I thought I would get back to you as someone emailed and asked what I thought of the Figure 8 and 'the SERVE'. Here is what I have found:
We warm up with the figure 8s which I practice in my backyard myself. When I am practicing I think of ways to change it up and then show the boys. I start with pushups to get the blood flowing and maybe get some upper body strength (we also do them several more times in the warm and if there is a little too much screwing around).
What I usually do is right foot only, left foot only, inside of foot only, outside of foot only and then both feet either side of the foot with pull backs.
I am trying to get them to accelerate between cones after they do the turn. I also add boxing and a moving stork once in awhile to get the blood flowing. This has evolved over the course of the season.
What we do in the time the cones are up is practice a feint (we work on three different ones). This requires a lot of my coaching and things get a little out of hand when I spend too much time with one player as I have the most energetic u14 known to man. The result is that my son is dribbling way better then I have ever seen, he dribbled through three players yesterday and shot on goal for a score. All the players are way more comfortable with the ball.
We only do this twice a week so it is not much (we only practice twice a week) but have gotten great results…!
As far as 'the SERVE' goes I used it regularly in the first part of the season but have pretty much dropped it as I received a lot of complaints from the boys. The one thing that I am reminded of is "keep it fun" and since I am such a technocrat I forget this all the time so decided to give in on this. It was getting so distracting that we were losing sight of the theme of the day (these guys have the attention span of a gnat).
The other thing is that they do not seem to see how it is associated with soccer as it seems like an artificial environment that calls for moves that they don't see any point doing (I do see the point but it is hard to get that across and only then with great effort).
I think it has a place as a great introduction to all the 1 + 1 and 1v 1 lessons as they love to go at each other. After that I think I am better off putting them on the field and creating the situation on the part of the field where it might occur.
My team is a mix of 7 new players that have never played on a team but have played some street soccer as they are Latino and 6 under 13 and a couple of under 12 (we have 18 overall which is a nightmare to sub for but I have developed a system for us that works really well).
So far we are doing way better then I expected in class 4 Gold flight (3-1-1). Our loss was to a class 3 team that did not get registered and has played together for years. I think a lot of this has to do with things that you showed us and that you and I talked about.
I still don't like raising my voice but with this group it is the only thing they understand. I am going to start deducting game minutes and see if that helps simmer down the motor mouths. The thing is this is my favorite team and they have real enthusiasm, I just have to work very hard to focus it.
You might get a kick out of this, one of my players on def who is always talking is right in the middle of a match talking with another defender like they just met on the street to talk. He is a really nice kid just talkative. It is a real possibility that we are talking ADD for about four or five members of this group. But, like I said we are making FANtastic progress using the Figure 8 warmup and 'the SERVE' and having FUN using both!
Koach Karl responds:
Thank you for the correspondence and helping me get the message across - that, 'we can disguise repetition as being FUN and that repetition is necessary when learning to love playing this wonderful game.' Your words will help convince even more coaches to use our 'proven' routine.
As for 'the Serve'... many coaches give up on this phase because it is indeed work to get the players to enjoy it. With enough complaints 'because it is work' the coaches do give up. Can you imagine what would happen if teachers did the same when teaching basic math, abc, or other subjects?
Sometimes (we) coaches need to insist on players following our requests because they are 'good for them.' And I have found many coaches who have 'stuck' to working on 'the Serve' with terrific results!
I hope you get back and give this phase another attempt with no options. Pretend, you are working on teaching them the 'free throw' in basketball. I have heard of many basketball players complain about having to take them - including Shaq - get the picture?
Your 'grateful' friend,
FUNdamental Reader want to share your experiences using 'the FUNdamental ROUTINE?' Send them to us for future publication!!!