PRACTICE 9 (Overall Skill Development)

By now, you're probably getting close to getting into playing games, so use this practice for review. Take extra time to go back through the drills and lessons learned so far and focus on the key points.

Ask who remembers the three integral parts of your team: HAVE FUN, WORK HARD, GET BETTER.

First 5 Minutes (Review)

Bring all of the players and coaches together. Begin the practice by reiterating what was conveyed at the end of the last practice and explain the plan for this practice. You can review or explain the fundamentals to the game, including the number of players on the field, different positions, offsides, etc. Address any questions the players may have.

Next 10 Minutes (Warm-up)

Divide the players into several lines on the midfield line facing one of the restraining lines. Go through repetitions of the following between the mid line and the restraining line: 50 percent run with high knees, butt kicks (lifting the legs up high in the back), side shuffle, running backwards; then 75 percent run; and 100 percent run.

During the warm-up, pull the goalies aside and have them work with one or two of the coaches. It is important for the goalies to be properly warmed up and comfortable taking shots before the real action of practice. Also, it is a great opportunity for the goalies to get some one-on-one instruction to help them develop as players. One great drill to work on the hand-eye coordination for goalies is to have them start by warming up with a regular stick (instead of the larger goalie head).

Next 25 Minutes (Stick Skills)

Perform the following drills as performed in previous practices:

Line Drills

3-Man 2 Balls

Three-Man Weave

Next 2 Minutes (Water Break)

Keep your players hydrated with a water break. But have them hustle back to the field.

Next 10 Minutes (Ground Balls)

Repeat drills that were introduced during previous practices. They are as follows:

Single Line

One v. One (trailer)

One v. One (side-by-side)

Two v. One

Next 15 Minutes (Shooting Drills)

Review the fundamentals of shooting that were learned in previous practices. Have the players perform the following drills:

Catch and Shoot

Criss-Cross and Shoot

Next 2 Minutes (Water Break)

Keep your players hydrated with a water break. But have them hustle back to the field.

Next 20 Minutes (Odd-Man and Even-Man Drill)

Review the importance of odd-man situations as an offense.

Numbers Drill: Again use this drill primarily for the odd-man purposes but create even-man situations at the end. Keep track of the score and engage the players by making it competitive.

Ending Practice

In your team huddle, review what was learned and congratulate the players for their hard work. Also, establish the next practice time with the players and parents, and follow up with an email.