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Soccer coaching tips to get players trying out all roles

Do you manage a team of U7s and use a policy of rotating players through every position on match days but find that some of the players will always automatically revert to their favoured position of attacker or defender, regardless of where they are asked to play?

This is a typical coaching problem with this age group and parents often like to add an extra complication by requesting that their child should play in their favoured position.

However, the policy of rotating players through all positions is good practice and definitely appropriate for six and seven-year-old players.

It is also a good policy to include the goalkeeper in this rotation. Many coaches keep the same "volunteer" in goal all season and at U7 level it's really a job that should be shared out equally among the team.

If you have a couple of players who seem to like playing in a particular position, by all means let them play most games in that position. But at such a young age it's impossible to know which players are going to be your strikers, goalkeepers, midfielders or defenders of the future. So it's wrong to put a label on them just yet.

It's also not a good idea to bow to parental pressure when you're drawing up the team. You are the coach, not the parents.

You understand that all your players need to be exposed to all positions (how else can they know what it's like to score goals or make great goal-saving tackles?) and that it doesn't matter a jot if you lose a few matches at U7 level.

Explain to your parents that you're building a team for the future, not the next match!

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