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Coaching Sessions: ideas & styles

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BTID    45

Thought this was something missing from the youth forum - a coaches discussion / sharing of ideas from the training pitch.

What is your style as a coach? I take a U14's team - of course we focus on a different theme each session but we work more on possession, movement, awareness etc which matches the vision we have for the team in games.

For me, training should be about testing the players mentally - getting them thinking and trying to solve problems in practices. I do a lot of game related practices linked with the theme as the game is a great teacher so it's important to take what you've learned earlier in the session and produce it on the pitch. Everything is always done with a ball - I have never done any 'fitness' training outdoors (ie running, sprints etc) as I'm a believer that the short time I have should focus on technique and developing the player...which involves loads of running anyway.

In terms of manner when coaching, I think it's really important to be busy as a coach always talking to players and keeping the tempo high. Always asking open questions so players have to solve problems themselves rather than coaches giving answers. Also think its important to find time to step out and let the practice progress as there is nothing worse as a player to be constantly stopped or not able to think for themselves.

So what's everyone's training sessions like? What is your style manner? Any drills or practices to share...coaching always about stealing good ideas from others! Will try and upload a favourite session plan which I think has some great practices I've picked up over the years.

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panslad    9

I have coached youth pro and now junior would recommend you introduce saq to your sessions. Speed agility quickness. Ladder drills hurdles etc and Encourage from a young age a good running technique.

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BTID    45

Yeh GT we had to adapt pretty quickly because we were such a small side an bigger teams can dominate games on physicality alone. We have caught up a little this year but it's our football that does the damage rather than the battle which is pleasing (although I do believe it is important to be competitive as well).

I did a lot of SAQ stuff in the states and with the SFA...to be honest I'm not a big fan personally. I just find it boring and time consuming carrying hurdles/ladders etc and use it for a short time in training. I get why it's important though.

We have been training indoors during winter and I've found circuit classes to music are effective and enjoyable. Exercises that work on balance, strength, power, speed etc has taught the team good habits with regards to fitness ie how to do exercises properly and how to structure a training programme. It covers the saq stuff and more IMO. We've also found the time to go over nutrition, goal setting and even got a victory shield player to drop in and chat to the boys about his time at pro youth / international level. Been really worthwhile hoping the weather will pick up by the end of Feb when we go back outside!

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Karpaty    827

It's been a couple of years since I took a team (under 10's), had to leave for work commitments and I haven't done a session since. I agree with everything you say BTID in terms of your coaching style; there's no point in having kids running about through cones and running backwards if it isn't going to happen during a match.

What is your warm up, aside from the stretching? I always used to just set up a small area for a pitch and let the kids have a kick about while myself and the other coach set up the session. They arrive, see a pile of footballs and just want to boot them about. Let them get this out of their system before the session starts and it helps the kids concentrate on the skills practices ahead.

I would have loved to have taken an older group; perhaps 15's or 16's. The main reason being as my style would be to give the players an aim and letting them find out for themselves.

I remember doing a skills practice which involved the ball being crossed from the side; before it started I spoke individually to three players, two attackers and one defender, giving them specific instructions so that when they carried out the instructions, the other players would have to react. It was something simple like: one attacker make a near post run, dragging the marker with him and the second attacker going into the space behind where the ball was being played into.

Ball Mastery is probably the most important thing that has to be taught. If the player can't control a football or feel comfortable with the ball at his/her feet - there is no point in teaching them anything. Edit; and the only person that should be teaching that is the player. All it takes is having a football at thier feet and practice touch and foot movement. Knowing where the ball is and controling it with your feet without looking down. Master this and you give yourself a great chance.

OP - I may still have a few session plans I used for college. I'll send them to you if you like.

Edited by Milevskiy

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Karpaty    827

You sound spot on coaching wise !

Currently working with an under 13's team as an assistant coach and we've found stepping up to 11-a-sides a bit of a mixed bag to be honest. We came in really un-prepared (No fault of my own) with only about 2/3 games at full size under our belt, so the performances in the first few games were a bit un-certain. Find it a really difficult age to coach at times as we enter the 'black hole' years ! For me at this sort of age group it isn't about the results, its about how we act and play as a team.

When coaching I don't really think there's anything to add compared to what you've said at the top ! Always try to keep it structured, give the players positive encouragement and to keep a ball at their feet for as long as we can at training.

One of my pet hates of youth football is seeing teams line up to take shots into the goalie before they kick off a game !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Forgot to mention its the Paisley and Johnstone District we play in !

Is that step up to 11 a-side at under 13 level forced? That is the biggest crime in youth football in this country. I still cannot believe it hasn't been changed.

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BTID    45

I know GT about time this thread took off!

Milevsky, I have a set routine which rarely changes as I feel it covers everything needed to prepare the players for the game.

1. They do the first bit on their own ie Jogging with dynamic stretches and that's pretty set.

2. Players then take 4 footballs and just lightly pass and move in a 30x30 square for 5 mins.

3. I'll bring the team in to briefly discuss what I expect of them and the finer details of the match ie corner kicks, conditions, individual roles etc.

4. Group goes back for final 5 mins and do 1/2 sharp passing.

That's for games. Training really depends on the theme we are working on tbh. Whether its low tempo passing, or a possession based game, or a ball each in a square...I never really do the same thing.

I've taken this team since U12, it's definitely more enjoyable now we are an established team. Plus the boys are older... so it's good banter and you dont have to 'babysit' or discipline so much allowing more time to do proper coaching.

Edited by BTID

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BTID    45

Oh GT, we are in a gym hall just now there is a great practice I do all the time with my group which works on movement, angles and possession.

I had 15 tonight but it works for 18. Split into 3 teams, 2 teams (A and B) in middle try keep possession. Layout 4 cones near the middle of the 4 walls and get team C to stand next to them (extra 2 can stand in 2 corners or 2 along the long side of the hall) Team C work with the team in possession to make 12v6 situation. So C must stay switched on as to who gives them the ball. A and B can't tackle C.

Also, to improve the speed of movement off the ball, reduce team C's touch to 2 or if possible 1...which means A and B must always switch on to find an angle of support.

Rotate teams. Try and get outside players (teamC) to limited touches asap as it really increases the tempo of the game. Everyone is involved, plenty touches, game related.

Hope that made sense!

Edited by BTID

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Karpaty    827

This topic escalated quickly haha !

Yep, no choice but to move up, It's crazy. Young kids playing on a mans pitch ! You find a lot of teams just boot the ball up the field rather than try to pass it about and hold the ball. To be fair though, there are a lot of good teams we've played as well.

The SFA have a section with little sample drills ect' on their website if you go onto [Coach/Volunteer - Developing Talent] on their website.

On a wednesday night we have a small gymhall to use, anyone got any advice on what we could do for a bit of a change ? usually have around 18 boys so it can get pretty tight, normally ends up just a warm up and then small games. Facilities we have on offer are just terrible, the school where the gym hall is has an astro turf pitch they don't let anyone use.

Yeah, they really should be playing 7's until they are 16 years old. By that time they will (if they're good enough) be far more competent with ball mastery and will be able to play their way out of danger and also be more confident to play the ball forward on the deck.

Instead they get thrown into 11's and effectively encouraged to boot the ball up and down the pitch.

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BTID    45

I think 11 aside at U13 is fine, it's the goals that are disproportionally big at this age right enough. Pitch is definitely ok at 14's. Understand what you are saying about more touches at 7's but they also need experience at 11's as well.

Agree with you FC at 14's there are a lot of teams that just boot the ball root 1 stuff it's quite disappointing. I'd like to think we are one of the exceptions to that rule, try to get it down as often as possible, high tempo passing game.

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stevie-dee    1

I take the 2007 /2008 and 2009's at my club.

the way I see it every drill should be done with a ball.

does running through cones make you a player?

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BTID    45

We've been fairly lucky in that most games have been on during the winter here apart from that big freeze we had early December.

Massive Scottish Cup 1/4 final match next Sunday for the boys can't wait!

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paul-r-cfc    291

Not quite been able to develop my own style as a coach just yet. Coaching an under 14s team at the moment but due to not having a car, running my own team is not really an option so just an assistant there. I'm of the opinion that there should always be a ball and I always like to quiz them before, during and after a drill on why they are doing that drill - no point in doing it if they don't know the reason for it.

Got a bit of an incurable clash of personalities going on with the other coach so may move on next season when I'll hopefully have a car to allow me to take my own team - always clubs in need of coaches

I'm at a stage where I'm learning as much as they are - one of my problems is I'm far too pally with the boys in this team. Only being a few years older than them makes it hard for me not to be but that's something I'll try to avoid at other clubs - gotta find the right balance

Like to get the boy's opinions on certain drills as well - too many coaches press ahead with unpopular, boring drills that players hate and as a result, get nothing from. So I like them to be honest if they don't like certain things and try and work around that while still ensuring we cover everything I feel we need to (even if it means the odd unpopular drill)

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BTID    45

I don't see being 'pally' with the players being an issue as long as there is respect between you and the team. I think if you are a young assistant it's likely that the boys will relate to you more. A lot will probably depend on your personality but also the character of the other coach(es).

Can't think of anything more important in coaching than having the respect of the players. As long as you have that, who is to say what kind of personality is the best fit. Do they listen, do the take advice on board, do they understand the boundaries? If so then you can justify any style of coaching imo.

As GT says, sometimes you just have to take a step back and make decisions which keep that respect high. Might not always be popular but you are responsible for the team at the end of the day. Otherwise you just become one of the lads - we are there to look after and develop the players so that brings responsibility to manage and control the group.

Edited by BTID

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paul-r-cfc    291

Think I have the right balance with it anyway - never had an issue with discipline or respect that every other coach doesn't have occassionally. Quick time out and a word in an ear tends to suffice

Would like to take my own team and run it the way I think it should be run

Nothing I hate more than over-coaching from the sidelines - boys will never learn if a coach is telling them exactly what to do all the time and it's even worse when folk shout at them. That's one thing I think coaches should never do - shout at young boys for making a mistake. Helps nobody and hinders their development big time

Edited by paul-r-cfc

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BTID    45

Very true, one of the worst is shouting at a player to do something whilst they are on the ball. Why can't they make their own mind up? They'll never learn if someone is always telling them what to do, even then sometimes it's not even the best decision to make in anycase.

Never really been my style to shout anyway at training or in games - ill usually give a quick word after the ball is out of play, or at half time and reinforce that point next week at training. That way you know they are more likely to take it on board.

Sorry to hear its not working out Paul, as you say plenty opportunities out there and a chance to put your stamp on things.

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paul-r-cfc    291

Ye I agree - always talking to them through drills, asking them questions, reminding them where they should be etc. During the game though I make a point of saying as little as possible while the balls in play unless their screaming for the ball 5 yards offside :P

And don't get me wrong I'm really enjoying it - for the most part it's a really good bunch of boys and we're doing well - I'm just too different a coach to the other guy for it to last unfortunately

Had a wee smart arse remark off one of the boys tonight after I pulled him up for something - nothing malicious just the kinda thing he wouldn't have said to the 44 year old head coach. Took him aside though for a word and got a sincere sounding apology so shouldn't really be an issue. First time I've had to do it though so most of the boys seem to know the limit with me

What teams are you guys with anyway?

Edited by paul-r-cfc

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paul-r-cfc    291

I'm with Celtic boys club under 14s. PLayed a couple of Paisley league teams in the cup last couple of weeks

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paul-r-cfc    291

Heard Celtic boys are quite a decent set up, how yous getting on in the league ?

Few of the teams are all run independently of each other - ours is one of them. Doing well so far - 7 points off the top with a game in hand but can't see us catching Milngavie. Class above most of the league. Good distance between us and third though and would only be 4 points behind with a game in hand if not for a totally disastorous defeat against the bottom team :P

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BTID    45

Coaching Milngavie Wanderers U14 same league as Celtic - I thought that was you Paul when reading through. League rivals on the forum this should be fun!

Obviously a gap has opened up between us but still to play you guys and Arsenal again plus Rangers who look dangerous. Will need to be at our best to retain the title!

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Bankie    17

Hi guys

Great thread to have. I am not a frequent poster to P & B but well done to BTID for starting it. I coach Kilpatrick Reds 2001s and we go 11 a side this summer, but are 7 a sides just now. As BTID will tell you I have went from coaching an adult amateur team (that he played for - he is no bad BTW :) ) to running an under 9s team when the 2001s first started. I don't mind telling you I struggled at the start going from training adults to kids, but gave up the adults to concentrate on the boys team, as I was getting the enjoyment from coaching and developing the young lads as players.

One question I will put out there. Do any of you have a relative playing for your team (son, nephew, cousin) as I coach my son. He is a goalkeeper who also goes to specialist training, but feel sometimes he shows less interest than the rest of the boys, but works his arse off at goalie training. Do you have the same issue? I am fed up saying to him "for the time we are training I am not your dad, but your coach" - never works though lol

I use a lot of drills that I have picked up from various coaches over the years (BTID included) and incorporate them into different sessions. The only running our boys do is a warm up, and the rest is done with a ball.

Good luck to all your teams lads. These boys are the future.

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