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Tips for Practice

Let Them Play

Never forget the kids want to play soccer: llet them. Make it a goal for kids to be actively playing at least 75% of each practice.

Decision-Makers Wanted

Too many coaches try to orchestrate every move their players make. Rather, soccer is a very dynamic game, so a coach must focus on creating a team of decision-makers. Simply because a player does not do what a coach thought they should have done does not make the player wrong and the coach right.
Do not be a puppet-master.

Have a Written Plan

Have a written plan when you show up to practice. This will make your practice flow better. If you need to adjust your plan during practice feel free to do so. Frequently an activity learned at a clinic or found online will not work for your team. Don't force it; move on to something else.

Avoid Laps, Lines, and Lectures

Let them play.

Give the Players Enough Information to Get Going

Players never appreciate long-winded explanations nor will every player listen well enough to understand a new game. Better to get them moving and explain more detail in the flow than to stand and talk at them.

Give Players Time to Develop

Yes, we all want players to learn how to properly execute an instep push pass for example. Some kids will learn a technical aspect quickly while others may struggle. Allow them time to develop the skill. A particularly strong-willed player may even refuse to perform a technical skill simply because you are asking them to. Encourage them, but do not become frustrated when the results are not what you are expecting.

Allow an Activity to Develop Before Interrupting

At the start of a new activity, allow the players to play for at least 6-8 minutes and get into the flow prior to making your first coaching point. This gives the coach the opportunity to see the common mistakes and allows the players to do what they want most… to play. Nothing is more frustrating than to see a coach stand and talk to their players for several minutes, finally get the activity/game started, and then stop play on the first mistake they see. There is no need to correct every mistake. Let them play.

Small-sided Games are Best

2v2, 3v3, and 4v4 games are the best for player development. The kids get lots of touches on the ball and all the elements of soccer are present.

Scrimmage

End every practice by dividing the players into two teams and allowing them to simply play. Try to allow at least 25 minutes for this.

When in Doubt, Let them Play