We’ve been talking over the last year or so about aligning the three teams more so that players are hearing the same things at all three levels and, more important, that they’re accustomed to certain things by the time they get to Varsity. Originally we started talking about common drills / activities but we realized that was too difficult because of the difference in skill level at all three levels, that there are certain things that just work better at different levels. So we landed on common concepts or principals, soccer-specific approaches that we can implement at all levels that might look different in their specifics but maintain a common underpinning.
So here they are, copied right from Guy’s email:
1. Constantly moving of the feet– this may be ‘knit picking’ if you’re not used to it, but I do find that it’s a mental thing by help keeping their mind alert as well as a physical thing of not having their feet flat when the ball comes to them.
2. Winning aerial balls– I found (through taking stats and comparing them to the “eye test”) that if we win at least 51% of balls in the air, we are much more dominant on the field. It sounds super obvious, but it’s the one statistic that I noticed a direct correlation to dominance on the field. Once I realized it, I started to work on this element specifically. I realized that on JV and freshman it’s not the same, but I do feel it would be important to start working on tracking and connecting with a ball in the air.
3. Pass in the direction you are facing– this is a concept that will take practice and lots of reinforcement from you. Their tendency would be to receive the ball with back to pressure and try to turn with it and kick it forward. Usually it leads to the defender blocking the kick OR the kick goes through, but there’s only one or two players who are there to run after it, so the team is not attacking together. A pass back (in the direction they were facing) allows the team to move up together.