The last 2 weeks of the Soccer season.

           I have had to take a bit of a break from talking and writing about soccer. The school team for my daughter ended up 0-12 and were outscored 108-8. It was very difficult to watch and had a horrible effect on the girls who played for my Rec team. I had to sit down and reevaluate what we were doing, to find the key to bring them back. A bit of soul searching and speaking with my assistant coaches, not to mention tweaking practice may have gotten it done.

Last week I was very disappointed in how my kids played. A short summary of the game follows. Our girls were not moving without the ball and there was walking all over the field. Our goalie scrapped her footwork and just about everything else we taught her for a much lazier version. Our defenders were not getting position abd our offense was just kicking the ball, no idea where it was headed or who was there. There was one excuse after another and it was easily their worsr performance since we took over. We went down really early and the girls seemed to give up. We lost 3-0 and out of the 3, one was a beatiful shot. The other 2 hit our goalies hands and bounced into goal. We literally beat ourselves.

Today our kids showed some incredible resilience. We started slow, which we tend to do. They were playing well for the most part. Girl from the other team hit an incredible shot from the side, it was beautiful, our goalie didn’t have a chance. We came right back to tie it up. Second quarted our goalie was a bit ill and we had our backup in, she did a fantastic job but still gave up 2 goals. Our girls came right back to tie it up. In the third quarted the other team went up again. The fourth quarter our girls killed it. The moved the ball up the field, passing beautifully. Short, quick, accurate passes to cause the defense to move. We came back to win 5-4 against a quality team. These girls never showed any quit and were completely different than last week.

I believe in aggression on defense, put the pressure on and force them to take a shot or pass they dont want to. I always tell them if you get beat taking position and aggressively defending I will not say a word. One girl on defense stood there and watched a girl take a tea break in the penalty area in front of the goal. She did not even move. We immediately pulled her and spoke to her on the sideline. I told her that we teach you this way because this is what works for us. My assistant spoke to her as well and after that she had a great game.

It is tough finding the happy medium between fun and teaching, as well as that right touch of discipline. We want them to play within a system tailored around their particular athletic talents. To sell a kid on this takes some doing. They see big kicks from other teams and want the same. But you also need to be flexible enough as a coach to see when that long kick is necessary. We start our County Cup next week and I hope we can kee p this girls on track. The 3 years before we took over they won 3 games combined. They were resigned to losing each Saturday. Their confidence has grown, but has been shaken recently. We need to keep that up.

In a few weeks I hope to be starting as an assistant coach for our schools girls 7-8 grade basketball team. I hope it works out and I get it. After the County Cup my soccer coaching is over until I can catch on with a high school team. I really would like that challenge, I want to see if I could help them as well. It was a frustrating week, but I believe I found the right way to get this done. I will be writing again this week and am up for whatever challenge is thrown at us next.

2 thoughts on “The last 2 weeks of the Soccer season.

  1. Good to see you mention you didn’t want your team to just kick it. You mention a lot of your coaching philosophy throughout the post – aggressive pressure, frequent off the ball movement, etc – but how did you incorporate these in practice? I’m interested to see what activities you did so maybe I can try them out as well

    1. We started off with the girls passing through cones. Then we went to one touch drills, the important part with each drill os that they ran immediately after kicking the ball. Then we would play offense vs. Defense. This works best because you can teach your players how to pressure and handle the pressure. Each time they run through the drill tell them what you are looking for. Make it a competition. If they accomplish the set of 6 goals the coaches run laps or sprints, if they don’t the kids run. Be specific, for example, today we will run 2 touches, anymore they immediately lose their turn. I want to see 5 give and goes, 3 crosses and 2 headers. Whatever they don’t accomplish they do laps. Defense look for positioning and in our case we teach them to use the sideline as an extra defender. Defenders making good decisions with the ball, when to push and when to get it out of bounds. I am sorry for a lack of specifics, I just recently packed my soccer notebooks away because I am currently coaching bssketball. I will pull them out again in January. Any drill you run, I found it is best to then do it with offense against defense. It worked great for us, saw a very quick improvement. I hope this helps.

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