Recently I had the opportunity to run some sessions for the U11 boys team at our club. This team has several very talented returning players as well as some new players who are just coming up from rec ball. They have potential to be an excellent team, but like all young players they do need some refinement.
One issue that I noticed right off the bat was that several players needed some work on being more coordinated with their movement. They need a steady diet of agility exercises as part of their warm up.
I’ve posted the session below:
1) Dynamic warm up
2) Agility ladder
3) Circle drills
4) Game to goals with restrictions
5) Open play
I began with a pretty standard dynamic warm up. Even though kids this age are amazingly flexible and really don’t need too much of a warm up, it is a good idea to make a good warm up a habit. This way it will be second nature to them when they are older. It also serves as a time for them to get focused on the task at hand.
I ran a series of simple agility drills on the ladder to work on their coordination. I won’t go into details in this post, but you can click here for soccer ladder agility drills to see some examples.
We then moved on to some circle drills. These are some of my absolute favorite youth soccer drills as they incorporate passing/receiving on the move and communication. The set up is simple. You can either use the center circle, or make a circle using cones. Align the players around the outside of the circle.
Circle Drill #1
This one is pretty simple. Player 1 passes to Player 2 in the center of the circle. Player 1 then takes his place in the middle. Player 2 passes to Player 3 on the outside of the circle and then takes his place.
Player 3 starts the sequence over. Once the players get the hang of it, you can put a 2nd player in the middle and introduce 2 balls to the mix.
Circle Drill #2
Now we are going to add just a little bit of complexity. Player 1 dribbles into the circle and passes to Player 2. Player 2 plays it back 1 touch to Player 1. Player 1 then finds Player 3 and passes him the ball. Player 3 dribbles into the circle and starts the sequence over again.
When you introduce a second ball, communication becomes key. Encourage players to use terms like “Bounce it” when they want to receive a one-two pass, and “take it” when the player is supposed the bring the ball into the middle to restart the sequence. When you get two balls going, this activity becomes a great deal of fun!
After the circle drills, I moved into a simple small-sided game. We played 6v6 with keepers to big goals on a short 40 yard field. In order to score everybody on your team had to be over the half-way line. In addition all finishes had to be on one-touch (this encourages the players to pass).
We played 3-5 minute games.
We ended with 2-5 minute games to goals with no finishing restrictions and no requirements to get over the half-way line. The players still worked the ball well and stayed connected. A perfect example of manipulating player behavior by the environment they practice in.
I hope you enjoyed this session.
If you would like to see more sessions like this, please check out Ciplified Soccer 2.0 – click here.