The year our club is emphasizing the need for our teams to learn to play out of the back from goal kicks and goalkeeper possessions. It will take time for the players to learn how to maintain possession under pressure and build up an attack. There will also be times when we give up goals because of mistakes by the goalkeeper and defenders. However, the long term up-side far out weight the loss of a goal or even a game. If we train our players to deal with pressure and play around it from the back, they will be better able to do this all over the field.
This starts with our youngest teams. Here is how we want our U8, U9 and U10 teams to take goal kicks:
There first choice is to pass to the defender on the near side of the box. The second choice would be the midfield player on the near sideline. As the players gain confidence they learn when to play to the forward who has come back into the gap in the middle of the field created by the defenders moving wide. Passing to the defender on the opposite side is also an option for players with the confidence to make the pass.
I like the fact that we are asking our players to play to feet as often as possible. There are a lot of developmental opportunities that occur from doing this. But maybe the most important benefit is the confidence that this style of play places in the players and their ability to make decisions. Developing technique is important but developing confidence is vital.
As coaches we need to think about the message we send players. When we tell them to kick it long this implies a lack of confidence in the players ability to keep the ball. It also reinforces a fear of making a mistake. Soccer is a game of mistakes. They are bound to happen and we are forced to deal with them. As in life, it’s not the mistake that defines us but our reaction to them. That’s why transition is such an important part of soccer.
It should be an interesting fall season as the players learn through trial and error but they will no doubt be better soccer players and hopefully more confident kids because of the experience.
So tell us what you think. Do you ask your kids to play out of the back or kick it long?
Have a great day!