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⚽ IMPROVING YOUR WEAK PLAYERS ⚽

Updated: May 24, 2021

AS A COACH HOW DO WE IMPROVE PLAYERS WHO LACK A CERTAIN SKILL?


Speaking as an amateur coach who currently coaches a reserves team, I usually have a variety of different levels of skills throughout the team. What I want to focus on today is how you can get a weaker player to improve a certain skill over a few months.

To be clear, I'm coming at this from the angle of improving players aged anywhere from say 18 to 30. They might be players that picked up soccer later in life compared to some of us that were dribbling with both feet at age 5. Or they may just not be as naturally skilled as some other players and need extra work.

So here are a few pointers to get the most out of your 'bottom 5' players which may make the difference between being a poor team to being a competitive team.


Some key points to take away after you read this are:

- AS A COACH IT'S YOUR ROLE TO HELP PLAYERS & NOT GIVE UP ON THEM AS LONG AS THEY'RE WILLING TO HELP THEMSELVES

- TAKE THE PLAYER ASIDE AND ASK THEM IF THEY WANT SOME HELP IMPROVING SO THEY CAN SEE YOU'RE ON THEIR SIDE

- TEAM THEM UP WITH ONE OF THE BETTER PLAYERS IN THE TEAM SOMETIMES FOR SKILL DRILLS

- SIMPLY GET THEM TO WORK ON THE SKILL THEY ARE LACKING EACH WEEK EITHER BEFORE OR AFTER TRAINING OR AT HOME.


I have a young lad on my team (19yo - let's call him Johnno) for the last two seasons who has only played soccer for the past 4 years.

Athletically he was fantastic - would run all game, go in for tackles and do anything you asked of him. But he used his right foot for EVERY THINGGGGG! He passes with the outside of his right to make up for having no left and can barely pass 5 yards with his left. He would come back out the same side into trouble during a game because he couldn't take it on his left and go out the other side.


My initial thoughts were "Well, I'll give Johnno 15 minutes here and there and play him at right full back". So I did this and when he was on he was fantastic. But he did get caught out a few times each game as opposition players worked him out and he couldn't get out of trouble with a short pass or control the ball with his left.


A few injuries to other players later and I was forced to play Johnno for pretty much full games.


So I thought let's see how far I can develop this lad. At training I took him aside and told him that he had so many great attributes but was lacking being able to trap and pass with his left. He said he knew this and was embarrassed to use it at training or games.


SO THERE'S THE PROBLEM - A CATCH 22 SITUATION, HE HAS NEVER DEVELOPED HIS LEFT SO HE HAS NO SKILL ON THAT SIDE AND BECAUSE HE HAS NO SKILL HE DOESN'T USE IT AND IT DOESN'T GET BETTER.


So I told him "Right Johnno, we're going to get you using that left so it's good enough to trap and pass with during a game".

I told him to get to training 15 minutes before everyone else and we'd start passing together using our non dominant feet. That was it, just 15 minutes when there was no game pressure and in a positive surrounding.

After a week or two of this I gave him an old ball to take home and told him he has to do 10 minutes a day of wall passing using just his left. He was to film 30 seconds of it and send it to me to keep him accountable.


His improvement was noticeable after a month and he started enjoying his soccer even more. Skip forward to this season and he's in the first 11 each week. He's not silky or able to hit someone from 50 yards with his left but it's improved enough that he can hit targets 10-15 yards away with it and isn't scared to trap with it.


Steve Waugh, the Australian cricket captain, was famous for teaming up each of his best batsmen with a bowler from the team so the bowlers' batting could improve - this helped them win numerous test matches.


Happy coaching! If you need more free coaching tips or Books


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