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How to coach school team with novices and experienced players?

Hi,I perhaps naively, expected to have most of our team from last year carry over and only have a few new comers to integrate and get up to speed with the rest. However meeting the team at our first practice last night i find I have five players still at school from last year and the rest all new comers, most of whom had not held a hockey stick at all till practice.This being only my second season coaching (year 9 to year 13 boys) has left me feeling a little blindsided, and feeling quite unsure how to prepare practices that target both groups of boys. Do i lump them both groups together, keep them separate? What drills/exercises to best bring the new comers up to speed.I don't want to neglect either group, keep practice worthwhile for the experienced boys, but also bringing the new comers up to a level were they can mix in with the others and learn organically from them while practicing as a team. David
David SmithCoach, New Zealand

Coaching plan (season outline) for coming season?

Hi all, after "volunteering" at the last minute to coach last season, I'm looking forward to coaching again this season but would like to be a bit more organised starting the season. Last season I used drills from here (thank you contributors) and put together a practice plan each week addressing what I thought were our weakness from the game just played. This got us through the season, we were promoted after grading and finished the season in the top 4 playoffs for our grade.I wonder if there is some kind of guide to putting a more coherent training plan together for the season.I'm coaching a boys secondary school team, aged 12-18. What kind of skills should they have mastered?What should they be attempting, working towards mastering (individually and as a team)?I last played as a collage boy on grass fields, the change to turf pitches has obviously obsoleted (along with age) much of what I knew as a player.Any pointers appreciated.David
David SmithCoach, New Zealand

Midfield positioning on 16yd hits and presses when using 4-4-2?

hi there I'm using 4-4-2 and on sometimes 3-1-4-2 with a lower level hockey team.I've chosen this over other formations, simply because the hockey experience and ability of my players is not of a high level (and most people have an approximate understanding of 442). Also, I believe that one must choose a formation based on players traits and what they can deliver. For example, I'd ideally prefer to have 3 forwards, to help with more height and width but then would have to either play 3 in the middle or 3 at the back... and my player strengths don't permit this. In short, I simply don't believe I have a strong enough CH / CM to handle 3 in the middle and I'm not convinced that the off-the-ball support from other players is strong enough to allow 3 in the middle. OFFENSIVE PLAYS Anyway, I'm not 100% where to get my centre mids to stand when we have a 16 yd hit to take (i.e. our possession). Obviously one of the CMs comes deep to offer a potential direct outlet from the centre backs or offer an overload option if the ball goes out to the sides (which is more likely, since I've pretty much banned the high risk play of releasing up the middle - we've had far too many turnovers in our final third or quarter because we tried to play up the middle). My players are 'aware' of posting up and leading runs. However, I'm not sure about the 2nd CM. On the one hand I'd ideally like the 2nd CM to come deep as well, in order to potentially help break up the opposition press but by doing so, I distort the midfield and if we do manage to get the ball to one of the CMs, he won't have the 2nd CM in a higher position to release to, etc. DEFENSIVE POSITIONING Can someone suggest, again, about midfield positioning using 4-4-2 or 3-1-4-2, when we are setting up a general press? I have traditionally encouraged man marking, simply because our general positional awareness is weak (which makes zonal play a no-no IMO) + our tracking and attitude to committed defending (i.e. you don’t give up if one tackle fails) could be better! However, looking at suggested presses on Sportplan, some zonal positioning seems a necessity and I think if I can help my players make the step, success will come because they've been forced to become more aware of their pitch positioning, etc. Also, looking at some of the presses, it looks like the midfield can go 'flat' to create a barrier... and as I encourage a diamond shape in midfield, I need to explain to my players what to do and when. Sorry for the wordy question. I hope this all makes sense. Regards, Gary
Gary ThompsonCoach, England

I'm a new Varsity head coach and don't know what I'm doing

Hi all- I am 37 years old. I played field hockey for 3 years only (in high school). As you can imagine, I'm not very good/experienced. I was a competitive soccer player which made me good enough athletically to play field hockey but anyway, the point is: I never played field hockey at a high level.I now find myself in a head coaching position. (Long story-I did coach some field hockey some years ago and had a blast but it was a while back). Anyway, I have three assistant coaches who aren't much more experienced than I am. Our high school program is VERY weak and so nobody really steps up to coach there.Basically, my question is: what do I do? I have some girls who have played but not much. Then I have girls who literally don't know how to hold their stick and are quite I athletic. We barely have enough girls to field a team. As for drills, I'm trying to use this site but if you were in my position, what specifically would you be doing with these girls so they don't lose 7-0 every game? Right now, I'm focusing on body control and comfort with the ball- (we are playing possession and they are so uncomfortable they just hit the ball away because they don't have the skills to hold). Any help you can give is greatly appreciated!Brooke Asked using Sportplan Mobile App
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