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Notes from Coaches’ Clinic held August 3rd, 2002


PRACTICES: General Notes

 1)      Break practices up into three parts:  Warm-ups, Teaching Skills, Game situations

 2)      Don’t be afraid to improvise if something isn’t working – try to keep practice fun.

 3)  Try to keep everyone involved – kids get bored when they spend a lot of time waiting in line to do a drill.

 4)      Demonstrate skill/drills for kids. Children get bored when you talk to them for long periods of time. When you are talking to them, have them face in a direction to avoid distractions. This will keep their attention focused on what you are saying.

 5)      Pick one theme for each week (passing, for instance) and have all the activities for practice revolve around that theme.

6)      Encourage children to play pickup games when the are at home. This will help to each them to be creative and have fun playing the game.

 7)      Try to make sure that every child has ball to use during practice. GBSL provides each coach with 5-6 balls and we encourage every player to bring his or her own ball.

8)   Get parents involved with you practices. You can never have enough help.


1)      Warm-ups are very important to get muscles loosened up to prevent injuries. Alternate between stretching and drills or games to make warm-up fun.

2)  Use dribbling drills as part of warm-up:

a)  Have kids dribble ball around in a marked off area.
b)  Give commands to stop, go, use only right or left foot, or reverse directions while dribbling.

3)      Stop dribbling and mix in stretching exercises: Toe-touches, stretch quads, jumping jacks, etc. 

a)      Stretch hamstrings : Cross one leg over the other while standing with both feet on the ground. Bend over and try to touch toes while counting to ten. Cross legs the other way and repeat. Don’t bounce while trying to touch toes.

b)      Stretch quadriceps :  Lie on the ground on your stomach and pull you leg to your backside trying to pick that knee off the ground to a count of ten. Repeat for other leg.

c)      Stretch groin: Sit on ground with legs spread open. Lean forward to touch the ground with your nose.

 4)      Play games as warm-up. For instance, they can play a game of tag where you can only tag the arms, back or legs. When tagged you have to kneel down but you can still tag other players as they run by.

5)        Some good warm-up games are:   Everybody’s It Tag

                                                            Stuck in the Mud

                                                            What Time is it Mr. Fox?

                                                            White Tiger

    These games are explained in the GAMES section of this document.



 1)      Try to have a theme or specific skill that you are trying to teach for each session. For instance, the first week could be passing, the second dribbling, the third shooting, etc.

2)      Demonstrate the skill first so kids see what you expect them to learn. A picture is worth a thousand words. Have the kids do the drill after you show it to them. After they have tried it, then go back and break down the skill you are trying to teach them.

3)   Set up the drills to allow the kids to be successful. For instance, if you are having a passing drill with the kids 10 yards apart and they can’t pass it that far, move them to 5 yards so they can reach each other.

4)      Give the kids homework – something they can work on before the next session. You give them a goal to attain by the next session such as juggling the ball 4 times or more, etc.

5)      You can use games such to teach skills. Use the Sharks and Fishes game to teach passing skills(the games will be explained later in the Games section).

 6)      Passing  Techniques:

a)      Always use inside (curved) part of foot to strike ball

b)      Lock ankle with toe pointing up on kicking foot

c)      Non-kicking foot should point in direction you want the pass to go

d)      Keep non- kicking foot planted and stroke forward through the ball with the kicking foot and then bring foot back to original position.

Like swinging a putter – leg follows same path as a putter would.

e)      Encourage kids to practice passing with both left and right foot

f)        Space kids 5-10 yards apart facing each other and try to pass ball between their partners legs.


7)      Receiving Techniques:

a)      Use inside of foot to cushion ball when receiving a pass

b)      Use the first touch when receiving the ball to set yourself up for the next shot or pass. Get control of the ball first, then pass or shoot

c)      Encourage kids not to step on the ball to stop it. A majority of the

time they will miss the ball using this technique.

 8)      Heading Techniques:

a)      Teach heading with a ball that is low on air

b)      Use the forehead to contact the ball, not the top of the head

c)      Keep the neck locked and pivot at the waist to head the ball

d)      Have kids self-head to learn proper technique – hold ball with two hands in front of head and pivot forward at waist to head ball.

e)      Have kids practice with a partner. Have partner toss ball in the air (not too high!!) for player to head


9)      Throw-ins:

a)      Must have both feet on the ground outside the sideline.

b)      Both hands behind the ball (when possible-small hands).

c)      Ball must be released over the head and straight ahead.

d)      Follow through with the hands. Have kids slap his thighs after. throwing ball to encourage following through with throwing motion.



 1)      Play small-sided games to teach teamwork, spacing, etc. 1v1, 1v2, 2v3 games are good for kids to play. Use cones for goals and set up numerous games to include all players.



1)      Sharks and Fishes: Mark off an area 10 or 15 yards square. Have balls all along the outside of the area. The Sharks are two or three players outside the area. Everyone else is a Fish and are inside the cones. The object for the Sharks is to kick the ball and hit the Fishes to knock them out of the area. Once a Fish is knocked out, he becomes a Shark and can kick the ball at the remaining Fishes until everyone is out.

 2)      Stuck in the Mud: Mark off an area 10 or 15 yards square. Two or three players are Taggers and the remaining players are trying to not get tagged. Once you are tagged you are frozen (stuck in the mud) until an untagged player crawls through your legs.

Play until everyone is frozen.

3)      White Tiger: Mark off an area 10 or 15 yards square. Pick two players to be Tiger Hunters. Have the rest of the players pick two people to be the White Tigers – don’t let the Hunters know who the White Tigers are, keep it a secret. The Hunters run around and tag players, who can only be unfrozen if touched by a White Tiger. The object for the Hunters is to tag both the White Tigers so no one can be unfrozen.

 4)      Chase Game: Mark off an area 20-25 yards square. Divide the players into three Teams. Two teams try to keep the ball away from the third team. The third team gets one point for putting their foot on top the ball and ˝ point for kicking the ball out of bounds. After five points rotate teams so that a different one is trying to get the ball.

This is a good game to teach passing and ball control.

 5)      Gates Game: Setup five or six goals around the field using cones. Divide the players up into two teams. The object of the game is for two teammates to pass the ball to each other through a goal to score a point. No goal tending allowed. First team to 10 points is the winner.

 6)      Everybody’s It Tag: Mark off an area 15-20 yards square. Everyone is it and can tag someone only on the back, arms or legs. You must kneel when you are tagged but can still tag people as they run by. Last one standing wins.

 7)      What Time is it Mr. Fox?: Line everyone up shoulder to shoulder facing the coach who is about 20 yards away. The coach is Mr. Fox. Everyone asks him what time it is. Whatever time he says is how many steps the kids take toward him. If he says 10 o’clock, then they take 10 steps. If he says Midnight, they all have to run back to original starting line without being tagged by the coach. If tagged they become a fox and help the coach tag players when the game resumes.

 8)      Don’t be afraid to improvise if something you are doing isn’t working. You can make changes to any of these games to give the kids a little something different each week.

For instance, you can change the Gates Game to have the kids throw the balls to each other to move around the field – no running with the ball. This will teach them to look for the open teammate and not bunch up.