Clicking toward success
By Lance Eber
Having attendance issues at your trainings? Parents complaining about playing time? Players wondering why they are not getting better? Wondering about the effectiveness of your training sessions?
Use a clicker.
We’ve all seen them. We go to a sporting event or theatrical performance or even Costco ® and the person allowing entry has a clicker in his/her hand counting how many people are entering.
You can use this little gizmo at your team trainings.
At your next training session, hand a clicker over to one of your parents. Ask that parent to click each and every time his/her child touches a soccer ball with any part of their body other than their hands.
Yes, that’s right. Every single time. Offensive or defensive. Dribbling or passing. Shooting or juggling. It does not matter. If your training session is 120 minutes, ask the parent to guess how many touches of the ball that player will get: 100. 300. 600. Maybe even 1,000.
The results will astound not only you but also the parent and your players.
The first time that I tried this, the selected player touched the ball 675 times. “Wow” was my first thought. That was higher than I expected. At the next training session, I selected a different parent/player combination and set a goal to top that previous mark. At the end of the training session, the clicker was at 812. Incredible! In a two-hour training session, I was able to get an under-13 girl to touch a ball 812 times!
So, what did I do with this objective, statistical information? I used it several ways:
- When a player missed a training session, at the next training session I would tell her that her teammates are 800 touches ahead of her. I would then ask her what she plans to do to catch up.
- When a parent wondered about playing time, I would consult my attendance sheet and count the number of absences and then multiply by 800 and respond, “Your daughter missed four practices last month; times 800 that equals 3,200 touches on the ball. She has a lot of catching up to do.”
- When a player wondered why they were not developing their skills as fast as others, again, I would consult my attendance sheet and do the math and then share the result.
- Most importantly, I used it as a standard for planning my training sessions.
Depending on the theme selected each night, I made it a point to adjust the
‘FUNdamental 9-Step Practice’ structure sessions to assure as many touches on the ball as possible. Starting with the warm-up; through 1v1; through small-sided games and ending with full team/field scrimmages.
Missed training sessions are missed opportunities to touch the ball. Standing in lines, listening to lectures and running laps: These are further missed opportunities to touch the ball. When players get lots of touches on the ball, we know to expect positive outcomes. Their confidence increases. Their skill increases. Their love of the game increases That is why they choose to play soccer anyways, right? To touch the ball.
Give it a try and see how many touches on the ball your players are getting at your training sessions. Are you providing opportunities for your players to touch the ball?
Or, are you missing opportunities?
Lance Eber coaches youth soccer in California and is a FUNdamental SOCCER editorial staff writer. For more information visit www.fundamentalsoccer.com
UCLA BrainSPORT Podcast features athletes and experts sharing revealing insights about the dangers of concussions and the journey to recovering from them
How players are supervised, motivated, coached and communicated with has a lasting effect on how they think, feel and function in the sport for years to come. A leading expert shares what you need to know heading into your season
MedStar Health’s Dr. Korin Hudson, a team physician for the Washington Capitals and Wizards, shares tips for helping protect young athletes from heat-related illnesses ranging from heat cramps to life-threatening heat stroke
A leading psychologist and two-time Olympian targets four areas you can focus on with your young athletes to build teams that are more united, motivated and focused to perform at their best