Academy Coach Course

SSG Managing & Modifying

Managing and Modifying Small-Sided Games

**1. How to Manage a SSG: Ensuring Player Involvement, Maintaining Flow**

Managing a Small-Sided Game (SSG) effectively is critical for maximizing player involvement and maintaining the flow of the game.

**Player Involvement:** Every player should be actively participating in the game. As a coach, ensure that all players are engaged and involved in the play. Rotate players through different positions to help them experience various roles and responsibilities on the field.

**Maintaining Flow:** To keep the game flowing, limit your interventions during play. Instead, use natural stoppages, such as a goal scored or a ball out of bounds, to provide coaching input. This allows the players to experience the continuous nature of the game and solve problems on their own.

**2. Modifying Games in Response to Player Performance and Engagement**

One of the key skills of coaching SSGs is the ability to modify games based on the players’ performance and engagement levels.

**Player Performance:** If a game is too easy or hard, make modifications to keep it challenging yet achievable. For instance, if players are struggling to maintain possession, you might add a ‘neutral’ player to give the team in possession a numerical advantage.

**Player Engagement:** If players seem disinterested or disengaged, it could be a sign that the game needs changing. You might introduce a new challenge, change the scoring system, or rotate positions to reignite their interest.

**3. Dealing with Common Challenges in SSGs: Domination by One Player, Uneven Teams, Maintaining Interest**

There are several common challenges that you might face when running SSGs, and it’s essential to be prepared to deal with them effectively.

**Domination by One Player:** If one player is dominating, you could set them personal challenges to ensure they continue to develop (e.g., they must complete a certain skill before they can score). Alternatively, consider balancing the teams more effectively.

**Uneven Teams:** If one team is significantly stronger, consider adjusting the teams or introducing conditions to level the playing field. For example, the stronger team might have to complete more passes before they can score.

**Maintaining Interest:** Keeping players interested and engaged is key. Rotate the types of games you play, introduce new challenges and goals regularly, and always ensure that your feedback is positive and constructive.

Remember, the goal of SSGs is to create a fun, engaging, and player-centric environment that promotes development. Regularly reflecting on your practice and being prepared to make adjustments as necessary will ensure your SSGs are as effective as possible.

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