each player, including:

  1. Date, Location, Starting and Ending Time of each session.
  2. Opponent
  3. The number of goals scored by the Player and their Opponent.
  4. ‘Chart’ to be submitted at the end of each week..!

Encourage Goal Setting:

  1. Create a separate section on the ‘Chart’ for the player to set short-term and long-term goals.
  2. Help the players stay motivated and focused on self-improvement.
  3. Encourage players to jot down their observations, lessons learned, or areas for improvement after each game.
  4. Have the player periodically review their goals and track progress by updating the ‘Chart’ accordingly.

Team Communication:

  1. Create a ‘Master ‘1 vs. 1 Chart.’
  2. Send the ‘Master Chart’ to all team members on a weekly basis!

Use of a group messaging platform or a dedicated online forum where players can interact, share their experiences, and provide support to each other. This digital platform can serve as a hub for communication and encourage ongoing engagement among team members.

Recognize Achievements:

  1. Expand the rewards system to acknowledge more than just the weekly and monthly 1 vs. 1 winners.
  2. Introduce additional categories of recognition, such as “Most Minutes Played,” “Best Self Evaluator,” “Faced Most Different Number of Opponents,” “Faced Most Unique Opponent” (i.e. house pet :)”
  3. Pre-Announce a special “Opening Day” event to honor the players who performed exceptionally well over the summer break. This can serve as an incentive for continued improvement and participation.

Parent Involvement:

  1. Encourage parents/guardians to provide supportive comments or feedback on the ‘Chart.’
  2. Consider setting up periodic meetings or discussions where parents can share their observations and discuss their child’s progress.
  3. Emphasize the importance of their active participation in their child’s progress and suggest ways they can support their child’s development, such as playing lots of 1 vs. 1 games with them.
  4. (Very Important Note: The player should touch the ball more frequently than the Adult 🙂

Major Benefits of Playing 1 vs.1:

*-Hones individual skills such as ball handling and defending in a compact and focused setting.

*-Provides an excellent opportunity to improve these skills through repetition and decision-making under pressure.

*-Enhances players’ ability to read the game, make quick decisions, and improve their overall game intelligence.

The skills developed in 1 vs. 1 play can directly translate to improved performance in team settings.

FUNdamental SOCCER Conclusion:

Encouraging your players to wholeheartedly embrace the 1 vs. 1 challenge during the summer break can lead to transformative development and enhanced performance. By fostering a supportive and engaging atmosphere that promotes individual matchups, your players will have the opportunity to sharpen their skills, decision-making abilities, and confidence levels. As a result, they will emerge from the break equipped with the necessary mindset and proficiency to make meaningful contributions to the team’s success in the upcoming season. Remember to provide ongoing support, guidance, and constructive feedback to ensure their continued growth and progression.