Coaches of youth sports have a heavy responsibility on their shoulders; they need to build up athletes of tomorrow. Not only do they need to build their confidence and improve their physical skills, but they must also ensure their techniques are fruitful and actually aid in the young athletes’ development. To be following the right practice and routine from a young age, it’s essential for young sports players to achieve a shape desirable for their sport.
When designing practices numerous factors must be considered. Youth sports teams have varying practice schedules. Some practice once or twice a week whereas some practice more than three days a week. Therefore, coaches must emphasize maximizing touches on the ball when planning practices. Let’s take a look at a few things to keep in mind.
Use One Ball for Every Player
If every player brings their own ball and practices from it, the number of touches per practise increases. A separate ball for every player allows practices to include a wider range of drills that ensure every player gets plenty of touches. A soccer team has 15 players, and if the whole team has just one ball, each player may touch the ball 20 times an hour. However, if everyone has their own ball, drills can be planned that easily allow players to get 20 touches per minute. That is a huge difference!
Don’t Use Lines
Waiting in line for their turn can waste a lot of potential practice time. Instead, try introducing drills while you pair players up or place them in small groups. This will also lessen the time between touches on the ball.
Use Simple Drills
It is highly suggested, and proven through ample research, that drills should have a clear objective and be uncomplicated. If the drill can’t be explained in under two minutes, it’s not useful enough. Describing drills wastes potential practice time that could rather be spent on getting touches on the ball.
Don’t Stop Drills or Games to Provide Instruction
If a player is not following the rules properly or making mistakes, it is advised to pull them aside, teach them how to correct their methods, and then allow them to try again. Stopping the entire team or group to provide instructions to an individual break the rhythm of the game.
Avoid Conditioning and Running Drills
Top physical shape is a priority for every player in the team. However, it must be taken into serious consideration that practice drills do not only improve conditioning. This may cause the players to never get to touch the ball. Drills should be planned in such a way that they involve the ball even if they focus only on fitness and conditioning.
Encourage Playing at Home
As there is restricted practice time, it is important to assist players with ideas on how to get touches during the time they are not practising on the field. Coaches can demonstrate drills that are easy and simple, and fun to be done at home. This will create plenty of ways for players to build skills outside of practice.