Portraits of UM Park
Launched in December 2017, Little League Soccer’s training sessions at Universiti Malaya have grown strongly at the start of 2018. Keen to see how the new players were getting on, we dropped in on a Saturday morning session to capture the Little League faces of UM Park.
Session 1: 8am
UM Park follows the same timetable as Little League centres at Bandar Utama and Setia Alam, meaning an early 8am start for the 4 to 11 year olds. Under the instruction of coaches Reshad and Shazwan, the youngest group was soon put to work practising their close control skills.
After a good warm-up the players took a quick drinks break before splitting into 2 groups. The elder group, working with Coach Shazwan, headed into more advanced dribbling tasks, adding pressure to their exercises with the use of defenders and narrow goals.
Meanwhile, Coach Reshad led the younger group through 1-on-1 games designed to get players used to match-like situations in a fun, supportive environment. With 3 coloured markers beside each of the 2 teams, players had to take it in turns to listen for Coach Reshad’s colour instructions before touching those markers and racing back to score a goal.
Both groups finished the 1 hour session with games. For Coach Reshad’s group it was a small sided match between 5-a-side goals; for Coach Shazwan’s players it was a competitive 1-on-1 situation that had everyone chasing the ball hard and attempting to score through any of 4 gates on the outside of the playing area.
Session 2: 9am
With the 4 to 11 year olds suitably tired from their morning session, at 9am it was time for the 12 to 16 year olds to take to the pitch.
While the topic was similar for the older boys, Coach Reshad had more challenging drills planned – starting with a testing close control exercise that had all players dribbling in a compact area while listening for the coach’s various commands.
The next challenge for the older group came in the form of a small team possession drill that had groups of 4 or 5 players attempting to keep the ball away from a defender. The first task: link together 10 successful passes. The reward for being the first team to do so? Watch the others complete 5 burpees!
It wasn’t long before the competitive sides of the players came out and the level of excitement grew as group’s neared the 10 pass target. 10 passes wasn’t the final goal for these 12 to 16 year olds though. After the first task completion, Coach Reshad raised the goalposts – “Alright, next one: 20 passes!”.
It didn’t take long for the players to identify effective ways of linking passes, and with Coach Reshad’s assistance, the teams improved both their control and their passing accuracy. They were ready to take what they’d learned into a match to finish the session.