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Encouraging a Competitive Attitude

Coming out of a long winter of indoor practices and Futsal games, I'm always anxious to play our first outdoor league game of the spring.

I was looking forward to it even more than usual this year because it had been more than a month since my U12 girls team had played their last Futsal game.

Practices had gone well but it's often hard to judge how the players are developing without the test of an opponent.

The girls played well from the beginning of the game.

We possessed the ball well and created scoring chances but didn't take any of them.

Gradually the other team began to win more tackles and put some pressure on our defense.

We hadn't slowed down or stopped making good decisions but as the half wore on we had less and less of the ball.

The difference was that we were PLAYING soccer and the other team was COMPETING.

They were defending aggressively, fighting harder for the 50/50 balls, playing stronger to keep possession and really going for it in the final third.

We discussed this at half-time and I challenged the players to match the intensity of their opponent so that we could play our game rather than constantly chasing them.

The girls worked hard in the second half but each time we would find some success the other team 'up the ante' and increase their speed and intensity of play.

Some of the girls were able match their 'Want To' but we couldn't do it consistently as a team.

Playing against this relentless attitude was something that the girls were not prepared to do on this day.

At our next practice we played a series of games that focused on creating a competitive attitude.

We began with a game of Wembley where the first two teams to score three goal would then play in the final.

The game is a common one but there are many different ways to play it. We play it in pairs with two balls constantly in play.

All of the teams are attacking the same goal which is defended by our goalkeeper.

The girls enjoy this game and the competition set the tone for the practice to come.

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