Written by Phil Weaver, UTHS Head Coach and Director of Coaching for EMSSC
Drills - are a means to an end – the end being coordinated, organized team play. In order to achieve the final format, we divide the learning into four basic categories:
Skill drills - are for acquiring a specific skill, such as passing, heading, etc.
- Skill Drills
- Basic Patterns
- Special Plays
Basic patterns - involve small groups of players, with the players’ final objective being to move the ball toward a goal.
Special plays - are drills and set plays for special situations that occur during a game, such as kick-off plays, throw-ins, corner and free kicks.
The Training section - includes training games, individual and team activities with and without the ball to develop the physical and mental character of the player.
Why use drills – In teaching soccer skills and play patterns, it is not possible to achieve a higher level of performance without repetition in your practice sessions.
- Why use skill drills?
- How do drills improve team play?
- What are the steps to teaching a drill?
- What are the key principles for effective drills?
- What steps are used to develop a team for match play?
During game situations, the frequency of a basic play pattern repetition or the performance of a specific skill does not occur enough to produce economical learning. For this reason, drills performed by small groups of players produce the opportunity for more players to participate more frequently in the action, and simultaneously save time.
Repetition enables you to analyze the players performing in a drill situation more often than you could in a full game situation. Thus an economical stage is set for correcting the mistakes that the players may make. It is up to you to correct undesirable habits and reinforce the desired habitual skills and play patterns.
Drills are for accomplishing an offensive or defensive objective, there are special skills that are unique to the position one plays. Modern soccer requires that all players train and practice both offensive and defensive skills and tactics in small groups and through drills designed for the entire team.
What are the steps for teaching a drill?
Key principles for effective drills fall into two categories: execution and general.
- Introduce the drill – Give a brief explanation of how the drill is performed and how it relates to the game situation.
- Demonstrate – by using a group of players to walk through the mechanics of the drill.
- Explain – the parts of the drill while the group is performing.
- Organize – players into groups, break the players down into the specific number required to perform the drill.
- Execute - the drill by having the group carry it out.
- Correct – mistakes and reinforce good performances.
- Practice – until you are certain that learning and understanding has taken place.
- No drill is worth much unless it specifically relates to what happens in the game of soccer.
- Players should be made aware of how the drill relates to the game of soccer.
- Drills should not take up more than a quarter of the practice session, unless a special need for more time is evident.
- Drill s should be introduced at a slow pace and you can gradually increase the performance speed as learning occurs.
- Drills should be modified to accommodate the physical fitness, age and abilities of the players.
- Drills should relate to the system of play that the team is planning to use.
- Drills should be set up to cover all phases of soccer such as defense, midfield and attack.
- Drills should be kept simple, and should be easily understood by the players.
- A long range plan should be developed so that players will receive several types of experiences from a variety of drills.
- Drills should be used extensively in pre-season and in mid – late season they can be used as the need develops.
- Drills should move from simple to complex, using unopposed, semi-opposed and full pressure as the skill develops.
- Modify a drill if it does not fit your team’s needs.
- Drills should not become monotonous, add variety to maintain interest.
- As fatigue sets in, technique deteriorates and the quality of learning becomes impaired. Frequent rest periods are recommended to combat this.
- If initial attempts at a drill fail, persistence will pay off.
- Show enthusiasm about the value of drills, it will spread to your players.
- The objective of drilling is to make the players perform automatically when confronted by a similar situation in match play.
Ultimately, team practice is centered around the scrimmage. During the scrimmage you interrupt play in order to point out situations and plays that should or should not have transpired. You can also interrupt to introduce special plays or set conditions as the scrimmage develops. At this point, the players are practicing not just the technical aspects of the game, but also small group tactics, stopping the play to address specific needs is essential to the learning process.
- Review the drill procedure before a practice session and make sure you know how it works, be prepared.
- When introducing a new drill walk one group of players through it so that it can be observed by the other players and they can see how it works.
- Avoid talking too much. Get the players into action. Players learn by doing.
- Break the drill down into key steps or key words that will help the players remember the drill sequence.
- Involve as many players as possible in a drill, avoid players sitting or standing around for long periods.
- When technical or tactical errors occur, break the momentum to correct the error.
- Provide for lines or groups of traffic, organization, so that players are not obstructed by each other.
- Praise and encourage the groups that perform and execute the drill well, encourage players who are experiencing difficulty.
- Caution players about unnecessary roughness, careless play and dangerous practices.
- If drills call for boundary lines, insist that players stay inside of them.
- Set – up flags, poles, cones that are needed, beforehand.
- Don’t put all of the good players in one group, distribute them evenly.
- Make sure all players experience both offensive and defensive roles.
- Insist on good technique.
- In grid drills, the smaller the area, the greater the pressure will be and the greater the demand for concentration.
- The final objective should be efficient, confident ball control and movement.
The Wiel Coerver training system is a series of drills and soccer related exercises that cover the soccer fundamentals for players and coaches.
There are many kinds of coaches , but a few who are willing to concentrate on the basics of technical training, Circuit and condition training are no longer enough, practical training sessions are important but should encompass drills that encourage the development of skill for all facets of the game, defensively and offensively that encourage the player to work on all aspects of his game.
The Coerver System concentrates upon DEVELOPING A SUCCESSFUL TRAINING PLAN.
The plan is intended for players who wish to master as many techniques as possible, and have the mentality to do so. Players who begin this plan at the age of ten will have the technical abilities of some of the best players by the age of sixteen.
The Training Program is divided into seven phases, with each one emphasizing specific technical training:
Phase One emphasizes ball contact with specifics on controlling both the ball and the body. This skill is reinforced throughout the remainder of the program.
Phase Two lets the player put the ball techniques of Phase One into practice. Your players learn to keep possession of the ball despite the presence of an opponent, to shield and still come away with the ball in your possession.
- Basic techniques
- Flexibility and agility on the ball
- Fast footwork on the ball
- Looking beyond the ball
- Feinting while in possession of the ball
- Creating and improvising
- Kicking technique
Phase Three tells a player how to get past an opponent either alone or with the help of a teammate. Also emphasized is passing, proper use of a pass can cause any defense problems.
- Receiving the ball and moving with it
- Shielding the ball
- Dribbling to beat an opponent
- Group games (scrimmage)
Phase Four teaches how to shoot, head and finish off individual moves, the techniques that are learned are then used in group games in which the emphasis is on scoring.
- Techniques for beating an opponent
- Practicing the techniques under pressure
- Beating an opponent or a one, two combination
- Passing to an upcoming player
- Group games (scrimmage)
Phase Five zeroes in on working the techniques that will help you acquire the optimal match condition for your players.
- Individual play
- Group games ( scrimmage)
Phase Six when all the attacking techniques have been mastered, is attention given to defense, only when all the techniques have been learned and applied with speed against full opposition, should the sixth phase begin.
- Agility and flexibility
- Basic stamina
- Stamina and speed of play
Phase Seven emphasizes moving without the ball. The object is to ensure that throughout a game players will be in the right place at the right time.
- Block tackles
- Sliding tackles
- Containment and delay
- Principles of defense (balance, concentration, depth)
Naturally players sixteen or older to whom competition is important, do not have to adhere precisely to this order. You can vary the phases based upon your teams individual needs and preferences. You should also feel free to improvise and use your own creative influences.
The Role of the Coach
- Principles of offense
- Principles of defense
To apply the training program to all those players who want to become technically creative players, coaches are needed who have mastered its content and can demonstrate them to perfection.
Personal and Emotional Growth
Besides technical development, the personal and mental development of the player is crucial. Encourage players to work independently of the coach, to be able to work on developing their own potential.
Tactical training means looking beyond the ball. Once the techniques are mastered it is up to you as the coach to develop a players’ best use of the ball with the combined movement of the team, to achieve the ultimate goal.
Finding that something extra
The extra qualities that special players bring to their game, creativity, improvisation, leadership, enthusiasm, pride, desire.
The whole program is supported by DVD/VHS media material, Photographic Plates.