Before you can set a player personal objectives for the season, you have to establish a baseline from which to measure their improvement. To do this you need to find out how good each of your players are at all, or some of, the core soccer skills of running, turning, dribbling, heading and shooting.
This baseline testing is quite easily done over a couple of soccer coaching drill sessions, but you will need an assistant to look after the rest of the team while you run the tests.
The tests recommended by the English Football Association Soccer Star programme are simple, fun and suitable for all age groups.
Most players enjoy finding out how good they are at basic soccer skills.
They will also:
Benefit from the immediate feedback and rewards that the test results provide.
Have their self-esteem boosted from seeing how they improve during the year.
Be more relaxed and confident knowing that they are not expected to compete with each other.
Become motivated to practise at home in between sessions.
If you visit the FA website (www.thefa.com) you’ll see how to run all of the tests. There are detailed diagrams of each set up and hints and tips to pass on to your players to help them do their best on test day.
Please remember that you will need assistants to help you during the testing programme.
You don’t have to run all of the tests. The benefits of setting individual objectives will be felt even if you set objectives in just one of the core skills.
If your help is thin on the ground you should definitely consider setting your players just one or two core skills and carry out baseline testing accordingly.
All this might seem like a lot of hard work for no immediate or obvious reward.
I can assure you, however, that these tests are not very difficult or especially time consuming to run once you get into the swing of them – they are definitely worth the effort.
Setting players' individual and achievable targets keeps them involved and allows them to experience success, even if they are not the most skilful.
This is, perhaps, your own most important objective.
Achieve it and you will have done a good job.