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Running Practice

Practices for youth players should be focused on individual mastery of the ball and creativity!  For younger players, skills development is infinitely more important than winning the game.  The KYSA Coach Education Series provides an excellent opportunity to learn more about age appropriate training for player development.  There are also many resources on the web.  US Youth Soccer has published a manual to assist coaches in player development called The Best Practices for Coaching Soccer in the United States.  Here's a link to the manual.

A couple of key things to consider when organizing a practice:
  1. Players (especially younger players) have short attention spans.  To maximize retention, activities should be short in duration...10-15 minutes.  As a coach you need 4-6 different activities during a 1.5 hr training session.
  2. If your players are standing in lines you may want to consider alternative activities.  Incorporate games that maximize touches on the ball for all players.
  3. Incorporate activities that mimic the game.  Playing small sided games with creative restrictions (i.e. everyone must get a touch before shooting, etc.) is a great way to train players.