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Developing Awareness in Young Players
by Jeff Tipping
NSCAA Regional Technical Director
As players approach adolescence, they should begin to develop an overall 360-degree awareness around them. Players must be exposed to exercises and games that force them to begin to think of the field as having two sides as well as length and depth. Just below are two suggested exercises to help coaches develop this kind of awareness.
From the Italian FA:
Three players without a ball are in a straight line. The two players on the outside are approximately 25 yards apart. They move randomly keeping the 25-yard distance anywhere they wish to move. The player in the middle must move with them and always stay on the imaginary line that connects the two outside players. It will be noted that
to be able to maintain the middle position as required, the middle player must constantly use swivel vision. To make the exercise more demanding, give the player in the middle a ball, and then further complicate the exercise by giving a ball to each of the outside players.
From the Scottish FA:
Two 5v5 games going on side-by-side with a dividing line separating the two games. At any one moment in time, a player from one game can move over to the other game to create a 2v1, stop a fast break or add some attacking or defending advantage. Only one player from each team in each game may go over at any given time. This exercise also encourages players to get their head on a swivel..
Editor's Note: from the November 24, 2004 issue of NSCAA's The Technical Area.