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Teaching Zone Coverage For Youth Football – Slow Feet and Bad Angles
To teach young soccer players zone coverage, you need to have the image of the end result firmly embedded in your brain.
Quick pass reads, piston-like footwork, precise drop angles, precise zone drop depth, ESP-like communication and last but not least interceptions and incomplete passes.
You will need this image fixed in your brain because you are likely to start with:
Slow/no pass reads, sloppy footwork, slow feet, missteps, inexplicable dropped balls, and infuriating completions.
If you have done a good job in the running game, teaching the play steps, running support, running chase and communication, your job will be much easier.
The first step to playing the zone effectively is getting players to fall fast and deep enough to:
1. Keep receivers wide in front of them
2. Watch routes grow
Players need to understand that when they identify a pass, they need to get to their zone NOW!!!
You will have to overcome a huge obstacle – multitasking.
When young players identify a pass, they will attempt to do it all at once in 1.8 seconds:
– Watch the QB
– Watch wide receivers
– Determine who they need to cover (even if it’s an area)
– Determine where the ball is going
– Try to remember what they are supposed to do.
This mental activity slows down the feet and leads players to take bad angles of fall.
Take a focused, step-by-step coaching approach.
1st focus on drop acceleration.
Once players demonstrate that they respond correctly to passing keys, then, and only then, should you move on to teaching the other components of zone coverage –
– improve footwork
– sharpening of the angles of fall
– hit landmarks
– ball skills
Coach the little things and the big things will happen.
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