How can I help a player to stop cringing and/or flinching during a soccer game.

by Coach Dad
(Pearl City, Hawaii)

Aloha Coach,

I coach my youngest daughter's U12 team and have been her only coach, since U6. She has progressively picked up a bad habit of cringing or flinching whenever any player kicks the ball, from anywhere on the field. It's got to a point where she doesn't even want to win a ball or stop an attacking player. What can I do to help her get out of this funk and start winning balls, defend, attack, and most of all become a solid dependable teammate. I feel really bad for her, she tries really hard to overcome this habit, but can't get the thought of being hit by a ball and or player. Please anything to help me to help her.

Thank you,
Coach Dad

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Afraid of the soccer ball
by: Chris

Coach dad - Thanks for the question - I have U11 girls and U13 girls that still flinch a bit when balls are belted at them.

I find that teaching kids how to tackle the soccer ball away using a block tackle, or poke tackle is very effective. The players learn how to win the soccer ball.

I also do a lot of skill work teaching the girls how to control the soccer ball with different surfaces so when balls fly at them they know how to deal with the pace of the soccer ball.

Example, a ball driven at a player could be controlled with the inside of the foot, thigh or chest.

I also like to teach the 1v1 moves to enhance and build confidence in their attacking skills.

There are a few topics that you would need to cover here. The more she gets comfortable with the soccer ball the less likely she is to flinch when it comes at her. This could take some time and patience.


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