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As I write this the rain is pouring, the wind is howling and outside it's about 2 degrees above freezing. Time to move the kids' soccer coaching session indoors.

But what can we do?

You won't have time to all the games and drills that follow (unless you're in the gym for two or three hours) so you need to pick 'n' mix according to your needs.

the Wall Game

Place your kids in the centre of the gym. Identify the four walls as North, South, East and West (with very young children you could use colours or place different objects at each wall).

Tell them “I will call out a name of a wall and you have to run to it, touch it and run back”. You could make anyone who runs to the wrong wall perform a penalty such as press-ups but please don’t make the last one back perform a penalty – it’s not fair on the slower kids.

Variations

     Ask the kids to skip, sideways run, etc (but not run backwards – falling over on a hard floor hurts!)

     Give the walls numbers rather than names

     Point to wall; call a different one (ha!)

     Tell them to run to the opposite wall (you call ‘North’, they have to run to the ‘South’ wall)

     Dribble a football to the wall and back 

 

Time for some mobile stretches (better than static exercises)

Up until the age of 13 or 14 you can adequately stretch kids' muscles with basic shuttle races or relays. If you make sure they include elements that involve turning, bending, acceleration and stopping they will also improve aerobic fitness. A big plus is that kids love the competitive element.

Start without a ball and then get your kids to do the runs with a ball at their feet.

     You could also try the ‘all skills warm up’

 

Want to warm them up some more?

Most of the usual soccer warm up games are suitable for indoors.

One of my kids’ favourites is Spiders and bugs (even if they are 11 and 12 years old!).

Improve movement off the ball and communication

A quick game of basketball (make sure the kids play to the rules!) followed by a game of keepaway

 

'Up in the air'

Ask your players to throw a ball into the air, sit down, stand up and catch it before it lands. Demonstrate it first.

Progression

Sit + forward roll or backward roll, then stand up and catch.

Control the ball first time with feet (trap it).

Coaching point

Demonstrate correct trapping technique.

 

Setting objectives and testing

Before you finish off with some small-sided games you can introduce a programme of regular testing. This gives all kids a chance to demonstrate an improvement over the weeks. Read setting kids objectives to get the idea. It doesn’t take long and I’m sure you will find it pays off. Record all the kids’ times and feedback weekly.

Finish with some small-sided games.

3v3 or 4v4. Small goals. First goal wins, winning team stays on.

Coaching points

You can use 3v3 games to focus on practically any aspect of football technique. Look for good control, keeping possession, movement off the ball, quick shooting, 123 defending, etc.

 

Suggested equipment list: indoor footballs or Futsals (ideally one for each child), stopwatch, cones, pad/pencil and bibs.

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