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YOUR CANADIAN YOUTH SOCCER COACHING RESOURCE
Keep Your Head Up
Explain to your players the importance of keeping their head up and developing their soccer vision. Tell them to mimic their favourite soccer stars in the World Cup, who will occasionally bob their head to check on the ball; they fundamentally keep their head up except for the occasional peek down, rather than the opposite.
Try using the following warm-ups and games to give your players the training they need to see things differently and much clearer!
Sole taps - put the sole of your right foot on the ball, followed by the left foot. Keep your eyes up, and practise seeing the ball out of the bottom of your peripheral vision. Start slowly and gradually increase speed. Try not to let the ball move - the sole of the foot should barely touch the top of the ball.
Side to side - tap the ball between your left and right feet. As above, try not to look directly at the ball and increase the speed.
Foot rolls - place the sole of your right foot just to the right of the top of the ball. Roll your right foot to the left, keeping the ball in contact with your foot. Do ten rolls and then switch to the left foot. Get used to the feel of the ball and using the soles of your feet to control it. Don't look at it!
Partner up: Players pair up with a partner to work on simple passing and receiving. On reception, touch the ball once to stop it, bring your head up immediately to survey where your partner is and make a decision on how to pass the ball. Try to pass the ball back with your second touch, looking down to make the pass and then resuming your heads-up surveying of the practice area and your partner.
Game #1: Pinball Passing (also a great warm-up before matches)
Set up: Four players per group are each given a number from 1 to 4. Create a 20’ x 20’ playing area with flat cones.
How to play: 3 players will jog in the playing area, while one player stands outside the area with a ball. The player outside the playing area (#1) completes passes to player No. 2, No. 3 and No. 4 in order, having each teammate return the ball using two touches only. The player outside the playing area should look up to identify their next target before the return pass is received. Rotate players after a couple minutes to give everyone a chance to be the player outside the playing area.
Game #2: Three Colour Passing
How to play: Split your players into three groups and give them different coloured training vests. For example, red, blue and yellow.
Create a appropriate sized playing area. The younger or less experienced your players, the bigger the playing area should be.
Players pass in colour sequence: Yellow passes only to red, red only to blue, blue only to yellow.
Coaching note: Make the game competitive by awarding a penalty point to the team that makes a mistake. The first team to make five errors loses the game.