With the 2013 Youth Football Fall League just around the corner, Saipan Soccer School hosted a coaching clinic to prepare various clubs for this month’s competition.
Thirty-five coaches from the U8 to U12 teams of MP United FC, Paire FC, Tinian Premier FC, Kanoa FC, Shirley’s FC, Tan Holdings FC, Matansa FC participated in the two-hour clinic at the San Antonio Elementary School Field last Saturday. AFC License B coach Jason Chung and former Hong Kong National Team player Kwok On “David” Tsui of Chelsea FC Soccer School Hong Kong led the weekend clinic and were assisted by SSS’ Jershwin Angeles, Mae Ito, Ruselle Zapanta, and Irish Pagarao.
The clinic was divided into stages and participants were grouped into three. The first part of the event focused how one can be a better coach. Tsui emphasized the importance of having discipline by coming to the practice and game or any event early and being dressed properly. He also pointed out that a coach must set a specific training program for the day and have a back-up plan if things go the other way.
“By showing up early at practice and games, you are setting a good example to your players. You are encouraging them to keep coming to the games and training session because you are ready to teach them new skills,” Tsui said.
The next stages of the clinic focused on drills. Coaches were first thought warm-up drills like free dribbling and small touches on a small playing area. The clinic progressed with Tsui and Chung teaching coaches more dribbling, passing, ball control, and shooting skills. While having these drills, coaches made instructions and comments to get everybody up of their feet, enjoying every bit of the activity.
“It is important, especially for young players, to enjoy what they are doing during practices and games. Find ways to get their interest when doing drills,” said Tsui, who called out plays and drills after the hotels on Saipan and famous soccer players.
Tsui added everybody should be involved in the drills and this is where the small-sided games come in. In this stage, coaches were split into four teams and two games were played simultaneously. SSS staff took charge in the last drill, as they were stationed at the center court and fed players balls.
“Cones were used as goals. Every time the ball goes out, a coach will feed a new ball. This drill will develop reaction from the players. A coach can feed ball to a player who seldom touches the ball and time is not wasted on chasing the ball outside the field,” Angeles said.
At the end of the clinic, Tsui and Chung reviewed participants about the drills and their importance.
“It is very crucial that they do these kinds of drills to encourage kids to play always. At this age (8 to 12), keeping their interest in soccer is as important as teaching them skills,” said Chung, who is on his second leg of helping SSS train coaches.
“I usually stay for 45 days and though it was long and I am away from my family, it is worth it, as I am able to help coaches. I remember when I first came here, there were only a few coaches, now we have a lot and that shows more and more coaches are willing to learn and train young players,” Chung said.
Kanoa FC’s Lani Santos was one of the participants of the weekend clinic that focused on grassroots soccer and said that after the event they realized more the value of teaching young players the right fundamentals.
“This is the ‘golden age.’ We have to teach them the proper way of playing the sport and help them enjoy every part of the game,” Santos said.