Keeping Soccer Practices Dynamic

Static vs. Dynamic Soccer Drills in Practice Plans

A Look at using Static vs. Dynamic Soccer Drills in Youth Soccer Practices

To start, please watch this short 1 minute video from a recent United States Soccer Federation (USSF) ‘B’ license. For background, this is a Stage 2 activity (meaning, done after the warm up), and the topic is Crossing And Finishing In A 4-4-2 Formation. While watching, ask yourself what you like about the activity, and what you dislike.

Here are a couple takeaways from the video, starting with the positives:

  • Creates opportunities to practice several techniques without pressure
  • Gives a moving target to cross to
  • Allows for opportunities to shoot on goal (we don’t incorporate finishing enough in our practices)
  • Introduces several basic attacking patterns

Now lets look at the negatives:

  • Too static; lines are long
  • Creates unrealistic situations in attacking goal
  • Runs into the box are incorrect, because there are no defenders to base off of
  • Intensity of activity is too low (no pressure = no effort)
  • No transition
  • Crosses should be different depending on the situation
  • Technique not being taught alongside tactics. “When/why are they passing?”

When designing practices, it’s important to keep them dynamic

The difference between static and dynamic activities are:

Static

  • Uses lines
  • Doesn’t have pressure on the player with the ball
  • Doesn’t incorporate direction
  • Are very coach-centered (players have to do exactly what the coach says, and when they say it)

Dynamic

  • Allows for multiple solutions
  • Has pressure on the ball from opponents (or a time restriction)
  • Brings out elements of the game (looks like soccer)
  • Is not coach-centered, but encourages players to find their own solutions to problems
  • Uses incentives, not restrictions (more on this later)

For example, here are two Stage Two activities that are designed to bring out “Crossing and Finishing” in a training session:

Static Activity

Setup

  • Three lines of players outside of 18 yard box, coach stands on penalty spot
  • Player passes to coach, who passes to either outside player, who dribbles to endline and crosses
  • Other two players attempt to score off of cross
  • Players return to their lines, and next three go

Static Soccer Activity

Dynamic Activity

Setup

  • 6v6 in 40x30yd space, two fullsize goals
  • Place a “sidezone” 5 yards wide alongside each sideline
  • Both teams play a 2-3 formation
  • If ball is played into a “sidezone” prior to scoring, then the goal is worth 3pts
  • All other goals count as 1pt

Dynamic Soccer Activity

Advantages of the Dynamic Activity

Both address out the topic, but the dynamic practice offers the following over the static one:

  • The game is constantly flowing. There is no ‘waiting for your turn to go’
  • There is an opponent, meaning each player is constantly under pressure and having to think fast
  • There is a transition, meaning once the black team loses the ball, they now have to defend to get it back rather than ‘turning off’ and jogging to the back of a line
  • There are incentives rather than restrictions. 3pts from a goal after a cross encourages them to look wide. However, if a player is in the center of the field with a clear shot, we’d want them to take that over passing wide in a game right? Train the way you want to play. A restriction means you wouldn’t let them get a point from scoring normally. That makes the game look less like soccer, and will force the defending team to not defend in the center of the field.
  • The runs into box are more appropriate because there is competition. When teaching your players when to get into the box for a cross, they need to take the following into account, which won’t happen without defenders:
    • Timing their runs into space
    • Get in front of the defender 
    • Communication on when to cross
    • Crosser needs to pick their pass based on where the defenders are, and what the movement is of their teammates

The Importance of Keeping Your Soccer Practices Dynamic

It is very important to keep your practice activities dynamic. When introducing a technique to younger players, sure, introduce it without pressure, but quickly move on. Dynamic activities teach not only technique, but decision making and how to play at a game-realistic pace. Try Challenging yourself to limit to static activities in your practice plans and your teams will develop faster, and your players will have more fun at practice (who wants to come to practice just to stand in a line, or pass around a square?!)

Looking for Dynamic Activities?

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