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Keeping practice FUN AND EFFECTIVE

Author: Jemma Merrick
  • Minimize the lines, maximize the ball touches – players should rarely be standing around. Set up more than one station of the same drill, go to both goals to shoot or have a passing sequence lead up to a shot so more players are involved, one ball per player and keep them moving during skills session.
  • Players will respond to your energy level and enthusiasm, both physical and verbal…you should be almost as tired as the kids by the end of practice!
  • Try to make one to one contact/connection with every player throughout the course of each practice and game. Make direct technique corrections with a player that is struggling to execute a skill, acknowledge great effort to the player who sprinted back on defense, high fives as they are getting subbed off.
  • Incorporate some analogous visuals as you talk about technique. Ankles should be locked when doing an inside of the foot pass – what would happen if a hockey stick had a blade on a hinge?
  • Come up with some fun/silly catch phrases that are easy for the kids to latch onto and for you to pull out during games and practices. “Say no to the toe!” to remind them which part of the foot they should be using to shoot or pass. “Zak, Rutabaga!” when Zak is looking up at the sky instead of focusing on something soccer related.
  • Stop a skills session or a drill in the middle when you catch a player doing something really well and have them do a demonstration for the whole team. Let them take a bow at the end and encourage a round of applause from teammates.  

MOTI Sports

Introduce basic principles of the game early in player and team development

Author: Alan Merrick
Over my years (decades!) of observing competitive older players, I have seen that many often believe that because they played at a higher level as a youth, they will automatically continue (or just deserve) a place in the starting lineup forevermore. However, many of these players lack an understanding of basic principles of play that are a pivotal foundation to the game – and their growth and playing ability is hindered as a result.

Coaches need to do their part to introduce these principles starting with 10, 11 and 12 year olds. We owe it to this age group to give them appropriate game understanding so that they can fully meet all the demands of the game later.

A sample of simple principles of play that should be emphasized:
  • Deny the other team time and space and thus, the ability to play forward passes.
  • Attack every loose ball and never let the ball bounce. Allowing the ball to bounce gives less aggressive teams an advantage.
  • One on one battles are integral in a team’s ability to rule the flow and outcomes of any game.
  • Defensive clearances need to be high wide and handsome. If there is any doubt, clear the ball and make sure it goes out of bounds, which allows the team to re-set their shape and get players behind the ball.
  • Never clear the ball across your own goal mouth, it creates undue pressure and ultimately, bad outcomes.
  • Play to feet at every opportunity. Passes that lead a player invariably go the opponent’s goalkeeper or out of bounds.
  • Players who can play one touch stand out and can change the game. They know what they are going to do with the ball before it gets to them and have the vision and technical skill to execute.
  • Always anticipate the second and third ball and win them in order to gain and maintain possession.
  • Forwards should play both ways - they are a first line of defense and can create great goal scoring opportunities by creating ball turnovers.
Coaches should utilize this time in the off-season to introduce some of these important yet often overlooked concepts. Plan some sessions that paint the picture and offer opportunities to start conversations around these principles and help make kids more complete players over the course of their soccer careers.

MOTI Sports Tip: Who Visited?

As a director / administrator it is nice to see who in your club is actively using the system for both Coaches & Players. As you view the Users of your club you can use the e0cd90d1-a707-4611-8806-589cbe9592b4.pngSORT USER Icon to now sort the User list by:

  • Visited Last – provides a list in descending order of users date last visited
  • Visit Frequency – provides a list in descending order of #Visits in Last 90 days

Additionally you can e0cd90d1-a707-4611-8806-589cbe9592b4.pngDownload an Excel File that will give you a spreadsheet of all users and see usage by user within team with in season. The spreadsheet will show all users with date last login and total login counts, by season. Finally, team analytics, allows the coach, director or administrator to view usage statistics by team users. View which practice plans were viewed, how often and what elements with in the practice plan and their frequency.

MOTI Mobile Tip: Working Offline

Heading to the game pitch or practice field, remember you should play every e0cd90d1-a707-4611-8806-589cbe9592b4.png 3D Skill and e0cd90d1-a707-4611-8806-589cbe9592b4.png 3D Drill once, so that if you need to access them in “Work Off-Line” mode they are loaded into the app. A fast way to access them then is to Check Work Off-Line and sign-in. Your screen will appear a bit different. Your Team Announcement board and current practice plan 3D media elements will be visible and will launch immediately without an internet connection.

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