Coach and Athletic Director

February 2017

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C O A C H A D . C O M 31 Here are two drills Hickory High School girls soccer coach B.J. Rudge uses during practices to help improve the skills and mental focus of his players. Hickory's 6-on-4 Drill We do a lot of competitive half-field games between our defenders and our offensive players, and one we like a lot is the numbers game — 6-on-4 plus a goalkeeper (DIAGRAM 1). In this game, each offensive player is given a ball and a specific number. To start the game, the coach calls out a number and that offensive player attacks the defenders with the ball. The other five attackers create runs to support the player with the ball. This game helps our defenders with communication, shifting, pressuring the ball and shrinking the space for the offensive attack. This drill is especially great because it allows us to freeze the action and make appropriate coaching points. It can also be adjusted to fit any formation. We will use targets for our defenders to play the ball when they win it. We want to teach our defenders to keep possession when they win the ball rather than just kick it away. FC Barcelona star passing pattern As a coach, I'm always looking for new and inventive ways to train my players. This year, we began to incorporate cognitive-based training into our practices. This type of training puts the players in situations where they have to deal with a variety of tasks at once, overloading their senses. This helps to improve their mental focus and how quickly they make decisions. DIAGRAM 2: Players are positioned at five different cones, and two players start with a ball. Passes begin in a star pattern with players making no more than two touches — one to receive the pass and one to make it, both with the inside of their foot. The player follows his or her pass, joining the line at that respective station. The constant movement and multiple points of emphasis make this a challenging drill. Players must make eye contact with their targets, focus on their timing and avoid passing into their crossing teammates. Coaches can increase the difficulty of the drill by adding balls or the number of touches with each pass. Target Target DIAGRAM 1 ONLINE STORE: TOP 25 FOOTBALL COACHING DVDS NOW AVAILABLE ORDER NOW at Online store also includes coaching downloads, books, reports and additional DVDs. DIAGRAM 2 Circle #117

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