In the soccer gear world, it’s rare that someone takes the time to point out the perfect gear for the coaches. Other than being responsible for nearly every aspect of practice, the coach is stuck with bringing and having equipment to make the proper drills happen. This list helps you know how to craft the perfect platform to allow your players to reach their maximum potential…although, it helps to also be a good coach.
First, we’ll start with the most basic set-up. For those coaches whose wallets aren’t quite as deep, but you still want to have a great practice, the gear list is a bit shorter. Once your kids show up and the soccer balls hit the grass, there are a few things that you must have.
In the basic set-up, you need to have some simple cones. You can snag a huge stack of small cones from either KwikGoal or SKLZ and these can be used to create boundaries, goals, obstacles, and a number of other practice aids. This should be your first snag once you’ve been selected as a coach for any age groups.
Your next move should be to get some practice scrimmage vests (pennies). It’s rare that your players will ever show up to practice dressed in similar colors, so having these mesh shirts is great. It helps create a similar sensation as to when they show up on gameday wearing the same color, and it can aid the player in learning to use their peripheral vision and make quicker passes and decisions. If you have to think that extra second on whether or not a person is part of your “team,” then that’s a second that has truly been lost. Once you have your cones and vests, you’ve reached the pinnacle of simple.
If you reach a point where you want to take your practices up to the next level, your next step should be equipment that can allow you to set up different practice stations for players to be constantly working on new aspects of their game. Our first suggestion would be the SKLZ Quickster Soccer Trainer. The newest favorite at all of my practices, the Quickster functions perfectly as a rebounder with two differently functioning sides. On one side, you can either pass and rebound the ball in the air OR play a ball into the net, which will loop back a perfect ball for you to volley on target. On the other side, you play a ball low and it will pass it straight back on the ground. It allows for two different drills running simultaneously and can also become a useful tool if you are trying to always provide a perfect set-up to your players (any coach knows, every single time you pass or feed a ball to a player will never feel exactly the same…the Quickster has great consistency). As we mentioned, this is our new favorite toy and works great for big group practices or single player focus.
The next step is upgrading your cone game. You can either choose to go bigger, taller, or even change the type. If you have a lot of drills where you see players not truly going around a cone, get some SKLZ agility poles. If you have drills where players aren’t high stepping over your standard cones, bring in some SKLZ hurdles. We love our agility poles because they fit in perfectly with our SKLZ cones to create a multi-functioning tool that creates a wealth of new possibilities within our drills. This arena also starts to bring you into buying small pop-up goals for new, small-sided drills. There are many pop-up goals on the market now, but we’re a bit partial to Kwikgoal’s offerings as they are extremely durable and easy to transport.
Coaching is one of the most rewarding aspects of the beautiful game, and everyone wants to be the next Jose Mourinho. No matter how great your motivating skills or your book of drills is, there’s a big step that you can take with having better equipment. If your coaching game is ready to go to the next level, go on over to SoccerPro.com and step your game up! Coach on!
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