Soccer coaching tips for visual skills

Young soccer players often have problems keeping possession of the ball because they lack the skills to decide when to pass. Use the following soccer coaching tips to help your players work on these skills.

Visual soccer skills

Deciding when to pass is partly dependent on the ability of the player in possession to quickly sight the target while under pressure and pass accurately.

The brain absorbs the information a player has in front of them, then tries to make sense of it. For instance, your young players are having to find the location of their team-mates, work out the speed at which they're moving and direction they are moving in and where their feet are in relation to an oncoming ball. It can all be a bit confusing for young soccer (football) players.

Key soccer coaching tip

One of the best ways to get across the importance of the players' visual judgement is for soccer coaches to show game footage to their players while stopping the film frequently in order to highlight important 'off-the-ball' movements. You can get a lot of game footage from YouTube.

You can do this in a soccer coaching session a couple of times a season. Get all your players together and go through a professional game. It may be good to have a video of your own team playing so you can show them the differences, although I realise for some coaches this is difficult.

As the young soccer players learn to stop 'ball watching' and develop a knack for determining where everyone on the field is going, they will learn to anticipate play development. Then their only task will be to learn to make the right decision about how to stop or assist the ensuing attack on the goal.

Find out the best way to coach children in my bi-weekly column The Art of Coaching Children by taking out an eight-week trial to Soccer Coach Weekly. Click here to find out more.

Click here for a soccer drill that uses eye patches to get players thinking about visual system soccer skills.