Sport hazards and how to handle them

Soccer coach Isiah Sehlapelo is passionate about soccer and coaching.

POLOKWANE – Each sporting code has its own type of dangers or hazards.

This week, soccer coach Isaiah Sehlapelo tells us more about match hazards for players to look out for and on how to overcome these.

“There are several match hazards that you will experience during the years in a soccer team.

As a soccer coach, I can give back some coaching instructions to my soccer teams, before kick-off, which helps my team to achieve better tactical results… there are also some team management solutions to some of the other hazards,” he added.

He said following only a few of these tactical suggestions will help most teams play at a professional level.

“With junior soccer teams, coaches should not worry much about tactical adjustments, as long as the kids are getting to the fields, getting their playing time, and having fun on a safe field, the players should be fine,” he added.

Isaiah breaks down the different match hazards and how to overcome them:

• The weather is very unpredictable, if a player gets choice of ends, play with the wind at your back in the first half, as the wind could stop or change at any time. When playing against the wind, keep passes on the ground, make clearances wide. If the wind is very strong, clear everything from the defending third of your field, not just from the penalty area, and sort out possession in the midfield or attacking thirds.

• When the sun is positioned in a bad angle. If it is quite obvious that the sun is will be a problem at one end during the second half, take that end during the first half if you have a choice. Otherwise, ask your captain to take the end with the least sun in your keeper’s eyes during the first half.

• Rain can also be bad when playing on the field as it may become extremely slippery. You should ask your keeper to get body and hands behind every ball to ensure that a wet ball won’t slip through a grip or skip through legs. The communication between your team mates will have to be louder as you play as the rain is loud sometimes.

• If the grass is deep on the field, it makes long instep passing difficult. Encourage your players to loft their passes to the wings and to space behind the last defenders, to play shorter combinations, and to carry the ball in attack. Instead of diagonal balls on the ground to the wings, play lofted diagonal passes. In defence, the deep grass will assist your defenders, so ask them to be patient and to keep the attackers in front of them, no diving in.

• If you are the home team and your field is hard with clumpy grass, assess your team’s skill with respect to the other team. If you are way ahead, select a game ball that is inflated to the legal maximum and let the other team struggle with a bouncing ball. If you are way behind, select a softer ball. Urge your players to keep the ball on the ground and to pass to feet. If the opposing team is a whack ball team, you’ll want to coach your players to attack by combination play and dribbling, and to avoid passing the ball or crossing the ball into the space in front of the opposing defenders. Cross the ball or chip the ball into the space behind the central defenders instead, or play a through ball from midfield into this space. Ask one of your strikers to use the opposing sweeper as a starting position and to challenge for every ball so that the sweeper will not have the chance to clear cleanly. Ask your central defenders to keep more depth in their defending shape, and ensure that your wing and midfielders track runners on loss of possession.

“No weather should stop a soccer match, we just all have to find a way to overcome that specific weather.”

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Anne Molope

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