Step 1 – What not to do:
Avoid teaching the young players spinning in circles. Yes, it sure has a time and place in the game, but has been over used and in fact misused at the wrong time and place.
Step 2 – Teach stick feints:
Expose the young players to stick feints over the ball, with proper footwork. Practice coordination of stick work with stick feints and footwork, while implementing stick feints and stutter steps.
Step 3 – Develop these skills in isolation:
Develop these skills in isolation, training in specific game situations, so the players know when and where to apply them.
How will these 3 steps help?
They will help the players to instantly recognize the fast changing patterns of play while developing a deeper understanding of the players with crystal clear mental pictures, to differentiate between the moves/plays, which are highly effective than the ones which are less or not effective at all.
As a coach, you should make players understand these steps by asking them the following questions:
1. What are you looking for and at in this specific game situation?
2. What are the moves you will implement to take the next step?
3. Are these moves working or not? And If not why
4. What has to be done differently to make it work?
When one does not identify the problem, it is not going to be easy to fix it and improve. Proper diagnosis is half the cure. Pinpoint the problem and find a solution with a systematic action plan. The challenge we have is that the mindset and skill set of the current generation of coaches and players is different. They do not have many soft skills in their repertoire. In my honest opinion, they are also – a bit too – afraid to take calculated risks in offensive game situations. They think they are safe but are not.