5 Secrets to Advance Playing Soccer

As players continue to develop both physically and skill wise, coaches should begin to look for more creative ways to get the most out of their players during practice sessions.

Never Think Your Good Enough Not to Practice the Basics

Many players, who have mastered the basic motor movements such as passing, heading and dribbling, will feel that they are wasting their time by continuing to put effort into these aspects during practice.

By continuing to polish the fundamental skills players are ensuring that they continue to improve their base for competitive matches and, as a result, will be able to rely on this foundation under any situation as their muscle memory continues to improve, which will give athletes a more instinctive feel for the game.

Regularly put Athletes to the Test with Game Like Situations

Another important aspect in development is giving young athletes ample opportunity to put their skills into competitive situations during practice.  By formatting drills that have a competitive feel to them, athletes will not only be able to focus more on the drill due to the thrill of competition, but will also be able to experience game like situations that will give them the best chance to execute these skills when they matter most.  An example for this type of drill is having athletes play timed keep away, which can be described as follows:

1)   Form two teams (Team A and Team B);

2)   Team A has one more player than Team B (maximum number of players for Team A should be 4);

3)   The goal is for Team A to maintain possession of the ball for a set period of time (this should depend on skill level of team-normally between 30 and 120 seconds);

4)  If Team A maintains possession for set time, Team B owes 10 pushups;

5)   If Team B steals ball, Team A owes 10 pushups.

This drill is an excellent way to get kids to focus and to play hard, which is the best way to simulate any game like situation.

Timed Drills Get Athletes to Move Faster

As kids continue to develop physically so should their ability to perform drills at a faster more concise pace.  To continue to develop athletes as they mature, it is best to put a timer on many of their drills.  This will force players to react quickly, to stay focused and to work as a team to ensure that each drill is done efficiently, all which are excellent skill and team building exercises.

Conditioning Should Become More Rigorous and More Focused on Leg Strength

All coaches know that athletes hate conditioning.  However, we also know that conditioning is the most essential element in developing a strong team.  As kids get older the focus on conditioning should continue to increase.  Not only should the time dedicated to conditioning increase, but also the intensity of the training.

If coaches are fortunate enough to have a modest sized hill in the area, having players conduct hill sprints as opposed to sprints across the field will build endurance and leg strength at a faster rate, both essential elements in developing a stronger soccer player.

Have Players Perform Certain Drills Barefoot

Playing barefoot has many advantages.  First off, it gets players to learn how to strike the ball correctly.  There will be no toeing of a ball when the cleats are off as athletes know that this could be a rather painful experience.  Further, playing barefoot gets players to play with finesse and gives them more of a feel on the ball, both essential ingredients in players continuing to develop.

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