Return to play: I’m back!

I went back to coaching last week, although it was a strange form of coaching! It does take time to sort out the players, but having created ‘safe’ areas 2m apart where the players could put drinks, sanitiser and their bags so they could safely have a drink during training it made it an easier practice.

The sessions I put on were all unopposed to be in line with current advice. The first question I was asked went like this: “Dave, can we shoot!”… which sums up exactly what they have all been missing.

But we had great fun, and isn’t it fantastic to be back out there with the team running around with a ball at their feet and just enjoying the freedom. There was a bit of nervousness at the new way we were setting up from the players, but once they got back into it that soon went.

If you are already coaching or about to get back out there I will share some things with you to help you get back out and get the players playing.

Working with players on the wings is a good way to keep them apart from each other while social distancing is a rule. I used Return to play: Wingers with my team and they found it much fun and I could coach them lots of things like first touch, passing and shooting. Keep your eye on the players so they stay apart and get them to play a fast passing to goal movement.

I also find it useful to use skills sessions that keep the players apart while they concentrate on getting the skill right. It is a very useful exercise and one they will benefit from once we can return to playing matches. Try Return to play: Turning skills which is really good for all age groups.

I’ve just released my latest podcast Touchline Tales: Episode Two – Goalkeepers. This is a conversation with the goalkeeper coaches and has some very good and interesting advice.

Don’t forget to look out for the next Coaching Classroom. It is a fantastic way to give your players a coaching session in the classroom or changing room or out on the pitch.

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