Conducting a Typical U11-U15 Practice (Rec League)
This is an outline from a handout that we use at our coach training meetings at Ragle. It will help you plan and conduct an organized practce this season. Come to our next meeting for more elaborate discussions on how to improve as a soccer coach.
This outline will help you run an efficient early practice. As the season progresses, you can change the objectives and intensity of practices based on the players’ abilities and team needs. Use an early practice for player and coach introductions and other team building and communication issues. This includes setting expectations, practice days, and other issues.
Remember our WESCO code throughout the season: 1-Safety; 2-Fun; 3-Fair Play! Stay positive at all times!
Sample Practice Outline:
A- Warm-up – Have players warm up with a ball upon arrival (1 ball/2 players for most touches). Second warm-up phase is running/jogging the width of the pitch for young players or further for U15.
B- Stretching – Have the players stretch together with the coaches. Concentrate on the Achilles, Quadriceps and Hamstring for the lower body. You can add shoulder and back stretches to U15.
C- State your objectives for the practice. Example: “Today we will work on passing and kicking skills.” Stay organized by using a clipboard or “cheat sheet” and follow your written objectives.
D- Start with your designated drills/exercises (see below).
Important Points when conducting drills:
- 1. Use your assistants to help with equipment preparation (i.e., cones, goals, flags, etc).
- 2. Keep the coaching points minimal and clear. Example: “one-time passing with the left foot.”
- 3. Describe the exercise and the transitions (moving from one line to the other. Retrieving balls, etc.)
- 4. ALWAYS, always demonstrate the skills before you start. You can also have kids or an assistant demo.
- 5. Progress with the exercise and stop to make fine points and to RE-DOMONSTRATE if needed.
- 6. Increase ball touches by replicating the exercise (left and right lines). Keep the players busy, not standing in line.
- 7. Repeat the exercise as needed (5-10 minutes each rep ideally).
E. Run a dynamic exercise to practice the new skill. Example: 4v2 or 5v3 passing game in a small square emphasizing movement without the ball to receive crisp passes (e.g., Rondo.)
F. Repeat the above procedures (1-7 + E) with a different skill (i.e., receiving/trapping)
G. Run a 10-15 minute even sided scrimmage. The scrimmage should emphasize the skills practiced earlier (i., e. passing & receiving).
Coaching points when scrimmaging:
- 1. Decide on even or uneven numbers and whether to use small goals or GK.
- 2. Explain boundaries.
- 3. Have many balls ready for quick restarts.
- 4. Keep your voice instructions at all times.
- 5. Use the FREEZE command or a whistle to stop practice and make a coaching point. Make sure all players freeze in place to demonstrate the tactical or technical point.
H. Close with a good debrief emphasizing the good points of the practice and congratulating the kids on a good effort. Discuss the next practice date and release the kids.