Ultimately, a soccer scrimmage is a simulation of a real match. That’s the best way to describe this training method. It’s a way for players to experience the real competitive dynamics of an actual match within a more controlled setting under the supervision of a coach or trainer.
At the end of the day, training certain technique and conditioning drills can only get you so far. You always want to make sure that you are also applying all of these skills and lessons into actual gameplay. This is why any soccer training regimen should always look to incorporate scrimmages.
This is an important tool for any soccer athlete to gain substantial experience on the field within a controlled setting. The dynamics of a competitive soccer match are always going to be different from merely practicing kicking or passing drills. This is why a lot of coaches try to incorporate scrimmages into training sessions.
Soccer Scrimmage Benefits
One of the best things about scrimmages is that they allow coaches to more clearly gauge the improvement or progress of a soccer athlete. An athlete might develop certain proficiency in a variety of skills like passing, dribbling, scoring, and whatnot. However, proficiency in these various skills mean nothing unless they are translated into real-game performance.
A popular example of a conditioning drill for a lot of soccer athletes is footwork training with an agility ladder. For any kind of soccer player, it’s always important that attributes like speed, quickness, accuracy, hand-eye coordination, endurance, and explosiveness are all developed. Fortunately, these are all attributes that drills involving a proper agility ladder would help with.
Another way that scrimmages can help players is that they boost confidence and morale. Sure, doing all of the technique drills and conditioning workouts are important to becoming a prime athlete. However, the only thing a soccer player wants to do at the end of the day is to play soccer. So, usually, when scrimmages are carried out at the end of practices or training sessions, the players have something to look forward to.
Best Products for Soccer Scrimmage
Check out those awesome products to perform a soccer scrimmage:
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Juvale Speed and Agility Ladder Training Set with 6 Cones and Resistance Parachute
What are the Types of Soccer Scrimmage Games?
Of course, not all soccer scrimmage games are created equal. In fact, there are many different ways to go about it. However, if you’re looking for the best practices in terms of setting up these scrimmages during training, then look no further. The first thing that you need to know is that scrimmages are typically done towards the end of the training session. However, this is not a rule that is set in stone. You are always free as a coach to get creative with it and break away from the norm.
There is no right or wrong way to do a scrimmage, especially when you think that you have found a way that works best for you and your players. At the end of the day, that’s the most important thing after all. However, if you’re completely new to the idea of scrimmaging or if you’re unsure of how to go about it, then that’s fine. Feel free to refer to some of the more popular forms of soccer scrimmage games below:
Typically, this is a very controlled form of scrimmage as it only involves seven people on each team. Also, usually, with this kind of scrimmage, the size of the soccer pitch is decreased to around just 60×40 yards. Enforce all of the traditional rules of a typical soccer game and allow the players to conduct a real match. This is a great way for the coach to really focus on individual player skills. But at the same time, it allows for the players to showcase different skill sets without being subjected to the labored conditioning demands of a full-size pitch.
Full Game Scrimmage
The full game scrimmage is essentially just a simulation of an actual soccer match. All of the rules are the same. It’s the same number of players played at the same duration on the standard sized soccer field. Typically, these scrimmages last 90 minutes in total with 45 minutes each half. This is the best way for a coach to really simulate the conditions of a real-life soccer match within a training environment. It’s also a great way for players to really test their skills and conditioning levels as if it were a real game.
Tournament Scrimmage / Small-Sided Scrimmage
Then, there is also the small-sided scrimmage or the tournament style. This is a great scrimmage format that is designed to promote higher competitiveness within the team. Typically, teams are broken down into smaller teams and are grouped into an elimination format. It’s like a real tournament of small scrimmages where players are really forced to get competitive because of the higher stakes.
Although, small-sided scrimmages don’t always have to be done in a tournament format. They can also be done similarly with the 7×7 format, except with more players without it really being a full match. The reason these small-sided scrimmages are so effective is that they force players to really think on their feet during controlled situations or specific encounters. Rather than dwelling on the competitive aspect of it, as it is with the tournament scrimmage, a normal small-sided scrimmage focuses on the problem-solving aspect. The added pressure also helps in sharpening the mental toughness of these athletes as well.
Tips for an Effective Scrimmage
By now, you should already have a few ideas about how you can implement these soccer game scrimmages into your training sessions. However, we’re not done just yet. There are still a few tips and tricks that you want to stay mindful of with regards to these scrimmages.
There you have it. If you haven’t yet incorporated soccer scrimmage games into your training sessions, then hopefully this article will have compelled you to reconsider your training philosophy. If you’re already doing a lot of scrimmages during training, then hopefully this article will have helped shed more light on how to do it more effectively.
Ultimately, there is just no denying the fact that soccer is one of the most popular sports in the world. And it looks like it’s going to stay that way far into the future. Unfortunately, as the sport grows in popularity, athletes and coaches are forced to continually innovate the ways that they train in order to stay competitive.