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Like most outdoor kids’ sports, coaching soccer during inclement spring and fall seasons can be tricky.
While winning is motivation enough for a game, that motivation dissipates during cold, wet, or windy practices –especially for the youngest athletes.
How does a coach get the most out of practice when the forecast is cloudy with no chance of sunny skies?
Gear ‘em up. Exerting a lot of physical energy while being cold and wet compromises kids’ health. Insure that your players insulate using layers as best as they can. It doesn’t have to be the expensive high-tech professional stuff. Everyday clothing and materials work well if used correctly, especially with lots of layers.
Conduct quick drills and small games. Players get more uncomfortable the longer they stand or wait in inclement weather. Instead of line drills, conduct skill drills on individual balls that don’t require a lot of waiting. Challenge players to repeat a skill a dozen times within a couple of minutes. Scrap the scrimmage for a bunch of smaller games using every player simultaneously by dropping down to 2v2 or 4v4 matches.
Make the most it. Be especially alert to any one player’s lack of engagement and boredom as it can affect the other players. Tweak drills to challenge your players’ skills using unconventional rules that the kids will understand and enjoy. During unfavorable conditions, it is far better to send young players home having enjoyed the session without learning anything, than the other way around.
Cancel with a caveat. Playing soccer at the time promised is a reward to young children. If the weather is too risky to hold practice, arrange an alternative session as soon as possible.
Rearranging practice due to bad weather can be a lot easier with a good system for communication. As you know, TeamSnap has the ability to send messages via email or text message to your team to let them know about last minute changes. Our iPhone and Android apps in particular are great tools to have in your pocket when you head out to the fields and the weather is looking dicey.