It’s Saturday so let’s talk soccer

The issue with VDM30in30 is you really have to plan out what you are going to blog about for 30 days. Then you have to assume that someone is going to read it and need to make sense of it.

I watched my stats for last year and my weekday posts had significant uptick in viewership but the weekend posts went largely ignored. So this time around I wanted to try something different and post about a non-technology subject on the weekends. This year I am not doing a large number of posts upfront and scheduling them instead I am writing them each the night or day before they need to go live. This adds some stress to be sure but hopefully not too much.

Saturdays for me are about time with my wife and kids and mostly about soccer during 3 out of 4 seasons of the year. As some of you know I coach 2 soccer teams a U13 and a U8 team for my daughter and son. I have played soccer my entire life and love the game. As the sport has grown in popularity I see more and more in the IT world talking about it and asking for drills for their kids.

So I figured this weekend we could take some time to talk soccer coaching! Today’s topic Offense:

It’s important when teaching young players to explain how a field is laid out. I start by describing how we divide a soccer field or pitch into 3rds horizontally. The defensive, midfield, and attacking 3rds.

The Defensive 3rd is where we want to clear the ball away from our goal, the midfield 3rd is the toughest area of the field and is important to win the ball and use controlled passing, the attacking third is all about playing the ball into the box and centering for shots on goal.

For young kids they all want to chase a ball around the field especially at U6-U9. To get them away from the herd mentality it’s good to explain the soccer field with the 3rds and then carve it up again for them vertically. With each wing zone being a 3rd and then a center 3rd for the striker.

Kids understand zones or bases from playing tag so reinforcing that message is easy when using fun drills like wall passing or just cross and shoot with 3 offensive players. Here are some of my favorites.

Something that coaches always ask and parents as well is how to work on aggressiveness. “My kid just doesn’t want to get after the ball”, or “they aren’t attacking enough”. Believe me if I had a cure for that I would be the greatest youth coach of all time. The answer is it comes to each kid in their own time. Sometimes it never comes because they are super sweet kids and overly kind (aka my daughter most games). But if you are coaching and need to get the kids to attack on offense more and challenge the ball. I love the 50/50 challenge there is a link below but essentially it’s two lines on either side of the goal 3 ft off the end line. The coach tosses the ball over the goal out onto the field the first two players in line charge out win the ball and each tries to score, an steal the ball from the other player. Play ends with a goal or out of bounds ball is played.

Finally a drill I run a lot is the run and cross. I believe firmly that youth soccer should play inside out to outside in. That means you never play a ball into the middle of your own goal always play out to the sidelines, and take the open sidelines to the corner in the attacking 3rd to play the ball into the box where the striker and far wing are waiting. I do this drill until players hate it but honestly its one of the best to teach soccer the way it’s meant to be played on the attack.

So let me know what you think about a non-tech post and if you have some favorite drills for your kids I am all ears.