October 2, 2007
Training The Technique
Koach Karl - Here's the last part of Ray Erlach's article on teaching positioning in youth soccer…
As we said above, teaching positioning at the youth level can be difficult because it is multidisciplinary and multiphasic. The conceptual foundation of multiple triangles anchored to A1, "the ball," must be mastered before the player can assimilate the next steps. But by itself, neither the Y nor the Spider/Starfish will be of major use in competitive levels.7 For teams that have success learning to this point, the last piece is the best.
Obviously, most game situations will call for a ball to space, not feet. A2 or A3, standing on the "target" at the end of a passing lane risks an intercepted ball. So deception, checks, short dummy runs, making space, and fakes are the next pieces to teach. All of these moves (and receiving the ball) are incorporated into training for movement without the ball during the cone dribble and serve in Step 2 of the 9 Step Method. Walking through gives A2 and A3 time to construct their fakes, moves, and routes, and begins training A1 to interpret and predict where A2 or A3 want the ball to be placed and when. Calculating the timing and pace of the released ball to space become the next training level. Remember, teach "soft to space, hard to feet" in passing. The pace on the lead pass, coupled with the runs create GSO's. The finish, or shot, is the cherry on top, but there is no finish without a setup leading to a GSO.
TRAINING THE TECHNIQUE
Of course, there is no point in tactical training if the players do not have the skills needed to exploit the tactical positioning. For the positioning to have any benefit, the pace and accuracy of the released ball must be correct, and of course, the ball must be properly received as well. Players must play "head up," looking, reading, and adjusting. Next time, we will discuss several games you can use to refine the techniques needed.
The biggest killer of tactical training is the static passing lines used by some teams in so-called warm-ups. As the Y teaches, as soon as the ball has been released, the passer must move to support the ball in its new position. Using two lines to pass in a "warm-up" trains to the opposite; instead of a burst of speed, the players stand and watch their passes. Not gamelike, and since there is little movement, there is also very little "warming up" going on. After releasing a ball, the passer needs to practice moving to support — "exploding" past the defender, not standing still. To make this second nature, your passing games and warm-ups should always incorporate movement. Next time we will go through three games to work on the technical needs to developing the tactical attack.
So the Magic Y evolves to 100 percent moving parts. It's taught static to get the concept embedded. Then it moves and dynamically teaches support and shape. It moves, and children get to be creative, get to think about where to go to support the ball. The challenge of reading and interpreting and the freedom of movement creates fun for players. So that is the beginning of teaching positioning. It's only the first chapter in tactical development, but it leads to success. These concepts must be in place to go further. So start with the Magic Y, and before long GSO's will happen. Because shaping is fun and easy to understand using the Magic Y, your team will love these practices. That's why it's the "Magic Y."
© Ray Erlach, with permission.