You have a great practice plan. You’ve read three different coaches’ takes on the exercises you’re doing, so you know all the points you’re trying to get across.
Then you spend half of practice trying to get kids to pay even the least bit of attention.
We usually don’t talk about this sort of thing in any coaching clinics or licensing classes. We get the occasional good tip — all I remember of my original F license class a few years ago is that the coach should face the sun so the players aren’t squinting at him.
That’s why I’m happy to report that the new F license class, the one offered online through U.S. Soccer, gives a few ideas on how to keep kids’ attention through keeping them busy and positive reinforcement.
And Soccer America just ran a good piece that draws from people who have to do this sort of thing every day for several hours — teachers.
If kids are still not getting it, redirect them with a non-verbal reminder while you’re still teaching. That is, use a gesture to tell them they need to put their ball down; their eyes need to be on you, etc. Check out how this amazing teacher makes a 10 or more non-verbal interventions in her classroom while she’s still teaching. This keeps the corrections from breaking and slowing down her teaching, which would only result in more off-task kids.
It’s a good conversation for coaches to have. Especially after my practice Monday.