Ball control and ‘vision’

The focus of this U7 (girls) practice was ball control and vision.

Soccer Simon Says
All of the girls dribble around in a box and on command from “Soccer Simon” do various ball control/moves (pull backs etc), leave their ball and collect another, pass to the nearest player, sit on the ball etc. (be inventive!). Throughout the game, the girls are instructed to keep looking up so that they don’t run into anyone else or touch anyone else’s ball. If they are caught by “Soccer Simon”, they have to put their hands over their head, bend over shaking their head and say “oh no, you got me Soccer Simon”.

Stop with body parts
Continue in the box and have the girls stop the ball with various body parts, ie. knee, elbow, nose, hand. Rather than a voice command, the assistant coach or I would touch the body part that we wanted the kids to use. This way, they have to keep looking back and forth between both coaches who are moving around in the box for the commands. All while keeping control of their own ball and avoiding their team mates.

Nutmeg soccer
Split the kids into two groups. One group spreads out within the box and stands still with their legs apart. Each of these players are given different coloured bibs. Each of the players in the other group has a ball. On the coach’s signal, the players with balls try to score by “nutmeging” as many of the other kids as possible within a minute or so. After they have been going for a little while, tell them that they can only score on “nutmegs” with red bibs. Keep changing the instructions as to where they can score… for example blue bibs, white socks, blonde hair, glasses, coaches etc. This keeps them looking up to see where they have to go next. Have the kids keep track of how many scores they get within the allotted time period and do a couple of rounds so that they can try to beat their record. If the kids are moving too slow, add a shark without a ball that runs around and tries to kick the other kids balls away.

4 Goal 3v3 scrimmage
Divide your team into 3v3 or 4v4 games with two goals at each end. Let them play for a while. Pick a point in the game when everyone is clustered around one goal and freeze them. Ask them to take a look at the open goal and ask them which goal would be easier to score on – the one they are currently trying to blast through or the open one on the other side of the field. They will usually see the light. Let them play some more.

Have the kids pick up all of the cones. Review the focus of the practice very quickly, congratulate anyone who did particularly well and send them home (providing someone you know is there top pick them up, of course).