October 4, 2012
One of the top questions I frequently get asked: how do I get my team to spread out and stay in position?
Youth players are programmed to get as close as they can to the ball – that is why we have a crowd of players around the ball at all times. In order to effectively teach using the space on the field we need to visually demonstrate to the players what spreading out actually means and to explain the proper field positioning.
Often, we as coaches, verbally yell out commands and expect the players to get it…we need to take a step back and explain what we would like to see on the field. Use cones to visually explain where players should be on the field. Place a ball near a cone and then ask players to move the other cones around to show what the team shape should be.
Create wide dimensions for your small sided games or when you play a team scrimmage, Let the team know the field is wide so that the players use the open space. Stop the game if the players are still bunching up then re-start play with the team goal to use the entire field.
Use terms like “crowded” and “uncrowded” – ask player to try to move the ball from a crowded area to an open or less crowded space on the field. Ways to do this: pass or dribble.
Use cones on the outside of the field to create an alley for the wide players -once in that are the outside players can not be defended – this will encourage players to play the ball wide so that they will remain in possession of the ball.
Change the dimensions of the field – use a diamond so that the width is greater than the length – players will be forced to stay wide and open the middle of the field up for other players to get open.
Play soccer handball – no feet allowed just catch and throw (players are allowed two steps) to score the player can throw the ball into the designated part of the net….players will stay wide and they will move into space….then ask them to play soccer….see what happens…they will bunch up again – remind them of how they played soccer handball – restart the soccer game.