Why Soccer Practice Games are Better than Soccer Drills

(Following is a letter from a Premium Member)

Hi SoccerHelp,

I have been using the "Dribble Around a Cone and Pass Relay Race" Practice Game for two seasons and really like it. The "Win the 50/50 Ball or be the First Defender" game hasn't worked out as well, but I've only tried it twice. I sensed some pushback from the second grade girls. I'll try it a few more times. (Note from David: Second graders are probably too young for the "Win the 50/50 Ball or be the First Defender 1v1 Attacking and Defending Game". I recommend it for U10 and older. Instead, try the "Shoulder Tackle & Strength on the Ball Game", which is recommended for U8 and older).

Here are some thoughts on why playing games at practice is a superior philosophy, especially for Rec coaches.

It occurred to me that there is a fundamental difference to the way I approach soccer coaching and the way the girls approach soccer playing. As an adult, the concept ingrained in my psyche is "if you want to improve, you must pay the price", or "no gain without pain". But children approach soccer from the other side. They just want to have fun. They don't care about perfecting their skills and winning games. I do. If I sneak up on them and teach them without their knowledge and make it fun, they will be back next season. But, if it isn't fun, they won't be back next season. And if I yell at them during games and push them to win, they won't be back next season.

Coach Rich