When I was a child playing youth soccer, one of my coaches pushed a lot of conditioning drills during our training sessions. Soccer is after all a sport that requires a certain level of fitness. I was a chubby kid so this makes sense, right?
In many of our training sessions, we almost never touched a soccer ball. How could this be possible? Although we may have been one of the better conditioned teams in the league, we lacked foot skill development, team work, and understanding of why we were doing what we were doing on the field/pitch.
Thankfully, how we teach soccer/football in the United States has changed. Youth coaches should spend the majority of practices focusing on what really matters, a player touching the ball.
Foot skills, ball control, passing, and the basics of being able to do multiple things at one time are the foundation. Soccer /football is all the instruments of an ensemble coming together at one time.
In other words, we as coaches are teaching coordination, balance, body control. If everyone is doing this, the ensemble is in synch. Young players need to consistently work at this as their bodies are changing and developing at a rapid pace.
Here is an example of what I mean. (Video Credit : Alex Eby via YouTube)
I have often told parents this; these drills are not the most fun. I get it. They are hard work. They don't come close to the joy of scoring a goal. Again, I get it.
However, they work.
I have seen with my own eyes the improvement players/coaches make when they opt-in to this philosophy.