Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Round 14: trying to get it together.

Another loss - this time 4-0 against Team 3. Before the match started I organised for my goalkeeper to get a run on the field in the 2nd half. It's about time I gave her some playing time. So I spoke to one of the players before the match and told her I was going to put her in goals for the second half. The deal was that she'd play the full 40 min of the first half.

I also told her not to tell the rest of the team. I explained that I was going to ask the team for a volunteer. Essentially, if I had a volunteer then that player would be 'safe.' Otherwise, it would be her. No-one volunteered. Great team spirit (sarcasm.)

Thing is, at half-time we were only 1-0 down. Pretty much thanks to the goalkeeper and the left back - who was going to go into goals in the second half. Easily the two best players on the park for us. But I had made arrangements for the second half... and I stuck to them. The replacement keeper did a good job for someone completely unsure of what they were doing. The normal goalkeeper ran out of puff, so I ended subbing her off. Which was good, as I want her to be aware that if she doesn't play in goals she's unlikely to get a full game.

We have so much wrong in the team, and I don't have enough time to fix it. The players can't tell when is the time to simply clear the ball and when they have time to do something with the ball. If they do want to clear the ball, they want to smash it out of the park. Rather than just make a connection with the ball and letting the ball's momentum do the rest. They ball-watch. A lot. They're extremely one-footed. I only have one player who can kick long balls. I only have one player who can pass the ball - she's also picked up some crazy (in a VERY good way) turns from somewhere since the start of the season. I really ought to follow that up...

All I want is more time... but the girls can only generally commit to the one training session per night. I need quality time with each of them, not 1.5 hours for all of them. I'm hoping for a wet summer and an early pre-season so I can cover basic skills next season.

Oh, and the girl who hurt herself last week is due to miss three weeks. She did her medial ligament in her right knee (exactly the same as what I did), so I'm inclined to give her all the time she needs + more to recover. I'm hoping the fact that she's 16 and that I was 22 when I hurt my knee makes a significant difference.

Last Thursday I conducted an extra training session. Only five girls turned up... Anyway, at one point I set up a 2 (defenders) vs. 3 exercise to try and get the girls used to the concept of first defender and second defender. First defender to pressure the player with the ball, second defender to sit and see what's going on and enter the game once the first defender is out through error or being beaten.

One girl in particular was very half-hearted about pressuring the ball. Instead of giving the player with the ball perhaps half a metre of space, she'd give two. So the player with the ball had all the time in the world.
After some frustrating watching of what was going on, I demonstrated what I wanted from the first defender when outnumbered i.e. pressuring the player with the ball but not committing. The next time she did the exercise was a marked improvement and so when I played her as the first line of defence (I tend to play with five defenders in two rows at the moment - the first of two and then a row of three) she had an improved game. So I'm really happy about that - especially since I pushed my knee a bit during the demonstration and ended up very sore on Friday evening when the temperature dropped. At least the pain was worth it.


Anonymous said...

I liked the piece on goalkeeping at the start of the post because its somehow a situation I can relate to.

In the junior team that I am involved with, nobody wants to be a permanent goalkeeper and so at half-time we change goalies and there will be another set of goalies for the next match etc.
That gives us a problem when we have a goalie who doesn't know much about goalkeeping but somehow we survive most games.

I like teams with a permanent goalkeeper because they also tend to have a good defence because at least they can trust the keeper.

john said...

My goalkeeper left the country with 5 games to go. Caused us a few shaky games!

Cecilia said...

I think I'm quite lucky in that respect - although she sometimes wants to have a bit of a play on the field, and fair enough too, I know the feeling very well.

I'm also lucky in that I'm sure I have the best goalkeeper in the league. She alone keeps us in the game at times!

Eamonn said...

Cecilia how the devil are you..and do you read your futbol emails...come on you know you want to..

Go the Victory and who of the new boys in the league will be added to the swoon list

Does wee Kaz need a second look?

The man from the nearpost!!

Cecilia said...


Kaz deserves much more that just a second look - and not just for his football!