I have been conducting online training for my competitive teams and the recreational teams from SF Youth Soccer. Sadly, we're faced with this interesting 'zoom' training schedule instead of being on the field. It is different for sure, but there is no reason why we cannot make it truly beneficial and turn an unfortunately into a fortunately!
Start with 'why'. Why are the kids playing? They can choose to not log into a zoom call, right? So they are there for a reason.
Go onto Instagram or YouTube and search soccer training. You'll find all sorts. Here are some clips from me that were used as supplemental homework to player clinics, but are always available to you.
Take that how - whether a foundation of movement from my clips, or elsewhere - and challenge the player to progress it with four key components:
Can they do it faster? Can do they complete it as if a defender were chasing them? Can they turn quicker? Finish quicker? Pass quicker?
Can they play 'uncomfortably fast'?
Siblings are a wonderful training partner. A big brother or sister tells them exactly how it is, but a younger sibling is also a player they can help to shape and educate - you know the saying that you understand something when you can teach someone else... Without a real-life opponent, find ways to get competition - digital competition with team mates. Time trials. 90% accuracy. Personal records.
Enhance movement and 'drills' with more touches - not just kick back and forth, but drag the ball across the body before passing. Roll the ball back, turn and then shoot. Touch, turn, touch, touch touch, lay off, score. Adding touches add familiarity, adds competence and confidence to the player. But be sure to encourage them to play relative to how they would play in a game.
Changes of Direction
Much like touches, changes direction gives a player confidence. They learn to keep control in tight spaces, to break pressure, and to keep the ball. Confidence comes after finding space somewhere else. It also encourages them to act before they receive the ball - the idea is that they see the space, THEN receive and go with the ball - encourage all sorts of repetition for changing direction in their practices.
In a teams second virtual team training, the players have been challenged to create their own mini training session. They are told to create it based on what they would do in a game. 2nd graders to U14 players have been asked the same question and produced some incredible training ideas. They show and tell on paper, then go show on the video. The magic happens in stage two. They are asked over the remainder of the session to layer in speed, competition, touches, changes of direction. A simple pass back and forth with the wall has become an all out phase within a game - all 'created' by the player with some guided questions and recommendations if the player gets stuck.
Share your results with me.