Like many coaches I’m always interested to listen and read up on other coaches and their techniques to help improve my own style and what I am able to deliver for my players. After months of banging my head against a brick wall because I thought I’d taken my coaching as far as I could, it turns out that a simple soccer rebound board can be the difference between making my soccer coaching sessions more interesting for my players and keeping them engaged.
I don't know about you but one of the biggest challenges I find as a soccer coach is keeping my sessions fresh and interesting for the players.
All too often I ask them to participate in a particular drill which they've done a thousand times before and I can see them rolling their eyes and losing interest. This leads to them executing the drills I have lined up for them at half speed and the quality of their play suffers as a result.
For this reason I'm always on the lookout for ways of making my sessions fresh and interesting. There are a million and one drills online and you can search any number of YouTube videos for different ways of doing the same types of passing, shooting, dribbling and heading drills.
Just when I thought I was clean out of inspiration I stumbled across new pieces of equipment that have brought a new edge to my sessions and the players have bought into them on a whole new level. Recently I managed to get my hands on some soccer rebound boards and I've been putting together different sessions based around using them.
If you’ve not seen them before, here’s a good example of a soccer rebounder net being used for individual practice...
As well as providing points of interest in the sessions they are really good pieces of equipment for developing new skills. They provide the players with passes at angles and speeds they don't usually receive from their teammates. This asks them new questions when it comes to controlling the ball and they are required to use different parts of their foot to get the ball under control.
I started off with a basic soccer rebound board which I incorporated into a shooting drill where the player had to bounce a pass in, receive it back and control it and then finish into the goal.
Something like the one shown in this video:
I've since started to look at some different types of boards and think a bit differently about how I can incorporate them into my sessions. It turns out there are a whole range of different soccer rebounders and the possibilities for skill development are virtually endless!
Take this cool piece of equipment as an example...
It’s not difficult to think of lots of possibilities for soccer drills using this soccer rebounder.
Guaranteed your players will love training with this piece of kit!
I had a look around and found there are Soccer nets that return the ball also available on the market which I’ve also pulled into my sessions.
Where I think the major benefit is with this equipment though is that the players can use it in their own time. They don't have to wait for the training session to come round on a certain day in the week before they can start practicing. It really allows them to practice team skills by themselves and it is helping them to become better players all the time.
This video is another good example of how a soccer net that returns the ball can be used for a single player to develop their skills:
One of the biggest challenges I’ve found when working with younger players is to get them to head the ball. Very often it can be challenging to get the right type of delivery for them to head. Short of standing there and gently throwing the ball in the air for them, which isn’t very realistic or inspiring, it can be nigh on impossible to get a consistent level of delivery from the other players to practice heading.
The soccer rebounders provide angles which serve up headers on a consistent level for young players to practice their heading and get used to heading the ball correctly and safely. This in itself has proven to be invaluable in developing them as players.
Watch this video of young players making a chain of headers using a rebounder, by turning it into a continuous game they’re making so many more headers than with other drills:
Soccer rebound boards and soccer nets that return the ball give me so much more flexibility as a coach. For example, one aspect of the game we virtually never practice is penalties with such limited time available at weekly practice.
It is usually the case that there is something more important to be working on. However having a goal net that returns the ball to you is useful as it allows me to set up a couple of drills for different players and then pull-out maybe one player at a time to work on their penalty kicks.
By having a goal net that returns the ball to you it means a successful strike can immediately be reset for the next penalty and gives you the opportunity of a really focused and intense session on how to score penalty kicks.
The players I’ve been doing this with have got a lot of value from it and they are not having to waste time retrieving the ball. Their confidence at taking penalties is sky high after all the extra practice!
In a similar way it means the goalkeepers in our team can use them for isolated and specialist practice whilst I take the outfield players for other drills.
Equally, you can bring players out of a team drill for an intense 5 mins on something like this before joining back in:
Despite all the options that this equipment gives you as a coach and all the exciting new drills you can introduce to your sessions, I think it’s important to bear in mind that it is no replacement for good coaching.
The most important thing it to allow soccer rebound boards to enhance your sessions and not take over from you. But by allowing your imagination to run with new ideas about how you can develop new drills then hopefully like me you can take your coaching to a new level.
Let us know how you use soccer rebounder nets in your training in the comments below: