My guess is that, while there are a few clubs that have well thought out practice sessions developed for each age group, there are a lot clubs that do not. I’m talking grass-roots clubs. In an all-volunteer club you are dealing with borrowed time and there’s just not that much of it. Even if you do have some material to work with, there are likely some gaps.This means you will need to do some homework when you put your training sessions together.
While I can’t tell you where to go for passing sessions or the best place for rondos, there are some guidelines I use when I pull mine together. I find that the more of these tips I hit, the better the session. I’ve got ten of them.
10 tips for developing a good training session:
- Lot’s of touches on the ball. I don’t know of there is a magic number here, but I try to aim for as close to 1,000 as I can get.
- No lines. The girls should be active the vast majority of the time.
- Physically demanding. While I don’t want to kill them, these practice sessions should be enough to get them in shape for the games.
- All activities with a ball. When I say “physically demanding” I mean intensity with ball work and small-sided games. No laps, suicides, etc. Just keep it moving.
- Progression in your sessions from simple to scrimmage.
- Activities should mimic what the girls will see in a real game. Limit cone work and add pressure.
- Uses as few cones as possible. This might sound silly, but getting your practice area setup so you’re wasting as little time possible moving around your cones between each activity can make a big difference. I try to setup the whole field at once and I don’t want it to look like a cone manufacturing plant exploded there.
- Simple. It’s not like I can go out and do a test run on a variety of plans/activities on a random group of players to work out the kinks. I need to be able to understand it, “see” myself coaching it and feel my girls would do well with it just from reading it.
- Age and developmentally appropriate. In addition to be right for them at their age, it should also be not too easy or too hard for them. There are some areas where they are stronger than others, plus there are definite gaps. So the activities need to be calibrated for where they are.
- Make sure it’s fun! If you follow most of the other tips, this is more likely to happen than not.