Over the last couple of months we have provided our subscribers with a ton of tips and advice for creating quality practice sessions for their soccer teams. Today I want to focus in on individual skill training. But first, let me tell you a little bit about our family.
My wife does a wonderful job homeschooling our four children. This gives us a great deal of flexibility in planning our kids school day. Three times per week I work with my two oldest boys first thing in the morning to develop their skills on the ball. They love these sessions and getting a good sweat going early in the morning seems to help them really concentrate on their studies.
My oldest Donovan is nursing a bit of a sore ankle from a tournament he played in over the weekend so it was just me and my 10 year old Deven yesterday morning.
I came up with an activity on the fly that worked out really well for us, and I wanted to share it with you today.
Deven plays center midfield for his team and has gotten pretty good at receiving the ball in traffic, controlling it and escaping to space. I wanted to continue to work on his skills in this area.
I set up a 15×15 playing area and filled it with disc cones placed at random all over the area.
The activity was very simple. He would start outside of the grid and check back to me while looking for an open passing lane between the cones.
I would play a ball in to him which he had to receive off the spot and escape on the dribble outside of the cone minefield. Then I would check to him, receive the ball and do the same.
We would naturally reposition ourselves on each repetition so we would have to look for new passing lanes to receive the ball. We kept entering and escaping from different areas of the grid.
After a few minutes of this, we added another element. Once we received the ball off the spot (this is critical for midfielders), we had to execute a skill move and “beat” one of the cones before exiting the grid.
Deven loved this activity! I encouraged him to receive with all different surfaces (inside of the foot, outside of the foot, sole of the foot) and utilize different skills moves (step overs, scissors, Cruyff turns, Maradona 360 spins, etc.). We had a great session and were totally soaked with sweat afterward. It’s 80 degrees here in Florida at 9am in the morning right now, not exactly winter weather.
I love working with my kids each week. Like many coaches, I first started coaching because my own kids play (I’m still a competitive player myself). I’m positive that a great number of our subscribers fall into this same category. Most have improved greatly at running team sessions, but still fall short when it comes to developing skills in their players/own kids.
My good friend Matt Smith (a former high school All-American, college and semi-professional player) has put together a program to help individual players rapidly improve their skills on their own. Team sessions are important, but players who are willing to work in their own really see the biggest jumps in their development.
Matt made huge strides in his game by working out on his own or with just a couple of buddies. Now he’s sharing his secrets with the masses.
To find out more about Matt’s Epic Soccer Training click here.