Get Over the Halfway Line Scrimmage: Sample Activity from the Volunteer Soccer Coach

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Session #15: Introduction to Getting Numbers in the Attack –
End of Practice Scrimmage: Get Over the Halfway Line!

eop_session15

Time: Approximately 30 minutes (or whatever is left of practice).

Area: As per the diagram, extend the 18-yard box out to the sidelines. This makes for a shorter, but wider playing area – perfect for working on crossing and finishing.

Activity: Use (or make) a halfway line and state that all players (except the goalkeeper) must be past it in order for a goal to count. This simple rule, more than anything, has the ability to teach players to get up and support the attack. Don’t scream and shout at your players to “push up” over the halfway line. Just watch and listen. The first time that a team scores a goal and it doesn’t count because one of the attacking team’s defenders was in his own half, players on that team will start telling each other to “step” and “get up”. It works like magic! Play even numbers and arrange teams in a formation that reflects your desired game day formation.

Progressions:

  • If you catch a member of the opposing team in their attacking half, the goal counts double.
  • Add a neutral(s), so the attacking team is always numbers up (producing more scoring opportunities).
  • Put field players on touch restrictions (e.g., 3 touch max).

 

Volunteer Soccer Coach Image

Are you a volunteer soccer coach with a full time job outside football? Then this book is for you! Minimizing jargon and looking to maximize the limited contact time you have with your players, The Volunteer Soccer Coach is a must-read practical book for coaches of all levels.  Utilising a game-based approach to soccer – where individuals actually play games rather than growing old in semi-static drills – author James Jordan offers 75 cutting-edge exercises across 15 detailed session plans which help players develop an attacking mindset, improve their skills, and, most of all, nurture a love for soccer.

The Gate Dribbling Game: Sample Activity from the Volunteer Soccer Coach

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Session #1: Dribbling to Keep Possession:
Activity #2: The Gate Dribbling Game with Pressureactivity2_session1

Time: Approximately 15 minutes.

Area: 25 x 25 yards (L x W) or larger depending on how many players you have.

Activity: This activity is a progression from the previous one, which will allow you to give your players a quick water break and then get straight back into action. This time, start with a “bandit” whose job is to stop players from dribbling through the gates. Change the bandit every 30-45 seconds (get them to keep score of how many balls they kicked away).

Possible Progressions:

  • Add a restriction whereby players can only dribble with their left foot (or right foot).
  • Add another bandit (2 bandits at a time).
  • Replace some of the gates with pinnies (or different colored cones) and say that players must go through a cone gate followed by a pinnie gate (or different colored cone gate).
  • Add another bandit (3 bandits at a time).
  • Make the gates smaller and/or reduce the number of gates.
  • Add another bandit (4 bandits at a time).
Volunteer Soccer Coach Image
Are you a volunteer soccer coach with a full time job outside football? Then this book is for you! Minimizing jargon and looking to maximize the limited contact time you have with your players, The Volunteer Soccer Coachis a must-read practical book for coaches of all levels.
Utilising a game-based approach to soccer – where individuals actually play games rather than growing old in semi-static drills – author James Jordan offers 75 cutting-edge exercises across 15 detailed session plans which help players develop an attacking mindset, improve their skills, and, most of all, nurture a love for soccer.

 

It Pays to Win On Defense: A Game-based Soccer Training Approach to Developing Highly Effective Defenders

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It Pays to Win on Defense

Recently named to US Youth Soccer’s Recommended Reading List, “It Pays to Win on Defense” is a book for soccer coaches who are looking for the most effective way to engage all of their players all of the time in order to teach them how to best keep the ball out of their own team’s goal! The book provides an all-encompassing framework for instilling the skills and mindset necessary for highly effective defenders. By combining educational theory and making everything a competition, coaches can maximize their practice time and teach that defending concepts are not just limited to certain players (e.g. the centre backs or the defensive midfielders). As I tell my teams, when we don’t have the ball, EVERYONE is a defender. Therefore, EVERY player on your team needs to know how to defend and defend well!

US Youth Soccer Recommended Reading List

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Hi all,

It’s been a while, but I have been busy prepping for my new class at school. I just found out today that both of my books have been added to the US Youth Soccer Recommended Reading list.

If you have read either of my books, please click here and consider leaving a review.

I am currently working on a book of practice sessions utilizing game-based soccer activities.

It Pays to Win on Offense: A Game-based Approach to Developing  Soccer Players that Score and Create Lots of Goals

It Pays to Win on Defense: A Game-based Soccer Approach to Developing Highly Effective Defenders

Best,

James

Latest Book Now Available: It Pays to Win on Defense

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My latest book, It Pays to Win on Defense: A Game-based Soccer Training Approach to Developing Highly Effective Defendersis now available from the Amazon Kindle Store.

In It Pays to Win on Defense, I profile new players and have added some new games to the ones I offered in It Pays to Win on Offense.

Basically, It Pays to Win on Defense is a book for soccer coaches who are looking for the most effective way to engage all of their players all of the time in order to teach them how to best keep the ball out of their own team’s goal! The book provides an all-encompassing framework for instilling the skills and mindset necessary for highly effective defenders. By combining educational theory and making everything a competition, coaches can maximize their practice time and teach that defending concepts are not just limited to certain players (e.g. the centre backs or the defensive midfielders). As I tell my teams, when we don’t have the ball, EVERYONE is a defender. Therefore, EVERY player on your team needs to know how to defend and defend well!

Whether you are an experienced coach or a volunteer parent just starting out, there is something for everyone in this book. “It Pays to Win on Defense” includes 50 games that bring defending situations to the fore, hundreds of guided discovery questions, and many regressions/progressions to tweak every activity to match your specific training needs.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Best,
James

Does that make sense?

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I have often said that to one of my soccer players when I have been trying to get a point across (usually i have fired a lot of information off and I can see I may be losing the player, so it’s a mechanism to get us back on track). When we say this, though, what are we really doing? I imagine this scenario comes up in the business world, too, where the person in charge attempts to communicate something to a colleague/subordinate and they ask if what they have just said makes sense. I wonder how effective this is, though.

In soccer, very rarely do my players say “no, coach, that doesn’t make sense” (although, I have had a couple!). They nod their head and then go out and make the same mistake or they don’t completely “get it”…at least how they were supposed to in my head.

When we ask that phrase, we tend to look for an affirmative answer so we can pat ourselves on the back and know that we did our job. I read somewhere recently that what we are teaching is not of importance; rather, it’s what our players learn that matters. Consequently, I try to ask more questions and listen to what they have heard, or better yet, get them to show me/explain it to someone else and then work from there. This is a tough one, especially for those among us who want to correct every little mistake or direct the minutiae of an activity to ensure it’s “done right.” We are giving up our “control” of the discourse and opening it up to an unknown set of variables (our players!). This is very difficult to do, but we may get a better, more productive outcome this way.

Perhaps instead of saying “does that make sense,” a coach might find it more valuable to employ one of the following techniques:

  • Tell me what you think I want you to do?
  • Can you explain to your teammates what you think I have asked you to do?
  • Even though you may have a lot of questions, can you go out and give me your best effort in trying to do what I have asked and then we can review in a couple of minutes?

Although I have a long way to go on my own journey, when I have tried one of the techniques above, I have found it opens up a dialogue that is a lot more productive than simply asking “does that make sense” and then getting a “yes” response.

Perhaps we are really asking ourselves whether something makes sense when we pose that question!

I would love to hear your feedback on this issue. Does that make sense?

My new book, It Pays to Win on Offense: A game-based approach to developing soccer players that score and create lots of goals, contains over a hundred of these guided discovery questions that help to facilitate deeper understanding of attacking principles in soccer.