Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer Fitness, Soccer News, Soccer Refereeing, Soccer Skills, Soccer Team Management, Soccer Training | Tags: 8v8, cold, defence, drills, half time drinks, match, training
Wow, the temperature just gets colder and colder. As a result, there was no way our match was going to be played at the weekend.
I very quickly get withdrawal symptoms from not playing matches, particularly when we’ve prepared well.
Take this week for example – I knew we had two tough games approaching, so had been training support play in defence. This is where the players cut down the space in and around the penalty area, all the time being ready to cover if the defence is breached.
So when I heard that our weekend game was off I went to look at the pitch to see if there was any way we could have a kickabout amongst ourselves.
Because only a couple of teams use our pitch – coupled with the fact we have an excellent groundsman – there were no spikes of frozen mud on the playing surface. Those peaks can be especially dangerous to youth players, so always watch out for them. But thankfully the pitch seemed just very flat and hard – a bit like playing on tarmac.
I called around the parents and most of their kids wanted to come along. The masses soon arrived, and I kept the players warm with hot chocolate from the local cafe – which is, by the way, a drink recommended for half time in cold weather.
I double-checked the pitch with three of the dads. The top layer had crusted, which made it fine to play on.
We played 8v8 in order to brush up on the defensive lessons we’d learnt in the previous session. And the conditions really did us a favour…The hardness of surface provided the best reason for the lads to stay on their feet at all times – a lesson that’s always worth re-learning. In addition, the responsiveness of the ground created the need for good passing accuracy from players.
And finally, by the time we’d summed up the session at the end with a biscuit and another hot chocolate, there was a togetherness in the team that we just wouldn’t have had from a normal training session; a camaraderie and joint spirit brought about by having to battle against unusual conditions.
Try to use adverse events as a spur for your side. See how players react – even introduce some artificial obstacles if you think the effect may be really positive. You may be surprised how your team responds to the challenge!
Filed under: Dave Clarke, Soccer Coaching, Soccer News, Soccer Skills, Uncategorized | Tags: cancelled matches, cold, ice, leeds, manchester city, play on snow, snow, training
It’s been a frustrating time in England trying to play matches and take training session with deep snow all around the place. It was interesting to hear how difficult lots of professional teams have found it to train this last couple of weeks because most outside pitches have been frozen solid.
It’s not just problems with pitches though it’s also a problem getting to the grounds.
I got my U9s up to training to clear the astro turf pitch we can use. Six turned up. I slipped on ice and could barely walk. The parents faced a gruelling drive home. They won’t do that again in a hurry.
Wycombe Wanderers have found the same problem. Because they were playing Leeds United who have undersoil heating and an army of people to clear snow off the pitch, they had to travel all the way up north to their match.
They haven’t trained all week, whereas Leeds have a plastic training pitch which they can use in conditions like this.
Most clubs have to train indoors if they can find somewhere open.
When you hear that a big club like Manchester United with all their facilities are finding it difficult to train even though they have undersoil heated training pitches you know there is a problem. Your local rec isn’t going to be much use.
Manchester Utd have penciled in a trip to Dubai to train – now there’s a thought. Wonder if my local club would stump up the cash for a little trip like that.
But there are things you can do if you can sort out a flat bit of snow to pass the ball around on. Get everyone to bring flasks of hot drinks and do half an hour of simple passing. As long as its daylight your players should be okay.
I’ve been asking around to see what players have been up to and thought I’d put up a couple of clips for you to see:
And remember in the 70s when games went ahead with an orange ball?