INSPIRATION | CONFIDENCE | SUCCESS

Time to build your squad

With the move back to contact in my area of the world it is now a great time to run trials to build your squad for next season. It is not something I have given time to yet because trials when play is non-contact is not ideal. A player might be brilliant with individual skills but put them in a match situation and they will show a different side – and that includes player attitudes.

This may not be a problem depending on age groups but you will need to build your squad – especially when moving from different stages 7v7, 9v9, 11v11 – and think “will I have enough players and will they all be able to cope with the different numbers?”.

So as contact filters back into training it is good practice to plan soccer trials and work out how many players you want for next season. You may also want to pick certain players who are not up to speed with their skills but who you think will fit well into the team. You can set up trials and set up sessions to give your players some work outs to see where they are lacking in their soccer skill set.

Start your planning using my 13-step guide Stage your own soccer trials. It gives you hints and tips about what you should be doing, how you should do it and what you need to achieve from it.

Now you need some sessions to run – Skills round-up is my go-to session for running trials. It is a compact game that is easy to control and enables you to see what every player is doing. It is easy to see if players are at the level you need.

Another good session to run is one where communication is key to the set up. The last thing you want is a player who can’t get on with his team mates, so test their communication skills with a small-sided game called the Sweeper game. It’s a brilliant way to get new players involved and talking on the pitch.

I always run a session where players have to listen out for an instruction from me because it shows they are listening and concentrating on the task I have given them. In Transitions: your number’s up players listen out for their number to be called – when they hear it they join a different game.

Finally, for those of you wanting to see how younger players react at training try Chain Gang. It’s great for seeing how active the youngsters are and enables you to gauge how hard they try to understand and take part in the game. It’s good fun and a brilliant way to see if they will fit into your team.

Also don’t forget to check out my latest podcast – Touchline Tales: Episode 3 Coach mentor. I speak to a head coach about how using a mentor helps him to educate the coaches under him.

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