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Two words that should be forbidden in soccer/football: Big Kick !!!!

Big Kick !!!

When I have the opportunity of watching a youth soccer-football game I keep hearing these two words from parents and, unfortunately, sometimes from coaches !!!!

When a team wins the ball back, more often from an error of the opposing team than a good effort in winning it back (!!!) sometimes the player who has the ball is encouraged by these two words: “Big Kick!!!”

Our goal being close to us and the opponent’s is...... there, far away, by kicking the ball........... there it seems that we give some kind of threat to the opposing team. Please try to understand that we don’t give any threat. We just give the ball to them !!!! And because the other team often will do the same, this endless and useless back and forth, will continue over and over.

So, instead of starting an offensive action with a good pass to a teammate, with the ball on the ground, and continuing to develop the action by sprinting to a better position to receive the ball back (never heard these two other words.......... wall pass ???) the players of both teams kick the ball across the half field line, inevitably to the other team !!!!

A sequence of big kicks across the half field line !!!!

This is not soccer/football. This is volleyball played on a soccer/football field using the half field as an invisible net !!!

Please, please, please, begin to consider that soccer/football is a team sport based on passing the ball, receiving it properly and after no more than 1 or 2 touches, pass it on again and keep developing combinations that will permit us to give a final pass (assist !!!) to someone that is in a good position to shoot and, possibly, score !!!!

Naturally, this can’t be learned while playing the weekend games. This can be learned only at practice. But if at practice, we basically make our kids play ‘scrimmages’ pretending to call that “practice”, of course they will never learn to go away from this “big kick” nightmare, which is the negation of the elementary principles that should define a soccer/football game !!!

So, at practices, have the kids work in pairs.......

-passing the ball back and fourth with both feet, (unless you want them to become half soccer players !!!), control it with one touch by moving it to the side and pass it back with the other foot. And, to the side, means 90 degrees to the side, not forward, giving the ball to an opponent who comes running at us !!!

-Have them do this, setting a corridor of cones (no more than 2 yards wide and at least 5 yards long) in which they will pass the ball straight through the corridor and not just toward the teammate, where ever, in that direction. This way they will finally understand that, until now, they were just sending the ball approximately toward their teammates (a few yards to the left or to the right !!!) and it was the teammates who were moving to go get the ball that was vaguely sent in their direction!!

-After 10 minutes, have one of the two serve the ball with the hands in the air and the other one control it, put it to the ground and only then pass the ball back straight on the ground, stopping the endless bouncing of the ball that, of course, will inevitably be prey of the other team. (alternate every 10 times)

-Have the ball controlled and put on the ground with all parts of the body: feet (both !!!) , thighs (both!!!) , chest and even the head. Make it absolutely clear that, there is already a lot of power (energy) in a ball that comes to them so, in order to control it, we don’t have to add power (energy) but we have to take it away so, the control will be based on cushioning the ball softly and gently. (Remember my article about marble and glue feet ??)

-Create squares of 10x10 yards and have them play in that 2v2 touching the ball no more than 3 times (receiving while moving it, one touch, pass) and try to complete at leas 5 passes without being intercepted. Pass and move away (this means sprint !!) at least 5 yards and call for the ball. Don’t pass if not called !!! If the ball is won by the other two, they will continue the same. Try to make it competitive so, by completing the 5 passes, the other two do a few push ups. (which is still a good fitness training anyway !!!)

-After 10 minutes, take away a few intersecting cones and the squares become rectangles 10X20 and they will play 4 v 4. A very crowed area in which to receive, control, move and pass, should be very frenetic without sleeping after having pass the ball. This time too, same rules of 5 passes consecutive. (push ups !!!)

-10 minutes like that and then take away all the internal cones and create a small field where they play 8v8 always with no more than 3 touches when they receive the ball. (receiving while moving it, one touch, pass) Create a kind of end zone in which they have to arrive with passes and not just send the ball ahead hoping that with luck one of their team mates will get it !!!

I can assure you that the above, after a few real practices, will be correctly transferred to the weekend games and, in spite of the fact that some parents will keep yelling “Big Kick”, even if you already explained to them that doing this is not playing soccer/football, your players will develop passing actions that will lead to have them score after a correct sequence of them.

If by chance they lose the ball, all of them will become hunters who will hunt for the ball and when they win it back, (and they will if they’re hunting for it !!!), they will restart, and finally, play soccer/football for real.

Of course, not all the kids will improve in the same way and that’s why, maybe it’s better that a few of them play in a more recreational way in just spontaneous pick up games at the parks or beaches, without coaches, referees, standings, play offs and, more important, no one that will yell at them.................“BIG KICK !!!!”.

Anyway, just to consider all the points of view, and also have a little fun, here’s a wrong “big kick“, too long, that.......................... worked !!!!!

Posted on 27 Jun 2011 by coachgianni
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