What is PLAY-PRACTICE-PLAY?
The practice plans that OFA provides to our volunteer coaches are based on the Play-Practice-Play model that has been developed and promoted by U.S. Soccer. The following information has been taken directly from ussoccer.com. Please visit the website for more information.
The concept of Play-Practice-Play is to allow young players to experience the game and game-like situations as much as possible. This approach differs from traditional practices that may have children standing in lines, running laps, and participating in drills that don’t resemble the game of soccer.
STAGE 1: PLAY
When players arrive to practice, the first responsibility of the coach is to create an environment that is safe, engaging and fun. In the first Play phase, players engage in small-sided games with the primary focus on having fun. It is important that these pickup-style games are led by the players and facilitated by the coaches.
STAGE 2: PRACTICE
In the second phase of Play-Practice-Play, children are engaged in different forms of targeted learning activities to further guide their opportunities to develop. The goal of the Practice phase is to create an environment filled with opportunities for players to experience and learn about the goal of the training session through repetition.
Practice activities should be of appropriate challenge (striking a balance between success and failure), resemble the game, involve the players making decisions and allow for creative problem solving.
STAGE 3: PLAY AGAIN!
The final stage of Play-Practice-Play is the game. This phase offers players the opportunity and freedom to play, without interruption, in an environment that mirrors the actual game. The focus of the final Play phase is to encourage players to express themselves and demonstrate what they learned during the Practice phase. A coach should observe and guide using minimal dialogue if possible.