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In the last month my teams haven’t played every weekend due to spring break and a number of local tournaments that took up field capacity. One team hasn’t played in three weeks.
This has given us time to do some concentrated training. We’ve been able to work on improving some areas of our play without worrying about having a game on the weekend. I’ve this has helped us developmentally but at this point the players are getting a bit antsy. They’re looking forward to their next game after going without for a while.
This has had the effect of compressing our schedule into the last half of the spring which may help us be even more sharp toward the end when it will be important as we prepare for end of the season tournaments.
This week’s question comes from Nick. He asks about the challenge of getting his young players to spread out.
“I am currently coaching a U-8 team and we are preparing for the spring portion of our season. The fall was my first time coaching and one of the biggest challenges I faced was teaching my players to spread out and look to pass the ball. We practiced passing every training session but once it was game time it just became a free for all for the ball. Other coaches in the league seem willing to just label U-8 as a stage of “herd ball” and move on. What tips can you offer to help break my players who range from 6-8 years old of the habit of crowding the ball? Or should I just resign to the fact it will stay “herd ball”?”
This is a very common issue for younger teams. In my answer I give Nick some ideas of how he can help is players develop an understanding of space and pressure as well as a small-sided game incorporating channels. You can hear all of the details on the show.
This week I discuss the issue of playing up. You see it with young academy players making their first appearance with the first team of a professional club. You’ll also find youth players training and playing with teams a year or more older than them. Why is this done? What are the advantages and disadvantages of playing up? How do you know if your son or daughter would benefit from playing up?
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I’m going to share a ‘Double Box’ training session that I’ve done a couple of times in recent weeks. It’s a simple set-up that’s been fun and challenging for my players.
Have you shared the passing progression element of the Double Box session yet? I liked the dribbling intro and w/u and I was looking for the next passing steps but can’t find it. Thanks.
I’ve put that together for tomorrow’s 100th episode.