Soccer Coaching Blog | Professional Soccer Coaching Advice


Focus on the players… not the session

davidscwnewIt all went horribly wrong last week – I coached a team of players and lost the focus of the session and the suitability of the challenges for the players who were doing it. It was my own fault. I had been asked to coach another team straight after my own session.

I hadn’t taken these players before but without giving it any thought, I decided to run the same session I had run earlier with one of my own teams. I had done no homework on the players and, as we started, I quickly realised I needed to change the focus of the session because they were finding it too difficult. Instead of adapting the same session, I whizzed through the library of sessions stored in my memory and started another one. It was far from ideal.

I should have just changed the dimensions of the exercise that I was using and made the session work for them. With my regular team the session had gone like a breeze because they were used to moving the ball around with speed and precision.

I have been working on getting them to pass like Spain, where defenders, midfielders and strikers link up with effortless ease thanks to some great combinational play. Short, sharp passing and clever movement was key to the session – the art of Spain’s wonderful play is dominating possession in this way. And my players coped well with the session, using intelligent passing and great teamwork.

However, when I tried the same session with the next group they weren’t able to use the same techniques or passing movement to make it a success and they weren’t getting the same fun out of it as my team had.

This caused one or two players to show their boredom in other ways so I had to go in and change the session. Rather than adapt it, I changed the session completely, but this just stripped away the focus and made the challenges I had set meaningless. I struggled on and forced the new session through but afterwards I was disappointed that I had ignored my own advice and tried to totally change the session rather than alter it to get their understanding.

I had been caught out because I took it for granted that the players would be able to cope with my session, even though I had never coached them before. It was a timely reminder that I should have focused on the players and their needs, rather than focus on the session – and that a session can be altered to make it work for different groups of players.



Come and meet me at the Grass Roots Football Show

DC

Dave Clarke

The Grass Roots Football Show is taking place this weekend and I for one am not going to miss it. You can come and see me on the Elite Soccer stand C29a and ask me questions about youth coaching.
It’s a great place to pick up some coaching tips to take home with you and there will be some famous names running technical coaching sessions from set pieces and warm-ups to attacking, defending and finishing.
Michael Beale will be there on Friday and Saturday and it will be me on Sunday so don’t miss it.
You can also look out for sessions from managers like Peter Taylor, Iain Dowie, Chris Hughton, Graham Taylor and Chris Coleman.

The top coaches will be on hand to showcase exciting new drills, deliver top coaching tips and make sure that whether you coach an U10’s or adults team, there will be loads of great sessions to motivate and inspire you.

Here’s the type of thing you can expect: Robbie Savage talking about discipline when he was a Manchester Utd youth player:

And this is what happened last year:




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