EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FOR GRASSROOTS SOCCER COACHES

Inject some fun into pre-season

Pre-season fitness and warm-up routines can be very demanding on young players, so amongst all the hard work it’s important to remember to add some elements of fun into your sessions. A bit of fun can transform the attitude of your players when they turn up for pre-season – it can make the difference between them just coasting and really putting the effort in.

For younger age groups, fun games are an ideal way of getting players to repeat techniques and skills that will be needed when they start playing matches. My two favourite at Under 7 and Under 8 are Star Gates, which gets teams working on passing and forward play with first touch and possession skills to the fore, and Bumper Cars, which covers dribbling the ball and running with it while keeping it under control.

Another excellent source of games for pre-season can be found in the EasiCoach Curriculum sessions for different age groups. Games like Dribble the ball 5 yards and turn are great fun and help develop your players as they get ready to start the season.

For the older age groups, I play games like Shrinking goal, which creates equality between teams no matter who you pick on each side. It is a game that focuses on skill and accuracy, which is vital for pre-season.

Finally one of the games that professional teams use with their players to get their skills up to speed is Soccer Tennis. I love this game and so do my players, we play it long after the training session is over because it is such fun and it develops skills, so it’s a win-win situation!

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