We’ve developed SHARPening skills blocks to serve as our main coaching period for each camp day. SHARP = See & Hear, Attempt, Repeat and Perform. On the first day of camp, the basic set-up of the SHARP block is explained to campers. The S & H, A and R set-up of the block remains consistent throughout the week. The coaches’ challenge in the AM shows campers the “Perform” portion of the block. Since the block’s basic set-up is the same, campers will find it easy to follow and give staff more time to focus on skills building. Our SHARP block follows a gradual release of responsibility model.
See & Hear: (3-5 Minutes)
First, our staff models the skill related to the theme of the day (shooting, passing, dribbling etc.) Because each day’s SHARP block is structured the same way, players can focus less on how to do the drill, and more on getting a maximum number of touches on the ball to master a new skill.
- On the first day of camp, BEFORE modeling any skill, staff will model only how players should move about through the drill (ex: receive a ball from someone on the outside circle, dribble around a player, and pass to a second player). This is often similar from day to day, but its essential players know the basic set-up before trying out a soccer skill (especially for younger players). As the week goes on, you’ll notice less time is needed for this as players become familiar with SHARP blocks.
- After a couple of minutes, players will be stopped and staff will explain and model the skill to focus on.
Attempt: (15-25 minutes broken into 5 minute increments w/coaching tips in between)
Here, players are now trying the skill out themselves. At this point, staff are watching and evaluating. Are most of the players having success, are players struggling, or is there a mix? The answers to these questions will direct our coaching. We will differentiate our coaching at this point. For players showing mastery of the skill, staff will encourage them to go further. For players still struggling, you may hear a staff member say something like, “For those of you still working on this skill try to…”
Repeat: (20-30 minutes)
Once players have sufficient time practicing a skill individually, it’s time to introduce some small level of pressure. Some versions of this that you’ll see in the SHARP blocks throughout the week are:
- Having staff provide defensive pressure.
- Certain players creating defensive pressure. I
- 1 v 1 matchups between players
- Pressure originating from players racing against the clock (ex: receive the ball 5 times on the ground and 5 times in the air and then sit-down on the outer circle when finished).
Players are trying to repeat the skill just taught, and in order to encourage this, there needs to be some measurement of success. The focus of this success is centered on the skills taught in the earlier portions of the block.
Perform: (30-40 minutes)
Once players have had opportunities to try the skill(s) out in a situation involving pressure, they are ready to try these same skills out in a more game like situation. The “perform” sessions are meant to be highly competitive, but still create opportunities for players to have many touches on the ball. You will find that these sessions are:
- Small sided
- Involve at least two teams competing against one another
- Require players to use the skills just taught to have success (i.e to score points).
- Allow opportunities for staff to stop play and point out examples of when the previously taught skill was demonstrated.