U11s and passing

Discussion in 'Coach' started by Metro, Sep 3, 2002.

  1. Metro

    Metro New Member

    Feb 9, 2001
    Are U11s too young to teach basic skills?

    I'm an assitant coach for u11 boys. None of them know how to pass the ball properly, yet all of them think they do because they have done passing drills in the past. It hit home when my girlfriend's son said I am teaching them things they already know.

    Should I worry about if they pass correctly or not, or just let them pass the ball whatever way they feel comfortable even if it is wrong?

    BTW, one of them crosses his feet after a pass or shot and many of the other kids toe-punch.
  2. wunderkid

    wunderkid New Member

    Mar 17, 2000
    I am no coach, but the fundamentals are important for any sport. Plus you need to knock these cocky SOBS down to earth.
  3. fernb8

    fernb8 Member+
    Staff Member

    Aug 12, 2002
    please teach them to pass the ball properly. They are at a very important age for development, they are not going to be so cocky when an U14 coach cuts/benches them because they cant even pass the ball properly.

    Try to find some players (preferably ones with decent skills and good fundamentals) from a local high school or college and have them come to one of your practices and demonstrate (and talk) to your kids about the importance of learning and practicing the basics. Perhaps this will get through to some of your players.
  4. NYfutbolfan

    NYfutbolfan Member

    Dec 17, 2000
    LI, NY
    Teaching proper skills is probably the most important thing that you can do to help them. If they already have some bad habits it is going to be difficult to get them to change, but they won't be able to keep playing with faulty fundamentals as they get older (by and large).

    Your job is made worse because you have to un-learn their bad ways and they also feel like they've done these things already. You have a tough road ahead but certainly not impossible. What I always found helpful was to teach at a graduated pace, which in english means, to teach one skill at a session but to do it in 3 or 4 different ways so that the kids don't realize that they're going over something again and again.

    Since passing is the thing you've mentioned, I would try a couple of things. First, review the basic instep pass along the ground, instep lofted pass, the outside of the foot pass & the pass with the laces. Then set up a game with cones. Separate all the kids into teams of 2. When they make a pass thru 2 cones they get a point. First team to 20 wins.

    Next, show them how to kick the ball low along the ground. Set up a game where they stand 5 yards apart with their legs spread apart, and they have to pass the ball throught their partner's legs.

    I could go on and on but I hope you get the drift. As they get more proficient, find ways to make the games more challenging.

    I believe that games are important because it allows them to learn while they are having fun. Also, make sure that whatever game you come up with, it doesn't involve standing around in lines because that will bore the shinguards off of them.

    Good luck, you have an uphill battle but a winnable one.
  5. NYfutbolfan

    NYfutbolfan Member

    Dec 17, 2000
    LI, NY
    If anything, it's actually a little late.
  6. blech

    blech Member+

    Jun 24, 2002
    i work with similar age boys. they all think they know how to do it, but some really don't at all while even the ones who do can benefit from more practice and repetition.

    i'd suggest reminding them of things they need to be focusing on for proper technique (placement of non-kicking foot, locked ankle, eye contact, follow through, etc.) and spending some time doing actual drills. BUT drills get boring. so, try to mix it up. taking the regular passing drill, put 2 cones half between the players and tell them they have to pass it through the cone. how many can they get out of 5 or 10? with both feet? the competition is good because it switches it from just a drill to a game, and it makes them focus on it more. let them know that 6 out of 10 from that distance is not what they should be striving for, and maybe they'll begin to appreciate that they need to work on this critical skill.

    then, try to involve the passing in other, more active drills. 4 v 1 and 3 v 1 should be regular at the beginning of practices. take a moment to comment on their techniques as the drill progresses, but keep them working.

    maybe then a shooting drill where the teammates are feeding the shooter a pass to be put on goal. if the pass isn't very good, then the shooter doesn't get to shoot.

    bottom line: it sounds like their form needs work, so you have to go over the basics with them. then, you have to drill it, but maybe can find ways to do that the find more enjoyable than just standing in lines passing back and forth. and, even once they get it down (say the kid puts it through the cones 10 out of 10 times, 4 times in a row), it is still a skill that you can't practice enough. even in college we would frequently start sessions by warming up with a partner 10 and 15 yards away and banging the ball back and forth. there definitely not too old to quit working on their passing skills.

    good luck.
  7. Metro

    Metro New Member

    Feb 9, 2001
    Thanks everybody for all your help and encouragement. I'm going to try some of these in practice tonight.
  8. bungadiri

    bungadiri Super Moderator
    Staff Member

    Jan 25, 2002
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    drills yes, but games too

    These drills are good ones--some are variations that I haven't seen/used (not much surprise there). My only addition to this would be to emphasize the importance of pushing their training in passing beyond the drill. Not to say drills aren't essential for the skill and the age group, of course they are, but some of what you're getting from kids in the form of comments like "we already did this" might be boredom or simple inability to see why what they're doing is important. Incorporate what you're teaching into a game. For example, If you're teaching possession passing (usually to the feet and on the deck, right) have them play 3 v 3, with a "goal" being a specific number of consecutive passes (say 3) among teammates. If you've had them training with long, aerial passes, try this game:

    two teams of 5 each.
    Field: 3 adjoining rectangles, arranged long side by long side. How big they are depends on the age (leg strength) and number of players involved. The 2 outer rectangles will hold more players, so they ought to be bigger. For u 11 rec leaguers say 20 by 40 yards for the outside rectangles and a narrow middle one: say 5 by 40.

    Put one "midfielder" from each team into the middle rectangle and 2 players from each team into each of the outer rectangles. Players can't cross the lines.

    The object is for a player to complete an aerial pass (i.e., lift the ball over the middle rectangle) to one of his teammates in the rectangle on the far side. If his/her teammate successfully traps the ball on the far side, that counts as a goal.

    The midfielders can't score goals, but are there for short passes to maintain possession and set up long passes.

    I did this one with rec league u-12 kids and they loved it--it replaced the awful "world cup" as the game they begged for most.
  9. dolphinscoach

    dolphinscoach Member

    Apr 17, 2002
    Bellevue, NE
    I'm of two minds about this problem. Some of the most creative players I have played with (and against) did not receive much formal training (e.g., how to pass) until they were 13 or 14. For the most part, they were not from the US--and the good US kids learned to play while living overseas. These guys did not play organized ball until age 12 or older. I played with these guys in college or in rec leagues during grad school. A dozen or so of these guys played professionally for a bit (Serie B, Brazil, Honduras, Belgium, and others). To a man, they claimed that they were more creative because they learned to pass, dribble and shoot playing on beaches, in the streets, and in other pickup games. And to be honest, they were able to do things with the ball that the rest of us never thought of. Add to that the interviews I've heard with world-class players who talk about learning how to make the ball dance when they were kids playing tennis balls (Beckenbauer) or on the beaches (innumerable Brazilians). All of this leads me to wonder whether the "boring" drills are worth it, especially if many of the kids quit playing by age 14. (I heard a statistic at a coaching clinic recently that 80% of soccer kids quit around age 14, and many of these give lack of enjoyment (along with too much time commitment, and too much pressure from coaches and parents as a reason for quitting.)

    On the other hand, not every German kid became a Beckenbauer, nor every Brazilian a Pele. And as coaches, the players and parents expect us to teach certain aspects of the game. I agree with the coach who uses several different approaches to "trick" the kids into learning by using games and fun drills in which the kids learn to pass (or whatever) without spending a lot of time demonstrating or critiquing techniques. I show how to pass once or twice, let them try it once or twice, and then move on. As the phrase states, "let the game(s) teach."

    Here are a couple of drills that the kids seem to enjoy. The first has a non-PC title: Cowboys and Indians. My U7 kids love this one. Pick one or two "Indians" who use a ball (or two) for "arrows." The "cowboys" run across in front of them, and the Indians try to hit them with the ball. Whomever is hit becomes an Indian. Let the Indians collect an arrow, then have the players run back. Repeat until a winner is determined.

    cone - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - cone

    i i i = Indian
    c = cowboy
    cone - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - cone

    c c c c c c c c c

    They develop the habit of kicking the ball at a running mate, and I don't mention the word "passing" to them. During the drill, though, you can see them kicking the ball in different ways as they attempt to hit a cowboy.

    Another is to set up several (5 or more) goals in a semi-large area. Cones work fine for goals. Have the goals facing different directions. Break your team into pairs or groups of three. Goals can only be scored by passing the ball to a teammate through the goal, and no players can run through the goals. (No defenders or goalies.) This teaches the kids to pass, and it also teaches diagonal and bent runs since the receivers must run behind the goals. (Hope that makes sense. I have not used this yet since my kids are younger, but a friend who coaches U12 has had success with it. Also saw it used as an example with U10 kids at a coaching clinic.)

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