COACH! WE LOOK LIKE MUSHED CORN!
-U8 Player in regards to spacing-
Now, I’m not sure what ‘mushed corn’ is, but for some reason I imagine my mother making creamed corn in a crock-pot. The milk, butter, corn all smashed together. All this matter placed to where there is no space between objects.
I’m going to blame the fact that we live in the United States and that we’re selfish…
Ok, that’s the easy way out…
Point is this about kids and soccer.
Spacing will make you cry in your sleep.
As I continue on my season with the “Peeps”, ‘herd-ball’ is a constant theme.
I’m amazed that you do hear parents screaming all sorts of things, but not once do you hear them yell:
This comes from two reasons:
- They never played
- They were the reason that we have spacing issues today
I laugh at my cats because of the fact that they see a ball and they attack each other in order to play with it…
We’re a bunch of cats!
While I coaching high school soccer I was quick to note that these kids did not have a development program and I was getting…15-19 year old females…that refused to share the ball. I had a bruise on my forehead from smacking my head so many times in frustration.
What do you do?
You start as young as possible and make a game out of it. While in college it was discussed that the easiest way for an individual to learn multiple languages is to teach them while they’re young children.
Spacing is no different, because unlike the child and their toys, sharing is a whole different language.
So what did Coach D do last week at practice?
Take half the field:
- Start at half and mark cones in two lines all the way down to the box [remember, we’re dealing with U8]; this will divide the field into three ‘tubes’
- Have a player start on top of each ‘tube’
- Randomly choose where you’d like to start the ball
- Review with each player that each has three choices in soccer [pass, dribble, or shoot]
- As a coach [young kids, remember], your goal is to stand in one of the three tubes. While you’re in that tube, the person with the ball must recognize that they cannot go past you [the tubes are small, you take up the entire space], therefore they must pass to one of their players.
- This process continues until you get to the goal, in which a shot is taken.
- The catch: remember those lines of cones? Not one of the three players on the field can cross those lines of cones. They are restricted to their ‘tube’.
- Extra Point: Instead of being equal lines, turn the cones into a ‘funnel’ with the bottom leading towards the goal. Players can then work on spacing without cones, passing, and even begin the basic ‘cross’ into the box.
So I ran that drill. And honestly, it went smoothly. With their teeth missing the girls were quick to agree that spacing is wise during the game, while we were leaving the field.
So Saturday rolled around, I was ready for spacing, adventure, and sheepishly…goals.
“GET THE BALL!”
“GO GET IT!”
“YOU THROW IT IN!”
The problem with these comments? They weren’t coming from me, they were coming from parents.
I think I understand why ‘closed sessions’ take place in later years…
No worries, we will get past this ‘mushed corn’ phase.