Step 1: Select your age group
We’ve created three age group sections to ensure the practices selected are both age and developmentally appropriate. This is significant since what might be entirely appropriate at U14 could be counterproductive at U12.
Step 2: Choose your practice theme
The exercises are categorized into 5 major practice themes:
- Fast-Break Attack
- Shooting/Exercises to goal
It is important that when putting the practice plan together to settle on a single topic. This will provide a clear focus for the session, which should translate into a more effective practice on the field for the players.
Step 3: Select an exercise for each phase of the practice
Below is the Lexington United recommended structure of a practice sessions.
A few things to consider as you build your session:
Street soccer is an arrival activity, not a proper warm-up exercise. Street soccer is a great forum to allow the players to have fun, and to provide them the freedom to attempt new things without the fear of reprimand.
A proper warm-up exercise should:
- Set the tone and rhythm of the practice.
- Begin on time and get the players focused.
- Provide repetition to technically prepare the players for the demands of the session.
- Be related and lead to more success in the activities that follow.
Considerations for selecting a 1st Activity:
- Attempt to “tune the players in” and create a comfort level both technically and tactically for the 2nd activity of the session.
- Be performed under some pressure, but not so much pressure that the players struggle to have success. If this activity is too difficult and the players get frustrated in that they can’t find a rhythm, the success of the 2nd activity will suffer.
- If possible, have the set-up of this activity mirror the set-up of the 2nd activity as much as possible. This will allow for the coach to make slight adjustments to the set-up during a quick water break for the players so that the players are not waiting around and the practice tempo doesn’t suffer.
The 2nd Activity is:
- The core teaching activity of the training session from a tactical standpoint. Coach MUST focus on teaching points related to the theme you’ve selected for your session!
- A complex activity that places players in an environment where they are forced to make decisions quickly and to perform techniques under game like pressure.
- It has a high resemblance to the game itself in that the players are attacking and defending in a directional manner.
- Consider the size and shape of the field and who is going to be playing with and versus whom during this segment.
- Try to keep stoppages to a minimum.
- Observe whether the work you’ve done throughout the session is being applied.
- Take up a position where you can best view the most players or area of the pitch you focused on throughout the day.
- Could range from a full team stretch, a jog across the field or a simple check in with the group to provide closure to the training session.
Lexington United Soccer Club
Director of Coaching