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How do I stop my players from stepping back before driving forward?

Hi I coach a great team of under 9s and when we do a driving drill we start with "pitter patter feet" (like a very fast low jog on spot) then when i say GO they drive forward. However a lot of them step back with their foot then drive forward. Any tricks out there to get just going forward? Is it just the foot they start on like the strong foot? Or something else?

Hi Cheryl,  Maybe instead of driving forward from a fast jog , start by getting them to drive forward from a static position wherby they are slightly leaning forward, so it would be harder for them to make the initial move backwards. Also, get them to practice this from a centre pass situation where you can show them more easily how critical it is to have the forward momentum and that any initial move backwards wastes valuable time and is the difference between collecting the centre pass or finding yourself behind a defender.

Hi I agree with Tony and getting them to lean forward is really important. maybe take away the pitter patter feet (and keep it as a separate skill) and concentrate on getting them to get all their weight onto the front foot. As suggested, leaning over the line (while staying upright and not leaning over their player) is really important. make sure their eyes are up and focussed on the feeder (or you). then get them to try and take off. if they continue to step back onto the back foot, then try this with just one foot on the ground. that way they have no choice but to take off on the one foot. one they are much more confident with this skill, then start introducing the pitter patter back and get them to combine it again. but it all will take time.

Thanks both, excellent ideas, will try at training.  Much appreciated.

The step back can be (1) to compensate for too much lean and is an overbalance correction before take off, (2) poor core muscle engagement to provide impulsion (3) strong preference for leading from one foot only.  This is very common in very young players (and a few older ones LOL!!) and most will self correct with the right encouragement and training goals. Lots of stop/start and change of speed/direction training (while having fun of course) will provide more balance & body awareness.  Skipping with or without a rope, forward, backwards, sideways, big high skips to small low skips is a good fun core strength and impulsion builder for any age.  Encourage bent hips/knees, active arms and upper body slightly behind centre of gravity while moving forward. Reward all the small successes in all areas of improvement and be patient. Good luck!.

On a static hard drive they should be taking off from their back foot anyway which is prob why this is happening. So help them make the link to their 'push off' foot going side ways instead of backwards :-)
Answered using Sportplan on Mobile

ahhhhh, thanks that makes sense too, thank you all so much.  Love the core strength ideas too, should be doing that myself LOL

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