Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America Classifieds
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
Why is scrimmage dessert?
by Mike Woitalla, October 2nd, 2009 3:15PM

MOST READ

MOST COMMENTED

By Mike Woitalla

It seems to be conventional wisdom that scrimmaging - letting children actually play soccer - is something that should happen only at the end of practice.

It's promised to them like a dessert, the reward for eating the broccoli. Do all these drills and you'll get to do what you thought you signed up for: play soccer.

By scrimmaging I mean playing games to goal, whether it be small-sided games or splitting the squad into two teams right after the warm-up to play a game. That's what the kids would do if the adults weren't calling the shots. And it is their playtime.

At the youngest ages, they should just be playing soccer rather than doing drills anyway. When it becomes necessary to incorporate technical exercises into practice, why has it become the cardinal rule that they must be done at every practice and they must be done before the soccer-playing?

When a bunch of rambunctious youngsters show up to practice doesn't it make sense to let them get on with the soccer-playing? If you need to have them practice their passing technique, why not after they've played some real soccer? They might be more inclined to stay focused during a slower-paced activity after they've used up some energy.

I'm not saying that going through some technical work, then advancing through various game-like exercises that lead up to a scrimmage, isn't a good, logical way to organize a practice.

But how much harm could there be in trying it another way once in a while? The kids show up after a long day of school. The coach gets them dribbling around with their balls for a little while and does whatever warm-up their age level requires. The goals are set up and they play soccer.

Try it and see whether you don't make a bunch of kids happy. Besides the smiles, you're getting them ready for the game. That practice replicates what they'll be doing on the weekend with their uniforms on and their parents on the sideline.

(Mike Woitalla, who coaches youth soccer in Northern California, is the executive editor of Soccer America. His youth articles are archived at YouthSoccerFun.com.)

 



0 comments
  1. Paul Giavanopoulos
    commented on: October 6, 2009 at 6:33 a.m.
    On this one I agree with you Mike. I picked up on that trick after my team did some sessions with Iain Munroe. He would always open up his session with a 15 minute scrimmage first, also end up his session with a 20 minute scrimmage. Opening up with a scrimmage first engages the lads right away and makes them focus easier. also they are having fun. Now they know if they come on time pick up a bib and go out and play. good one Mike!!!


Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Youth Soccer Insider
Are the Best Refs the Ones You Don't Notice?    
After a few of the games I have refereed, a spectator approached me and said, "You ...
Jill Ellis: Players like to problem-solve (Q&A Part 2)    
Coach Jill Ellis, currently leading the USA in qualifying play for the 2015 World Cup, has ...
Jill Ellis: Coaches must find their own voice (Q&A Part 1)    
Coach Jill Ellis, currently leading the USA in qualifying play for the 2015 Women's World Cup, ...
Is there a place for 'small' clubs in the USA?     
There is not only a place for small soccer clubs in this country but small youth ...
The 'Sisterhood' factor in coaching girls (Joan Steidinger Q&A)    
Sport psychologist Joan Steidinger's female clients often reported that their coaches told them they need to ...
Kids love going for goal     
The article A Great Start to Practice: Free play!, which questions the traditional training formula of ...
The Two-Ref System Revisited    
Two years ago, I wrote about The Two-Ref System: Its Flaws and How to Cope. The ...
The case for a full-service club: rec to comp    
How important is it for a club to offer all levels of play -- rec to ...
Crucial Concussion Evaluation Info for Coaches     
How should a coach evaluate a young athlete for a possible concussion?
A great start to practice: Free play!    
I have often wondered what goes on in the minds of 6-year-old American children who are ...
>> Youth Soccer Insider Archives