Third Grade Practice and Game Plans

Remember these are general guidelines. Each player is different and will have different motivation. Work to individualize the skill development of each player. Create activities that put all kids under some pressure and force them to make decisions. The goal is they want to come back for another season of soccer.

There are four parts of the game of soccer: Technique, Tactics, Fitness, and Mentality.

In third grade, they should continue to focus on technique, some tactics, and learning the game at a deeper level. If they have played on a team in the past, they are ready to understand more details and specific aspects of the game, concepts that include marking a player, playing the ball wide, and one touch passing.

Some guidelines that are important for player development include:

Technique

Develop the skill of dribbling using each surface of both feet.

Practice and ask them to touch the ball with the inside, outside and sole of both feet… be creative.

Changing speed when dribbling.

Dribbling with sudden changes can be developed.

Starting and stopping with the ball under control using different surfaces.

Dribbling longer distances with speed.

Sprinting with the ball to beat a defender.

Introduce feints and moves to get an advantage when a player has the ball.

One touch passing of 4-6 yards.

Practice controlling the ball as it comes off the inside of both feet.

Shooting rolling balls with the inside of the feet toward goal.

Practicing the “first touch” when a ball is played to them, let them decide how they will control the ball.

Introduce how they should “prepare the ball” when it comes to them.

Keeping their head up.

Kicking the ball accurately with the insides of both feet over distance.

Tactics

Developing teamwork in the game.

Help your teammate be better.

Positioning “goal side of the attackers” when you lose the ball.

“Marking your player.”

Introduce the concept of support: helping the player with the ball.

“Form a pair” with the player on the ball; other players should stay away and make the field big. (Now that larger/stronger players can kick further, you need to encourage them to bb away from the ball so they can pass to open players in open areas.)

Don’t wait for the ball… go to it!

Anticipate where the ball may go and try to beat your opponent to that area.

Develop the concept of defense: When your team has the ball, you are on offense. When you don’t have the ball, your team is on defense.

Individual defending - taking the ball when you don’t have it. DON’T FOUL.

Playing away from pressure (your opponents) when you receive the ball - prepare it to an open space.

Fitness

Emphasis on balance and “playing on one leg”.

Nothing without a ball.

Begin the routine of stretching and warming up.

Simple, but be consistent.

No strength or endurance training.

Encourage kids to play outside when they are not at soccer.

Mentality

Start simple, move to more complex and add pressure of opponents.

Practice should be a balance of “play time” and a learning environment

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