How Coaches Can Get Their Team to Start Connecting More Passes
Many youth soccer teams that first set out on the competitive path find themselves in a world of aimless soccer.
It starts with nothing more that an ugly game of kickball typically breaking out for teams at the lower levels, where a big 'boot' is loudly supported and cheered by the team's parents, and the lack of any recognizable pattern to the play becomes commonplace.
Don't settle for this level of play. If you work hard with your team, build a solid foundation, and teach to the right coaching points then you can really make a difference for your squad.
Here are some ideas to get your team on the road to connecting passes and building possession.
1. Nurture Technical Ability
You've got to start with a strong foundation if you want your team to be able to connect multiple passes and develop a buildup of possession towards a coherent attack.
Comfort with the ball and a clean first touch is paramount, so dedicate time each practice to ensuring that your players are bringing their technicality up to par.
Juggle, incorporate ball mastery, develop ankle flexibility and the confidence necessary for receiving, passing and moving off the ball.
2. Create Drills That Favor The Team In Possession
If you're working on keeping possession and connecting passes, then you need to setup drills that favor and give advantage to the team with the ball. Create numerical advantages in the drills you run, making sure the team in possession has numbers up on the defending team, and don't keep it a secret from the players.
Let them know why the team in possession has an advantage, so that they can achieve success, then slowly build up towards even numbers where the pressure and time on the ball becomes more tasking.
3. Dedicate Time To Patterns of Play
If you want to build out of the back you've got to practice it, if you want to practice playing through your holding midfield pivot then you need to to rehearse it, and walk through what that looks like with graduating pressure.
Give the players a roadmap on how you want your team to build possession, then let them walk through it and connect the dots in real time.
4. Be Patient And Stick With It
If you have a Bronze or Silver level team, it's going to take a lot of patience helping educate your players on how to build possession, how to develop the right body shape, receive on the front foot, etc.
So be patient, stay calm, and support your players as the start to figure out the patterns of play you want to manifest on match day. Don't expect to play like Barcelona if you're not willing to go through the growing pains.
Stick with it, stay positive, yet demanding, and you'll start to see the kickball fade and more possession based soccer start to develop.
5. Use Video and Tape To Teach
It's never a bad idea to incorporate video clips of some of your favorite professional teams as they build an attack on their opponents goal, go through some Youtube clips, find a passage of play that helps illustrate the type of attack you want to cultivate, share it with the parents and players, and set team goals for how you can follow in the footsteps of the greatest teams by discovering your own identity.
With the right strategy in training over the course of the season, you can mold a team that can create, spot, and connect more passes during a match.