Soccer Practice

Soccer Practice

Soccer practice, especially for young athletes, should be fairly routine and scheduled. It should help athletes understand and be comfortable with the sport through warm up exercises, drills, skills practice, and a cool down. By employing these different phases every soccer practice, coaches teach athletes the fundamentals of the sport without overwhelming them.

Warm Up and Cool Down

Soccer practice should always begin with a warm up. While coaches may be tempted to skimp on the warm up or cool down to save time, these exercises are absolutely essential for the health and well-being of the athletes. By teaching them to protect and respect their bodies, coaches help create good habits.

A soccer practice warm up should consist of light movement to wake up the muscles and help the athlete mentally prepare for the practice ahead. After some light movement, such as running a lap or doing jumping jacks, athletes should stretch lightly for no more than 5 minutes. By stretching just a little, athletes prepare the muscles for work but do not relax them too much.

The cool down should be similar, but should consist of more stretching. Athletes should spend at least 10 minutes stretching each major muscle group used during soccer practice. By stretching post-workout, athletes prevent soreness and help their muscles recover faster.

 

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Drills Practice

During each soccer practice, coaches should lead athletes through soccer drills. These moves are designed to let athletes practice a skill over and over to perfect it. The drills are meant to mimic movements in a soccer game. Drills should make up the majority of practice, depending on the need to teach new skills. On days when skills practice is long, drills can be shorter, and vice-versa.

Dribble in Place

In this drill, athletes work on foot movement. Each athlete has a soccer ball and practices dribbling it, meaning that they kick it lightly sideways from foot to foot, while standing in place. Athletes should seek to touch the ball with the inside of their foot briefly before sending it back the other direction.

This drill can also be done while moving forward, making a zig-zag pattern as athletes shift from one foot to the other.

Running Mountains

Because soccer involves so much running, athletes should practice in order to improve their stamina. To run mountains, the coach should place 5 objects 10 feet apart from each other. Athletes must start behind the first object, run to it and touch the ground, before running back to start and touching the ground. They then run to the second object, touch the ground, and return to start. This continues until the athletes have run from start to the furthest object and back to start.

Skills Instruction

Coaches need to use significant time during practice to teach new skills. These skills are basic techniques of soccer and make up the basis of plays the team creates and uses during games. Skills can be combined with drills practice, as coaches can weave new lessons into drills that build on old moves. If you are looking for more drills, we strongly recommend visiting out soccer coaching videos library.

When doing skills instruction during soccer practice, coaches should seek to explain things as clearly as possible and provide a visual demonstration. If the coach cannot perform the move, they should identify someone on a high school or local college team that can come in and volunteer an hour of their time. If no one is available, coaches should find a video demonstration.

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