As you probably know, to be skilled at anything takes lots and lots of practice.
Either way, with most kids not getting much outside play time and the limited time of soccer practice and the number of skills that have to be learned, getting enough repetitions on soccer skills can be daunting.
Especially with many kids today having short attention spans and the demand to be entertained. So what can a coach do so that the kids get lots of practice, but still allows them to have fun?
I’d like to introduce you to the concept of “modalities”. A modality is doing the same or similar skill in slightly different ways. By changing things slightly, it makes it more fun (or challenging) for kids. It also works with older soccer players and adults too.
As a matter of fact, modalities works with any skill. There’s an added benefit that it generalizes the skill so that it can be used anywhere.
In fact, that’s one of the problems with many soccer drills. They are learned and performed correctly in practice but don’t get used in competition. Have you noticed this?
Modalities help fix this.
By making small changes in soccer drills kids won’t notice that they are getting a lot more practice than they used to. These changes can be made for ball control drills, kicking drills and fitness drills as well.
Modalities can be adjusted to make the drill easier, harder, or more challenging. They can be used to get closer to game conditions.
They can also be used to be just plain silly. This works great for younger kids.
Only your imagination and creativity are needed to come up with great modalities. Here are some examples…
- Use different size soccer balls. Or even used different types of balls. Also, using different inflation pressures can be a modality change.
- Be sure to change partners frequently. Instead of passing for ten minutes to the same partner, pass for two minutes and then switch. Another obvious benefit to this is that the team gets to know each other.
- Change the direction of the drill. Funny as it seems just doing a drill in a different direction can have a big impact on if a drill is boring or not.
- Perform different fitness exercises between skill drills. Push-ups then pass. Sit-ups then pass. As I frequently mention the more you can accomplish at the same time, the better especially when the skill is learned and just needs to be reinforced.
- Change the surface or the size of the field. Try having practice on tanbark or on sand. Do some drills on a big field and then move it to a small field. Even going from small to big is a different modality.
Think about the soccer skills you want the kids to learn and how you teach it. Then spend some time thinking about different modalities you can use to groove in and practice.
Your kids will learn faster, better and be able to use the skill in a game. Let me know how it goes!
To learn how to master modalities, progressions and teaching kids athletic skills I recommend that you purchase Athletic Skills for Soccer. Click the link to to improve your child or team’s soccer skills and fitness.
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