It Just Makes You Smile (plus a list of coaching keys)

If this doesn't make you smile, I don't know what will.

I was recently discussing coaching youth girls soccer with a friend and I'm going to try and list all the key points we went over.

  1. First Touch - or in the case of the youngest players, just Touch.  For 95% of the practice, the kids should have a ball at their feet.  I know as they get older, learning to move off the ball becomes much more important, but for the little ones, practice should be about getting better and better with the ball at their feet.
  2. Pressure / Cover - they'll learn Balance later.  For now, the closest player applies pressure and the next 2 cover (assuming 3 v 3 games).  They won't learn this is one session, but if you use the words with some slow-motion demonstrations, they will eventually understand what you're trying to say.
  3. Win the ball by stepping between the player and the ball.  In other words, when you tackle, you turn and step between the dribbler and the ball so that your back is to dribbler.  It works so much better than diving in and kicking the dribblers shins to death.
  4. Shield the ball and learn to turn away from the pressure using the outside of your foot.
  5. In the games, sit on the bench and talk to the kids on the sideline.  More importantly, get them used to talking to their teammates about what they should be doing.  I had my sideline kids yelling, "Fast throw-in" or "Fast goal kick" or what ever you as a coach may be tempted to yell.  If you coach the kids on the side and let the ones on the field play with freedom, soon you'll have kids that recognize situations and know how to communicate it to their teammates when they're on the field.

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