In this session, we are beginning to lay the foundation that empowers young children to take risks, learn how to deal with setbacks, and grow in confidence. We do this by dribbling the ball, not just kicking it, and setting the environment that promotes taking a player on and trying to beat them on the dribble. We’ll need a soccer ball for each player, 24 cones, and some small goals.
Small goals are placed on the end lines, and players line up on one sideline with their soccer balls. A Bulldog is selected (can be the coach for the first game) and the Bulldog stands in the middle of the field and tells the players to “go”. Each player must dribble his/her ball to the opposite side line without allowing the Bulldog to steal their ball and score a goal. If your ball goes into the goal, or if you dribble it out of bounds, you become a Bulldog. (If a Bulldog shoots your ball and misses the goal, you get a “free pass” to the other side.) Game continues until the last person is caught and that person is the winner. We sometimes play this game 2-3 times as a warm-up activity.
We are stressing footwork, direction of the hips, bending the knees, and leaning the body in the direction that we wish to move.
Players are asked to go through the two courses without crossing their feet, shifting their hips, and bending their knees as they push off in a new direction.
When they finish one course, they go to the other course.
In our 3v3 games, we always like to encourage our players to "take on" an opponent and develop a comfort level with dribbling. It is important that we, as coaches, support this dribbling and do not admonish players when they are unsuccessful. Over time, we will see an increase in confidence.