They are becoming more widely used by coaches before sessions. Here, Uefa A coach and grassroots specialist PAUL BARRY lists the benefits of arrival activities MORE
4 arrival activities to kick-off with
The first sight of your presents on Christmas morning, the sight that greets you as you enter Walt Disney World, the lush green turf of the Wembley pitch as you settle in your seat to watch England play.
According to research, 55 per cent of first impressions are made from what we see. This initial picture of any environment can have a huge impact and effect on an individual’s motivation and desire to participate.
A practice session for children, or adults, is no different – especially when it comes to arrival activities.
An arrival activity is any which allows a participant to slot into immediately on arrival, and takes place prior to the official start time of the session.
There are endless arrival activities to use, with coach and players limited only by their creativity. Here are four you can use yourself:
01 – SMALL SIDED GAMES
These can either be even-sided or overloaded games and are ideal for when players arrive.
Numbers per team can change as more players arrive and join in, and the themes of the session itself can be introduced with cleverly planned constraints and conditions subtlety embedded into the games.
Alternatively, the small-sided games may be more ‘free play’ based and require the players to devise their own rules and scoring system.
The classic question of “When are we playing a game?” is answered straight away with this arrival activity. Who knows, your players may even end up asking a different question: “Coach, what game are we playing today?”.
02 – RONDOS
These are a popular option as it gives players plenty of touches on the ball early on. They require an element of concentration, introduce a focus on technical details, communication and getting the feet moving, and tap into the social corner.
By the very nature of rondos, players will likely try different tricks and flicks to keep possession away from defenders, or try to nutmeg a defender or split two with a pass, which can be a great tool for developing team cohesion and bring an element of fun and creativity to the session from the off. Players might even choose to introduce forfeits for a defender who gets nutmegged.
There are also so many variations of rondos, coaches can keep it fresh every week.
03 – INDIVIDUAL OR PAIRED TECHNICAL PRACTICE
The use of individual development plans is common within academy football nowadays. Players with certain areas of development to work on can choose to do so in their arrival activities.
Working in pairs, and learning from and supporting each other, is a fantastic tool to help enhance players’ social skills, confidence and ability to communicate effectively.
This could be player- or coach-led, with the coach perhaps, through conversation with the player, identifying the need to work on a particular super-strength, area of development (such as non-dominant foot) or, for older players, an activity that relates closely to the position they play on matchday.
04 – MULTI-SPORT APPROACH
Soccer is a directional invasion game – you defend a target and attack another. The use of other sports can help players identify transferrable skills which can be practised and applied to soccer.
Handball, tag rugby and netball or basketball type games are excellent for developing hand-eye co-ordination, physical literacy, the element of competition and can also be linked to the topic of the session itself if planned accordingly.