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Myth: Drills Are Boring, Practice Games Are Fun

Myth: Drills Are Boring, Practice Games Are Fun

I found this tidbit on a now defunct soccer blog, and I wanted to preserve it.

Basically he is making the argument that it’s not true that practices should utilize games not drills.

I agree to some extent. I think both games and drills have their place, and as long as the drills is practical and minimizes idle time, it can be useful.

In fact, when a drill is used properly, the difference between a drill and a game is really just the word you use. Still, there’s some good information on running effective drills:

Soccer drills are an invaluable tool in adjusting your practices to focus your energy on specific aspects of the game. Some argue that you learn everything by playing, as playing the game contains all aspects of the game. However, when it comes to certain areas of the game, focused attention and lots of reps can strengthen both your team and players. …

Soccer Myth: Drills are boring, games are fun.

Drills at any level can be fun if the drill has certain criterion:

  • The drill must involve everyone continuously and not have long lines where every player gets limited repetitions.
  • Constant movement, as in a soccer game, is also a necessary part of any drill if you want to get the most out of your time.
  • Most drills should be tailored to a game-like pace and players should be sweating and breathing hard as in a game.  If the player has the breath to complain about the drill take his advice and turn up the tempo.
  • Add a prize. Drills should be fun (we play soccer to have fun) so adding a prize to the winner, (like not having to run 500 meters) always adds to the excitement regardless of what age you are coaching.
  • I am a big believer in the game situation as the best teacher so tailor your drills toward game-like situations.

Sample Soccer Coaching Drills

  • Passing: 5 vs. 5 first to 15 passes gets a point.
  • Shooting: Place two goals 40 yards apart and play 3 vs. 3 tournaments.
  • Trapping: Play a game and a bad trap (judged by coach) means the player has to drop immediately and do 10 push ups leaving his team down.
  • Heading: A fun heading drill involves having every player use his hands and play throw head catch. It is a game with real goals at each end where to advance the ball down the field the players hold it in their hands and cannot run with the ball but rather need to throw it to another player’s head, that player needs to head it to another teammate and you can only score with a header.

While there are many drills out there, drills are like anything – you get out what you put in. The coach is in charge of getting his players to put in to a drill. Simply putting kids out there and telling them a list of rules to follow is not sufficient to success on the practice field. … Encouragement is needed and praise when someone is showing progress or success. Remember to have fun as a coach and keep it competitive.

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