New Ball Method
The idea behind the ‘new ball method’ is to keep the flow of the game constant and increase the number of ball touches by all the players. The ‘new ball method’ eliminates restarts such as throw-ins and corner kicks and keeps the ball in play continuously. Restarts might be important to the game results at the highest level of play, but they have no relevance or developmental benefits at the U-6 through U-8 level.
The basic principle of this method is that, when a ball goes out of bounds, the coach throws a new ball into play. This method has shown that, on average, players’ ball touches increased two and threefold.
To implement the ‘new ball method’, use either one coach, or two coaches, to roll the balls back in to play. If using two coaches, each coach should be in charge of half a field. The coach(s) should hold a number of balls, ready to be rolled in, one at a time. - When a ball goes out of bounds, the coach yells “new ball!” and rolls a new one in. The players will learn quickly to react to the new ball.
Coaches can restart a “New Ball” with the following techniques:
- If a ball goes out of bounds, the coach may roll the ball in to the general and neuatral area it went out of play. This mechanism is effective to keep the course of play flowing and natural. This will likely be the most commonly used mechanism.
- If one team is clearly dominating play, a new ball can be played to shift the direction of the attack and give the dominated team a chance to attack and the other team a chance to defend. The new ball should not be used to start a quick counter attack.
- In cases where players are bunched (often in a corner) and the ball is having difficulty getting cleared, the coach can yell “Reset”. In this case, players should quickly retreat back to their respective positions and side and a new ball is played neutrally.
- If a player is having difficulty getting involved in play and is more passive, a new ball can be played directly to that player to encourage them to get involved.