The new coach is my daughter, who will now assist the person coaching my
grandson's team in Connecticut. She has been around soccer her whole life, but now they have put the hot iron to her feet and she is expected to produce. One step away, grandpa is expected to produce. So here we go. What follows is a response to my daughter after she emailed me. Her name is Angela. I call her Angel. You may call her Mrs. Harris. You all know a Mrs. Harris. Right?
Thanks for your recent note and I will try to help. It is rather difficult to do by letter, but we shall give it a try.
1. Yes, I have a paper with the outline of the soccer field. I have about one hundred such papers. I will send you one that you can reproduce up there. I will also send a paper with the outline of the soccer field on half a page. You can make notes on the blank part of the page. Both are from Holland. Why is it that we cannot do this in this country?
2. I will also send a clipboard with the outline of a soccer filed on it. Again, why is this simple teaching tool not more available to coaches...at a cheap price? Such a simple thing. Also, you can use the clipboard outline to print papers with the same outline. Some sponsor should get wise and do this.
3. You want material on conditioning work. Martin is all of eleven and so are most of his team mates. They have not reached the age of puberty. They do not need conditioning work. Young kids are like rubber balls. Push and quick recover. they can work hard for a brief period of time and need a short rest period. A short rest. That is why you should make frequent substitutions. Play hard for a short period followed by a short rest period. Recovery is quick before puberty. In and out; in and out of the game.
4. Kids at this age need work on technique. Make the work area small so that for a given period of time there are frequent repetitions of the work. Never mind a big area where the kids run from place to place. Rather, touch, short run and touch again. Stress technique. Do enough it and the conditioning will take care of itself Technique. In small spaces.
5. I will develop some work for the beginning of the season, or really
preseason work. Turning with the ball. Dribbling and driving as related to turning and most of all shielding the ball. That will become more and more important to the players as the grow older. Shielding the ball. Actually, the movement is dribble, move, (left, right or to the rear), drive and dribble. Think of that sequence until I see you again. This is rather important. Move, drive and dribble.
6. Small games are important. One on one, then four on four, or five on five. There are also uneven games that I will explain. Also very important.
7. Use of a neutral player is important. This creates a numerical advantage for the team with the ball. I wrote a book on this and I will explain it all to you when we next meet.
The main thing is to develop an attitude. About practice and the actual
games. I like to be serious for practice and have fun in the games. The players who train hard should have fun in the games. If players miss practice or come late, they prevent the team from having fun at the game. Think of that one. And think of how you want to deal with players who miss practice or arrive late.
I will print out some things for you, but the main things is to prepare
yourself mentally and the team as well. Recognize the game as it is played in small units. And perfect technique. Including combination passes. The rest will follow.
If you have any question for Dad (rather Alan) let us know and he will answer them in our next issue!!!
You can correspond with Alan Maher by writing to:
340 Euclid Ave.
Massapequa Park, NY 11762
Ask him about his manual (with many 'new' games) called,
"Attacking Soccer with the Neutral Player"