Week 7: April 28th to May 4th
I read a few soccer articles as I try to do each day/week in hopes to learn something or get perspective on something that has happened in a game or training session. One of the articles I came across was simply the editors take on a prior article from the previous issue of the magazine I choose to read. It talked about something we often say but struggle to actually do, both as players and as coaches, and that’s KISS – keep it simple, stupid. I don’t really like the word stupid and I’m often reminded by my three-year old that “We don’t say stupid”, which in the eyes of a three-year old makes perfect sense but it’s just easy to use. So in an effort to listen and respond to one of my own kids I’ll keep it at KIS – keep it simple. The editor broke down part of the original article by listing a practice plan in bullets.
- 4 vs. 4 + 4 – neutral players outside the grid
- 6 vs. 6 + 2 to 3 goals
- 6 vs. 6 to two goals
Which is often what any coach will do, lay out a plan then design what to use to achieve each step. The opinion of the editor was that this is fine, and I agree, as it is a way to develop and design a training session. But he disagreed with the overall concept saying that you should start where you want to end. As I read through this section it was easy to see what he meant, but that’s because it’s something we do in our practices. Although, a good chunk of ours are designed as the above list would suggest but with a build up of passing into the game play, it leads more into what the editor was getting at. You may be thinking how do you start where you want to end, as shouldn’t you have a starting point with something in the middle leading to the end? Yes, you should and here is what the editor had to say in his own version of the original plan, remember KIS.
- Make it work
- Make it better
- Introduce opposition
So, the editor suggested that to get to 6v6 as the end game we need to start with 6v6 (start where we want to end). The make it work part; start with simple passing in a large area with 6 players with no limit on touches and no goals. Then make it better for the second leg of training, to do this we simply limit space or touches or another aspect of the drill in order to make it better, in our terms make it harder for players so that they develop the skills to play better. This section will still have no opposition, an important step in the development of players. Then the final step is to introduce opposition and not all at once but to gradually add them so players can apply what they did/learned in the unopposed drills. So with keeping the 6v6 objective we add 2 defenders, then 2 more so we then have 4, then 2 more so we have the total of 6. We start with a concept of 6v6 but with only passing and no opposition and end with 6v6, keeping everything together rather than jumping from one style to another to focus on specific aspects of the game.
It wasn’t so much the concept of the two training sessions and how they differ from one perspective to the next (we’ve done both and will still use both), but it was the KIS that got me thinking as there are many things we could do each day, each practice, or each game in order to stick to the KIS. Often times this, for whatever reason, seems to slip away from us and we focus in on what can we do to fix something. Even if that something isn’t broken and we deviate from KIS in an effort to find that fix. Now, I don’t think we have anything that is broken as we are playing very well as a team. Would I like to see more goals, better passing, more minutes to fit everyone onto the field, better weather, sure who wouldn’t want those things. But lets not go and try to fix anything, lets simply keep working at what we have been doing and focus on making those items easier to deal with. KIS – keep it simple: more focused training and keep it within the areas we do well with additions of sections we need to work on. For us this will be to continue the work we’ve done last week and this week to transition from passing into finishing opportunities, then adding in defensive pressure so we can do both while maintaining our style of play.
So, just a few thoughts on something I read last week and now onto the weeks action.
This week we found ourselves with our very first tie to start our games this week, a game we probably could have played better in and although we out shot our opponents we only had a handful of shots on goal. We also had our worsted passing, in terms of completion percentage, in at least two games. So we set to work on fixing these two items, shooting more and passing better. This found us in complete control of the second game of the week as we passed better than any of our previous games. Making it look almost too easy at times, we also had double digits in our shots column. However, we made one mistake in the early portion of the second half and allowed our opposition to score. This put us in scramble mode, although we didn’t need to as we were playing very well. This scrambling got us off of our play style and we just couldn’t come back from it, thus we suffered our first loss of the season.
Hopefully we can continue to play the way we did in the game we lost, but simply do a better job of shooting and turn those shots into goals. We have to road games this week as we travel to Iowa City for one game and across Cedar Rapids for the other.
KIS – Keep it Simple
F/S and Varsity:
5-6 @ IC West (5pm & 7pm F/S first)
5-8 @ CR Xavier (4:15 & 5:45 V first)
5-7 vs CR Prairie (7pm)
5-8 @ CR Kennedy (5:45pm)