Friday, September 11, 2009

Soccer Shuttle Drills Improve Passing

This shuttle exercise combines a series of excellent soccer drills designed for improving the passing, receiving and conditioning skills of your players. It can also incorporate practising heading and other ball skills.

To begin, separate your players into groups of three. Two of the players should stand 20 yards apart, with the third player in the middle, in between two marker cones. The two players standing at either end should both have a ball at their feet. If the groups are composed of 4 players, then two should stand in the middle.

The next stage is for the middle player to run towards one of the end players, calling for the ball. The end player should then pass the ball accurately towards the middle player’s feet. Once the ball is received on the move, the middle player should control it and pass the ball back to the same player, and then immediately turn and run towards the other end player and repeat the process.

The middle player should be calling for the ball when they are about 3 yards from the end player. They should be developing their ability to receive and return a pass, turn and run. These are essential game skills and a vital part of intermediate level soccer coaching.

The idea of this exercise is to ensure your middle player is running at pace, and maintaining speed and quality control throughout the soccer drill. A good coach must be ready to correct technical faults, especially as the players become tired.

After thirty seconds, the middle player should swap with one of the end players, preferably without too much disruption to the exercise. With plenty of practice, this process will become smoother!

To add some competitive element to the soccer drill, see which group of players can complete the most passes in a minute.

As a coach, the things you should be looking for are rapid passing, smooth and quick turning, and of course hard work. The middle player will be tired after his session, and will have to focus harder on making good passes- make sure all of your players’ efforts are applauded.

Once you feel the players have progressed sufficiently, you can add these developments to further enhance their skills:

a) Increase the difficulty of the exercise by making the middle player use only one touch, increasing the need for concentration.
b) Get the end players to throw the ball at the middle player, again forcing an increased effort in ball control skills. The middle player should either bring the ball down with their feet or volley it directly back to the end player.

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