Soccer Coaching Blog | Professional Soccer Coaching Advice


How to make stop/start work in your coaching

DCI was running an exercise this week with my players grouped in 3v3s, and one lad in particular stood out. I wanted the rest of the group to watch some of his actions, so I kept stopping play to show them how he was using skill and movement to create space for himself – space that opened up the opposing three players and allowed him to score.

Using a ‘stop and recreate’ method is a great way of showing young players how certain things work during games, and teaches them in slow motion how to prevent a negative situation developing.

If you do stop and recreate play you must do it quickly, always ensuring you get each player back to the positions they were originally in. On this occasion it worked really well with the player involved keen to repeat what he was doing, but after a while the others began to resent being stopped and were getting irritated by my constant recreating of certain situations. So always know the appropriate time to move on and let the game flow again.

If you use ‘stop and recreate’ methods in your coaching you must look out for signs of irritation from players. Another method is to run the exercise or game again without stopping, then at the end talk about what you saw and how you felt they were progressing. Whatever method you choose, you should quickly notice subtle differences in the way your team play or position themselves.

At the moment, this is how I plan out my sessions in order to include a ‘stop and recreate’ exercise:

  • Warm up – 10 minutes
  • Exercise or game with ‘stop and recreate’ technique – 10 minutes
  • Same exercise or game letting it flow to the end – 10 minutes
  • Small-sided game – 15 minutes
  • Warm down – 10 minutes
  • Q&A with players at the end – 5 minutes

This is a good way to control the whole session if you are coaching for an hour, and is one that keeps the players interested. It gives you the best set-up to get coaching points across whilst ensuring that your players are still developing their techniques and skills.

And remember, a good Q&A session for five minutes at the end will help you find out if your players have understood and learnt from you.

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3 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Wow,something as simple as a 5 minute Q&A at the end of practice seems so logical…but yet, I’ve never thought of that before. Instead of driving home wondering if my players understood what I was trying to get across to them, this 5 minute session of questions and answers will help clear things up. Thanks.

Comment by Daniel

“So always know the appropriate time to move on and let the game flow again.”

Easier said then done! Obviously you want to show your players the right way to execute a maneuver, but if you stop every 3 minutes you might be limiting how much they actually get to practice said maneuver. Sometimes you have to let the play finish and then back track.

Comment by Jodi Murphy

Just amazing how youngsters can catch on to this game so easy. Guess I am just too much football. Anyway good tips

Comment by jwilcombe




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