soccer coaching practice plans from Decatur Sports

by Matt Callahan

       Matt has been working on these practice plans for several years and is allowing us to post them on our website in order to help other coaches.  Note that the plans have been updated as of April 2005 so that they are compatible with the new versions of Microsoft Word and for those who do not have MS Word Matt has included Adobe PDF versions of each file. 

Click here to download the free version of the Adobe Reader.

The practices are divided into four types:

  • Youth - age appropriate practices for children ten and under

  • Technical - to teach different skills of the game such as passing, receiving, finishing, etc.

  • Tactical - How to make better decisions

  • Functional - what the player's roles are within the game (what is the role of a midfield playmaker, how can we effectively play the ball out of the back with four backs, how can we play from the middle third of the field to the final third).

    The activities used to make up the practices are from the US Soccer National Coaching Schools, an array of books and videos and some that are made up.  If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me.  Best of luck! 

 

Youth - age appropriate football practices for children ten and under


        Following are several practice plans formed from US Youth Soccer activities. The practices are designed for specific ages. In general, activities that are designed for younger teams can be used for an older team as well. However, it would not be a good idea to take a practice designed for a U12 team and try to make it work for a U6 team.
       Often, activities for the younger children can be manipulated or changed to make them more complicated and more appropriate for an older age level. The game Ball Retrieval is a good example. With 8 year olds, many of the tasks that the children are asked to do are not directly soccer related (bring the ball back with your elbows). In addition, the activities are done individually or possibly in pairs. For 12 year olds, the activities require more soccer skill (bring the ball back in six passes) and are done in groups of four rather than individually. Something as simple as placing a restriction on the activity like, “You can only dribble with your right foot”, would make the activity more challenging and appropriate for an older team as well.
      In addition, I have written down some commonly asked questions many coaches have. I would suggest reading all of them as they contain some valuable information. Soccer has some distinct qualities that make coaching it different than any other sport. In addition, an incredibly large amount of research has been done to find out what is the best way to teach soccer to children. Some of the questions deal with that concept.
      As always, if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me. Or, if you do not agree with something or do not understand why something would be done that way, please let me know and I will go into more detail why US Youth Soccer believes soccer should be coached in that manner.
     Thank you for all the time and effort that you put in to be a youth soccer coach!

Matt Callahan

 

Technical - to teach different skills of the game such as passing, receiving, finishing, etc.   

 

Tactical - How to make better decisions  

 

Functional - what the player's roles are within the game (what is the role of a midfield playmaker, how can we effectively play the ball out of the back with four backs, how can we play from the middle third of the field to the final third).