Coaching: Sequenced keep ups

One of my favourite warm up activities is what I call sequenced keep ups. Regular keep ups are great and serve their purpose well. They force players to react quickly and be ready and able to use any part of their body, often without much warning.

But by applying a sequence to the keep ups, by making players taking certain touches in a particular order you force a much more precise touch and force them to plan ahead rather than reacting to where the ball happens to go.

If you tell the players, “First touch on your left thigh, then your head, then your right thigh.” it forces them to think through the type of touches they’ll need to take in order to get the ball to those body parts in that order. It adds direction and appropriate weight (light touch or heavier touch) to each contact of the ball and forces players to prepare their body by quickly adjusting their balance to take the next touch where it has to be taken.

There are loads of sequences you can have your team do. Remember though that the key is to be specific with what part of the body they can use for each touch.

For younger players or those still developing basic technique, try these:
* right foot, bounce on the ground, left foot, catch (and reverse order)
* right thigh, left thigh, catch (and reverse order)
* right thigh, right foot, catch (and then on the left)
* head, bounce on the ground, right foot, left foot (and reverse order of touches with feet)
* right thigh, left thigh, bounce right foot, catch (and reverse order)

Some intermediate sequences:
* right thigh, right thigh, left thigh, left thigh, catch
* right foot, right thigh, head, catch
* right thigh, head, left thigh, catch
* right shoulder, bounce on ground, right foot, catch (and same on left)
* head, right thigh, right foot, catch (and same on left)

And some advanced sequences:
* round the world : right thigh, right foot, left foot, left thigh, catch
* foot over: right thigh, left thigh, right leg swings over the ball as it bounces and then right foot brings it up to hands to catch
* should, head, shoulder, catch
* right foot, head, left foot, catch
* and lastly, the pyramid: right foot, right thigh, right shoulder, head, left shoulder, left thigh, left foot, catch.

The pyramid is the ultimate one that we work towards. Here’s a video of the Pt.Grey Roadrunners 15 Girls Gold team doing the pyramid (they’ve been doing these exercises for three years and this may have been the first time that three girls got it in the same session).

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