Prior to each HYS season, parent coaches gather at the Huntington Rec Field for a youth soccer coaching clinic led by Dave Saward, Head Coach for the Middlebury College Men’s Soccer program. The clinic is always helpful for new and veteran coaches, and Dave has the coaches laughing and learning in short order.
Major themes of the coaching clinic include setting reasonable expectations for players in our age groups and a focus on fun games for practices intended to keep players engaged and developing skills. In particular:
- Most Important: Safety, Fun, Teamwork
- Say No to the 3 L’s: No Laps, No Lines, No Lectures
- Emphasis on Dribbling, Passing, and Receiving skills.
- Emphasis on small-sided mini-scrimmages for at least half of each practice.
- Emphasis on “max touches”: Fun games and skills exercises that maximizing the number of times their feet contact the ball.
- Definitely rotate players through all positions, including goalkeeper.
- Pre-planning the practices is KEY. Plan to show up early to set up spaces.
Coach Dave works us pretty hard but it is all in good fun and we learn a lot. Dave has donated his time and provided our parent coaches with the tools and ideas to help make soccer fun for the past several years. Don’t miss it!
Check out a few of the great photos from past clinics below!