Informal Phase One
Informal phase one participants should first be introduced to the concepts of "space," "personal space," "group shared space," and "general space" in soccer.
The Concept of Space in Soccer
Personal space -- is the immediate area surrounding the body and its outer limit is the farthest reach of all body parts, and their extensions via equipment, at all levels and in all directions, while stationary or in motion around a pivot point.
Group Shared Space -- is a portion of the general space that is specifically defined for the exclusive use by subgroups, e.g., the grid, or drills in duos, trios, etc. in partitions of a grid.
General space -- is the common or shared area surrounding the personal space, and its outer limit is artificially defined by lines, walls, fences and any other accepted or real boundary. A general space may be shared by all members of one team or by members of several teams a the same time.
SAMPLE ACTIVITIES FOR YOUTH SOCCER
Modified and adapted in part from Chapman, S., Frankl, D., Harris, T., McGrogen, M., & Jackson, N. (1992). AAF Coaching Program: Soccer workshop manual. Los Angeles, CA: Amateur Athletic Foundation. (pp. 4 & 21-24)
Activities in the Personal Space (ages 5-7)
Static and Dynamic Balance related activities:
Get the feel of the ball (# 3 inflated at no more than 8 pounds per square inch; typical inflation ratio for #5 balls is between 9 and 10.5 pounds per square inch) with hands and feet while sitting on the ground.
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Sample Activities in Personal Shared Space (ages 5-7)
THE FUNDAMENTAL PHASE II -- GRADES 4 & 5 (Ages 9-11)
activities at this level should be designed to develop cardiovascular fitness, flexibility, muscular strength and endurance through progressive drills and lead-up games.
Emphasis should be on the acquisition of the fundamental skills:
Learning new skills, sportspersonship, having fun, adhering to rules and giving one's best effort should be emphasized.
There is an ongoing need for continuous positive reinforcement along with specific feedback referring to successive approximations of skilled performance with little or no emphasis on performance outcome.
Soccer Equipment: Children need to be introduced to the goal as a target, the ground markings, and a ball appropriate to their age, size, and ability.
Soccer Rules: Children at this stage should be introduced to a modified version of the game's rules (see modified rules' handout, and let's not follow the steps of baseball, football, & basketball--see quotable quotes for Gary A. Fine's observation).
Drills for Soccer: Of the three specific categories of drills (A) Fundamental, (B) Match-Related, and (C) Game Conditions, use only categories A & B. Use a wide variety of drills and keep executing each drill for the length of time most kids remain active and engaged. Move quickly to the next drill and cut waiting and organizational time to the absolute minimum.
Offense and Defense: Introduce children to positional play, explain and demonstrate the creation and use of open spaces in order to 'shake off' a defensive player, to receive a pass, and/or to create a two on one or three on two situation.
The following is a description of the three specific categories of drills used in soccer practice1:
FUNDAMENTAL MOTOR SKILLS
Practice of fundamental skills should take place in a pressure free environment and involve little movement. The emphasis here is on building self-esteem and the acquisition of the correct technique.
For Example: Inside of the foot frontal pass and trapping.
Two players with one ball 5-10 yards apart. Alternating between both feet and/or the dominant foot, pass the ball back and forth.
GAME-RELATED MOTOR SKILLS
Defenders are now introduced into the drill. Minimal or passive resistance is applied by defenders to allow the players with the ball to develop technique and confidence in low intensity pressurized environment.
For Example: "Numbers Up" lead-up game. Inside of the foot frontal pass and trapping- Two teams (one team has twice as many players as the other, i.e., four vs. two, three vs. One, or one vs. Two) in an area (grid) large enough to allow for success. The larger team starts with the ball and tries to maintain possession. You may limit the dribbling and /or number of contacts with the ball that the team with possession of ball may perform.
GAME MOTOR SKILLS
Full pressure is applied by the defenders.
Two goals are introduced to create a situation where a counterattack will occur. Actual scenarios from a soccer match are built into the drill.
For Example:Wall Pass, Reception, and shot on goal (with goalie defending).
Two against one or three against two fast-break drill with two servers behind each goal line.
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THE FUNDAMENTAL PHASE II -- GRADES 7 & 8 (Ages 13-14)
In addition to the reinforcement of the basic philosophy and activities performed at the previous level the teacher/coach should:
-focus on target
-setting body in motion prior to contact (movement into succession)
-smooth transfer of momentum
Soccer Equipment: Essentially the same as in phase I.
Soccer Rules: Children at this stage should be introduced to game rules along with the introduction of each new element of the game (the KISS [Keep it Short & Simple] principle still applies).
Drills for Soccer: Emphasis should still be mostly on action and fun. Both fundamental and match-related drills can be now presented in ways that promote the development of cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength and endurance, as well as agility and speed.
Offense and Defense one on one; two on two the ball carrier dribbles the ball until challenged player without ball moves to open space to receive a pass
work in tandem
person to person (man to man)
offense and defense systems
the defense player maintains a position between the attacker and the goal
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THE FORMAL PHASE I -- GRADES 9 & 10 (Ages 15-16)
In addition to the extension of the basic philosophy and activities performed at the previous levels the teacher/coach should:
Soccer Rules: All game rules should be taught and enforced.
Drills for Soccer: Emphasis should still be on action and fun along with the introduction of game strategy. Fundamental and match-related drills should be exercised in ways that promote the development of cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength and endurance, as well as agility and speed. Game conditions drills must become an integral part of daily practices.
Offense and Defense: Increase the emphasis on offence and defense systems and introduce some special play situations. Introduce and practice intermediate goal keeping techniques.
THE FORMAL PHASE II -- GRADES 11 & 12 (Ages 17-18)
In addition to the extension of the basic philosophy and activities performed at the previous levels the parent/coach may:
The official rules of Little League baseball are given by adults--not subject to change by preadolescent negotiation. Little Leaguers are supposed to follow rules provided by the national organization, and coaches and umpires must be knowledgeable about these rules and enforce them without exception . . . Fore a game as simple as preadolescent baseball, these rules are extensive, filling sixty-two pages in 1984.
Gary A. Fine, "With the Boys: Little League Baseball and Preadolescent Culture," 1987. (Cited in Little winners...page 88, Eitzen & Sage, 1993)
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© Some of the ideas presented in this Web page were modified and adapted to soccer from a team handball manuscript by Manitoba Team Handball Federation, Inc. 1700 Ellice Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3H- 0B1 (204) 985-4161.
Copyright © 1997-01 Daniel Frankl, Ph.D.
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Last Modified: Oct. 05, 2001