Under 8 Orange End of Season Review
Whilst this season has been unfortunately cut short, we believe that it has been an excellent season on the pitch and also a great step forward for the Under 8's Oranges players individually.
As coaches we met at the start of the season to create a few high-level targets for the year, such as:
Getting each player to be more confident when playing with the ball and not just kicking it away,
Getting the players to be more patient when defending by staying on their feet, and
When we had the ball, to try to create space to help their teammates.
We also wanted them to improve their footwork, fitness and "football understanding". We set out to do this by focussing training onto a series of "fun" (well, we hoped they were fun!) energetic games / drills and by having a series of short, easy to memorise and repeat phrases to help the boys. You will have heard us repeating things such as
Get goal side
The four "S's" of defending or more regularly known as, Don't Dive In!!!
Be brave on the ball
Create clear passing lanes
Help your teammate
As we suffered a number of match postponements through December and January, we decided that from February onwards, our focus was on adapting our formation with one eye on next season. The transition from 5 a side at under 8's to 7 a side at under 9's is not easy and to allow us to most easily accommodate the extra two players, we looked to vary how we played. This resulted in the boys having to learn different formations and understand their roles in the different line ups. We have tried to ease this in by providing players with a positional guide sheet and also advise them ahead of the match what their role will be to allow them to learn their position and responsibilities. This allows the boys to take ownership of their position and have a greater understanding of the positional side of football. We hope that they will continue to read up on these cards through the summer as well as practice their skills where possible.
There have been a number of highlights on the field when things went entirely to plan, remaining unbeaten against Bourne Town in both matches we played, keeping clean sheets against Holbeach and Deeping Rangers, scrapping right to the end and scoring two very late equalisers against Spalding, but most wonderful of all is that every player in the team felt the thrill of scoring a goal in a game this season. All of the positional understanding in the world is not as thrilling for the boys as hearing the "Whoosh" of the net after you have put the ball in it, and for each boy to achieve that is something we are delighted about. We know how proud the parents feel when they see their son score and we are very happy that you all got to experience that this season.
There have been matches where we have lost heavily, but in those games, we kept playing to the final whistle, the players did not fall out with each other and as coaches we tried giving the boys the target of winning the final quarter (or not losing it!). We always try to learn something from the match and put it into practice in the next fixture. The end of match discussion is very important for this and we are grateful to all parents for letting us have that extra 5 to 10 minutes after the game has finished, especially when it is cold, windy, wet or all three and you want to get your mud caked son into your clean car!.
As well as playing some great football this season, we have also looked great on the pitch and the training field. We are incredibly grateful to Rosedale Lettings Agency for their generous match kit sponsorship and bench provision this year, also M. Fensom Carpentry and Building Services, Active PPM Ltd and Phoenix Hydraulics for their training wear sponsorship. Thank you. Your support is never taken for granted and we are hugely grateful.
We are also hugely grateful to the supportive parents who help set up and clear away the pitch equipment, who offer sporting encouragement to both teams, who stay behind the rope on the touchline, who respect the referee and who have contributed to a pitch side shelter for the boys. The biggest thank you must go to all the players, as it has been an absolute pleasure to coach you all. You have all worked extremely hard to achieve everything we have this season and you have all made us laugh in the process.
Thank you to all of you for what we are sure you will agree has been an excellent season. Looking forward to seeing you all for 2020/21.
Tim & James