Saturday, May 10, 2014

Running with the ball at pace ... show your players they can do it

Be honest, coach.

How many of your players can run with the ball, for 30-40yds, at pace and keep the ball under control?  I ask this when I deliver coaching courses, and it's an uncomfortable question for some, but it does make them think.

We've all seen it.  A young player has open space in front of them, takes off and is chasing the ball in a different direction with every touch.  Or touches too far into the keepers waiting arms or wide and over the goal line.  Or too close and they overrun the ball.

As a fan, it's very exciting to see a player make a penetrating run and awesome when that player has the pace and control to brush off anybody looking to spoil the moment.

For young players we have a few problems.  The first being their ability to execute.  The second is there are many teams where all the child hears when they get the ball is "PASS!!!!!!!!!!"

Get your kids in on the action.   1v0 is just as valid a session or drill topic at 1v1, 2v2, 3v2 etc.

Keep it simple.  Give your player a ball, tell them to run with it and see if they can do it.  If they don't try/do it at training at full pace, they'll struggle to do it properly in a game.

I am not going to get into the nuts and bolts of running with the ball, as it's all overt the internet.  I included a free link, only available to visitors of this site,  for a limited time , a Google search already done for you :)

One of my old coaches loved to have us race against a teammate;  a player with the ball vs a player without the ball.

Imagine what can happen next?  Running at pace then executing a turn, or 1v1 attack vs defender or keeper, or deliver a cross into the box, or driving towards goal?  You're thinking about it aren't you?  You're imagining your players attacking open space with confidence, balanced and under control for what might approach, the encouraging cheers of the parents and the excitement of causing panic in your opponents.

Make it a point to assess your players' ability to run with the ball and design a session to address/improve that technique.