It is vital that you have a clear idea of what you want your players to learn before you step on to the training field. If you don’t, you will waste valuable training time, bore your players as you struggle to make the transition from one unrelated activity to the next and, just as importantly, you simply won’t enjoy your ‘career’ as a soccer coach.
You should also have an idea of where you want your team to be in terms of soccer skills at the end of the season.
Before you can prepare for a training session or set out the framework for your season, you have to know what children should be able to do at different ages. If you don’t, you may set unrealistic goals for your players. This results in frustration for you (“why don’t they get it?!!”) and for your players (“what is he talking about?!”).
U10 soccer coaching objectives (9 Year Olds)
- Tell me and I will forget
- Show me and I will remember
- Involve me and I will understand
1. Further development of U-8 and U-9 objectives
2. Cooperative attacking – all players involved but with an awareness of cover (by the goalkeeper and at least one covering field player). Develop an understanding of the roles that players have in supporting the attack: player with ball, players providing immediate support of ball and other players who create length and unbalance the defense. All this needs to be shown in an environment with greater numbers of teammates and opponents on a larger playing field.
3. Cooperative defending-all players participating, even the most advanced players getting “goal side” of opposing players. Continue to develop show the principles of defense so all players gain the understanding of all the roles when defending. The role of the players that delay and put pressure on the ball; the players that provide support (cover) and the players that provide balance (width).
4. Triangles and diamonds are still the dominating team shapes but more complex because of the larger team numbers.
5. Continued development of the basic skills: passing, dribbling, shooting, ball control, and goalkeeping. The introduction of light heading.
6. Developing an understanding of team shape when attacking, and balance when defending.
• Continued emphasis on the concept of triangular supporting play
• Continued emphasis on combining with teammates (third man running)
• Cooperative attacking (all players)
• Cooperative defending (all players)
• Continued development of the basic skills
Encourage all players to provide good support whether attacking or defending. The game is for all players – everyone should be encouraged to participate, particularly the “non-assertive” player(s). Always encourage in practices & games the use of skill, creativity & decision-making. You can now introduce concepts of “team play”, youngsters are now more receptive to playing a “passing game”, but do not fill their heads about tactics & formations. KEEP IT SIMPLE! Also never stifle the creative, gifted dribbler. This is the time for players of all abilities to experiment & learn from trial and error. Encourage talking in practices & on the field, let them know this is their game and that they own it. Teach players to use “soccer terms” such as “man on” etc. If you believe that the difference between kicking and passing is thinking, and the difference between drills and activities is thinking, then you should understand the premise that “Soccer Is A Player’s Game” and your sessions should give players as many opportunities to both play, think & communicate as possible!
Remember the 3 evils: Lines, Laps & Lectures!
U-11 soccer coaching objectives (10 Year Olds)
1. Preparation for moving into 11-a-side play
2. Developing a basic understanding of the concept and rule of off-side or modified offside.
3. Continued concentration at this age on the more important developments of:
The Triangle in team play
The Diamond in team play
“Third Man running”
Appreciation of the team principles of play and their roles when the team is attacking or defending
High concentration on basic skills in cooperative play, i.e., passing, control, shooting and introduction to heading; goalkeeper techniques and role
4. Continued development of the techniques (basic skills) with limited pressure but in a challenging environment
5. Continued emphasis on the principles of play; and the roles of players when attacking and defending introduced at U-10. Players will need to understand their particular role on the team in supporting the attack and regaining possession of the ball when defending. The players will need guidance in the performance of these roles due to the greater number of players on the field and the increased size of the field. The players should have a basic understanding of how to interchange roles during the course of play.
• Readying players for 11 v 11
• Basic understanding of the offside rule and for tactical play
• Triangles, diamonds plus further development of basic skills
Avoid over-coaching at this transitional time as players get ready to move into 11-a-side.
U-12 soccer coaching objectives (11 Year Olds)
1. Introduction to 11-a-side play.
2. Reinforce basic understanding rule of off-side.
3. Continued concentration at this age on the more important developments at this age of:
o Application of age-appropriate activities
o Emphasis on individual possession
o Emphasis on individual defending
o introduction of basic combination play (Wall pass and takeovers)
o High concentration on basic skills in cooperative play, i.e., passing, control, shooting and heading
o Individuals start to emerge and will begin to focus on role of goalkeeper (Develop foundation of basis techniques.)
4. Continued development of the techniques (basic skills) with greater pressure in a challenging, motivating environment and involve transition.
5. Continued emphasis on the principles of play; and the roles of players when attacking and defending introduced at U-10 and U-11. Players will need to understand their particular role on the team in supporting the attack and regaining possession of the ball when defending. The players will need guidance in the performance of these roles due to the greater number of players on the field and the increased size of the field. The players should have a basic understanding of how to interchange roles during the course of play.
• Introduction to 11 v 11
• Stress importance of individual possession and de- fending
• Further development of basic skills
Implementation of developmentally appropriate activities. Stress the need for development of the individual player versus the success of the team. Avoid overloading this age player with too many tournaments.
courtesy of the Abbotsford Soccer Association