I was really happy that we got back to front yard soccer over the weekend.
Playing 1v1 or 2v1, or just doing skills work in our front yard has been a big part of our sports life over the past year. Evan and I started last fall playing 1v1 in the front yard. As I’m still early in my soccer life, as they are, it’s fun for all of us.
With Aidan and Evan being in additional skills training at our club, we have “Homework” each week to work on specific skills that they learned in the sessions. This week, rather than performing the skills unopposed in static positions, the three of us played 2v1 (Evan and I teamed up against Aidan). Each time one of them got the ball, they were required to perform a move (Evan had the option of making a pass, as well.) The result was that they both spent more than an hour playing Sunday in an opposed environment being forced to use the skills and find how to engage them in a game-like setting.
Beyond getting their skills practice, there’s a lot of interesting things that come out of playing with your kids like this. You see their skills in a different way.
Evan plays very well in a game with a partner. He has built a good understanding of how to move the ball with a partner, as well as how to take supportive positions to be able to receive a pass. He moves without the ball to get open, and he quickly learned to send the ball to the undefended side of his teammate. His timing on making passes was also good – he learned the decision point of passing and deciding whether to take on the defender or pass the ball to an open teammate in 2v1.
Aidan, playing solo, improved his defending in the hour that we played. He’s understanding covering the passing lane between the ball carrier and the open man, as well as timing his challenges and stabs better.
The bulk of this learning came without specific instruction. It came as a result of playing similar situations on a repeating basis.