Thursday, 9 January 2014

2014 training status: WORK UNDER PROGRESS

Well, with the next set of fixtures yet to be released by the Delhi Youth League representatives, the boys have been anxiously waiting to see which team they will be up against next. Meanwhile, our training sessions have almost been taking place every day as the biting cold compelled the Delhi government to postpone the start of all schools. The schooling will continue from Monday and every member of all of the 6 teams has been turning in for training and utilizing the lengthy break to full extent.

As of now, Nitish (left), a 19-year old school graduate residing in the same area as the kids, and I (below) are the only 2 coaches. Our previous coaches, Lalit and Hero have been busy with other things and will return in a month or so.

Nitish and I decided to create a focus on each of the training days so that the kids didn't learn a bunch of unrelated skills, but instead worked on one specific aspect of their game each day. This way, they could not only be devoted to improving that particular aspect, but also connect the dots between the different skills taught to them and use them in more appropriate situations. As as result, connecting the dots would also help improve their logical reasoning side of the brain.

So, Saturday (only our second day of training in 2014), we worked solely on passing. These involved individual drills, like passing to the wall and yet keeping control of the ball, those with 4 people, like pass and run, as well as those with over 10 people, like one-touch passing in a circle. Sunday was allotted for dribbling. This was the most enjoyable day for the lads as at the end of the day, everyone aspires to be kings of dribbling, like Ronaldo and Ronaldinho. So, we decided to make it fun on our part as well. We taught them new skills, such as the double scissors and the Cruyff turn. It was a two step process: first, we demonstrated as to how they should be performed and then, we asked them to perform it while shouting out "Ronaldo!", "Messi!", "Ronaldinho!" etc. while they did so. Another interesting dribbling activity was when we put 2 kids in a circle with a ball for 1 minute. For an entire minute, the one who had the ball had to try and keep it away from the other one and the one who didn't have it had to try and steal it from the other. At the end of the minute (or, whenever the ball went out of the designated area), we saw which one of the two had the ball for longer and that one progressed to the next round. We turned it into a competition to make their learning process more engaging. Eventually, the one who remained undefeated was termed "King of the Ring".

Tuesday was allotted for another one of the favourites: shooting. From long ranged shooting, to one-on-one and even penalties, most of the attackers had a wonderful time. Naturally, the defenders weren't as good and were a little disappointed to see their poor conversion rate. However, Nitish and I cheered them up by bringing out their best skill when we played '3 attackers vs 2 defenders'. This is traditionally played with more number of attackers so that there is at least one free person to pass to. Despite the greater number of attackers, only one trio managed to score out of around 17-18 attempts. It was only then that the defenders managed a smile to showcase their dominance. 

Here are a couple of snaps of "King of the Ring":

The kids clearly have no idea of the mighty task ahead of them tomorrow. Nitish and I have planned a full fledged FITNESS day; not a single ball will be kicked. They'll certainly be irked when they come to know, but hopefully they understand the importance of it!

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Delhi Youth League: the midway report

The exhilarating opening ceremony of the 7 month-long Delhi Youth League at Delhi Public Scool, R.K.Puram, served as the perfect forerunner to the scheduled kick-off time. The league, ranging from October to April, is being played in 6 different categories: Under-8, Under-9, Under-11, Under-13, Under-15 and Under-19, all of which feature our teams. Sitting at the midway stage of the league, we wish to provide all our readers with an update on all the action that has taken place so far.
Although The Kutumb Foundation was sitting majestically on top of the standings table in a few of the categories at first, of late our positions in each of the categories has slumped. Struggling to cope up with the leaders so far, our Under-8 team has only managed to bag 8 points from 7 games. With a decent tally of 13 points from their 9 games, our team in the Under-9 category sits 5th, exactly at the mid-point. The Under-11 bracket is the only one in which our team has attained a top half spot. Including 4 wins and 2 draws from their 9 games, this team has really shown some promise. The perseverance they showed in our previous game, to come from 2-0 down at half time and end up as winners 3-2, indicates the maturity levels that have already surfaced in these delightful young ones.

Although our Under-13 team had a poor start to the 2013/14 season, recent 2-1 and 8-1 wins have pushed us up to 6th out of 12 teams. The reinforcement of some of our key players such as Azharuddin, who plays out wide on the right flank, is what has driven the team after a lackluster beginning. 
While the season has been going from poor to promising in the Under-13 category, it has been just the opposite story with the Under-15 lot. Major losses of late of 3-1 and 8-2 means that our team has to spend the holidays reminiscing about the past mistakes that have induced such shocking upshots. Conceding an average of 6 goals per game, the Under-19 team has only got maximum points in 1 of their 10 games and currently sits at the bottom of the table. The other 10 teams in the league have shown no mercy when facing our team. 

Our target for 2014 is to have as many top 3 finishes as we can. The lads have not been wasting any time in the holiday season and have been training with a clear goal set in their minds: to overcome the force of the other NGO's. Well, let's just hope for a better set of results.