Tuesday, May 15, 2012

U13 - A little bit of everything!

Tonight was our only session of the week.  It was 2 hours.  We had three games Saturday, three this Saturday and it's a busy week for a lot of the kids with a Confirmation Rite of Acceptance mass on Wednesday. 

It was a potpourri type of session.  But there was an underlying message to three of the drills.  "Hit the ball!". 

We started out with keep-away and that is improving with each practice.  The kids are getting to know what we want without telling them.  I stay on them and stay demanding, but I'm happy.

The next three simple exercises were:
  • Striking to pass long
  • Shooting while running and unopposed
  • Shooting after 1v1
Coaching points for all three:
  • Kicking knee bent and over the ball
  • Toe down, strike with laces
  • Strike through middle of the ball
  • See the ball on contact
  • Foot speed on strike
Some of our boys do not want to hit the ball with the intent of driving it for an assertive pass.  They prefer love tapping it all the way up the field, but it's U13 now and the field needs to be stretch. 

I have to keep the message consistent and have them believe that proper technique and not body size is what will make the ball go.  Our smallest player is one of our best at striking a ball.  I find a lot of players in general have to get over the idea that their foot is going to hit the ground.

We then spent 5 minutes getting more heading in.  Making heading a more prominent part of our game changed our team on Saturday.  Some players were also starting to redirect their heading using it as a pass.  I look forward to more.

Coaching points were the same:
  • Forehead, eyes open
  • Drive the ball
  • You hit the ball, it doesn't hit you
When the technical part was over, we did some shadow play over 2/3 field, going through some possible sequences the ball might take during a match.  We will do more of that.  It was less teaching and more repetition, just doing some mild shaping of our positioning.  But most of the sequences involved long, penetrating passes coming from our central defenders and midfielders.

While I was doing that, Coach Paul worked with 2 kids on heading the ball.  When he was done with them, he worked with 2 others on playing balls out of the air.

The shadow play portion was 30 minutes long and had some success.  I had to leave for a meeting and Coach Paul did the remaining 35 minutes.  He ran some "first to the ball" exercises then had a small game with them.

I don't like busy sessions like this.  I had it all planned this way and kept it organized and moving, but still not my style   I think they still get something out of it, it just seems a bit hectic to me.  When I do have these, I simply go with less instruction than usual, or else it's too much information.

Our result: Lots of touches, lots of repetitions.  Some positioning work. Getting Coach Paul more involved.  Not a text book practice, but it was what we delivered in the situation we had this week.  I have to say I was happy with what we came away with.

Our season opener is 2 weeks after this weekend is over.  We'll have to find another friendly in there before the big game, but only after we've had 3 practices for some fine tuning.

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