Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
Why is scrimmage dessert?
by Mike Woitalla, October 2nd, 2009 3:15PM
Subscribe to Youth Soccer Insider

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
The Ghana Connection continues: Osman is national boys player of the year    
For the third time in six years, the Gatorade National Boys Soccer Player of the Year ...
Schalke's U.S. teens eye first-team promotion    
Missing from the U.S. team that reached the quarterfinals of the 2017 U-20 World Cup were ...
Drink up: Hydration tips for summer soccer    
In a previous Youth Soccer Insider we discussed recognizing signs of heat illness. Now we will ...
Tab Ramos is bullish on USA after U-20 World Cup performance and DA progress    
The USA won its group at the 2017 U-20 World Cup and advanced to the quarterfinals, ...
And the Refs Who Do Care    
Recently, I wrote about the refs who don't care. They are the refs who do as ...
Heat Illness: How to recognize it in young athletes    
I am often asked this time of year about some strategies for coaches and parents to ...
The Refs Who Don't Care     
I was appalled as I saw my colleagues officiating. I was to ref the next game ...
USA has the momentum at Under-20 World Cup -- but toughest foe awaits    
The 17-year-old Josh Sargent has, for U-20 World Cup quarterfinalist USA, scored with his right foot, ...
U.S. U-20 star Tyler Adams has been playing up for a long time    
When Tyler Adams showed up for Red Bulls Academy U-13 tryouts, the coaches were quite sure ...
U.S. U-20s enter 'best part of the tournament'    
At the last U-20 World Cup, in 2015, no collegians saw action for the USA. This ...
>> Youth Soccer Insider Archives