The creativity and precision, USA National Team, displays with their passes are a significant cause they’re the most compelling force in soccer. These dazzling crafts are built in part by a game that almost resembles Monkey in the Middle. The more you do this seemingly simple drill, the more potential benefits you got. My Soccer Academy believes these drills are best for soccer teams of all ages.
Get to know about the best drill for soccer Athletes
Let’s start with the drill.
The drill consists of:
- 6-8 athletes standing in an evenly-spaced circle
- 1-2 athletes in the middle of the circle acting as defenders
- 1 soccer ball
- The goal is for the athletes
- in the ring to pass the ball around and keep it away from the defender as long as feasible
- When a defender splits up a pass or takes the ball, the round is completed. The athlete responsible for giving the ball up must be a defender through the next round
- To more incentivize the sport, if the circle moves a decided number of passes, the defender(s) must do a set of Push-Ups. If the defender(s) take the ball or break-up the pass before the circle touches that number, every athlete in the circle must perform a set of Push-Ups
All of these variables can be modified depending on factors such as the number of athletes involved, skill level, age, health, etc.. Still, the heart of the game is actually a circular version of Monkey in the Middle. In Spain, this type of exercise game is known as a “Rondoworld.”
For the athletes in the circle, it helps them practice their short-to-medium passing skills under stress. They exercise playing passes in various directions and with varying degrees of loft and speed. They also learn how to receive all of these types of passes under pressure while simultaneously examining their surroundings to find open teammates. For the defenders, they exercise closing out on ball-handlers and pushing them into poor touches. They also work on their timing for blocking or disrupting passes. If there are two or more defenders in the middle, they practice the ability to double-team ball-handlers and leverage each other’s positioning. The drill also helps something that’s sadly lacking in American youth soccer—creativity. The pressure implemented by the defenders forces players to think on their heels and find innovative approaches to deliver the ball to their teammates.
Perhaps most importantly, the drill is entertaining. Reaching the desired number of passes obtained hearty cheers from the athletes in the circle while blocking the feat elicited spirited fist-pumps from the defenders. These are players who’ve spent thousands of hours playing and training the sport, yet they seemed genuinely engaged and fascinated with this simple game. The coaching staff didn’t interfere in the drill, allowing the athletes to play freely. This further supports creativity and experimentation and magnifies enjoyment. This simple game accomplishes three things that many American youth soccer athletes do not get enough of. It improves the player’s skills under pressure, it develops creativity, and it gives them an opportunity to have fun. It increases confidence and competence on both sides of the ball.