U-10/U-12 team of 14 players, 90 Minutes Total
Equipment: 7 red and 7 yellow bibs; 16 cones; 1 ball per player; 1/2 normal size football pitch.
Coach arrives at least 15 min. early and lays out two lines of cones 5 yards apart, 8 cones per line, with 5 yards between lines yielding 7 5*5 grids.
15 min.: Warm-up. Each player with a ball in 1/2 of the penalty area. Dribble with both feet, go at angles, change direction, moving slowly for 2-3 minutes. Stretch. 1/2 of players put their balls outside of area and spread out around area with feet spread apart. Remaining players dribble ball around area and, on command “start”, begin to score points by passing ball between legs of stationary players. Can score on each stationary player once before moving on to next. Emphasize head up, avoid traffic and congested “goals”, proper pace of pass so that it a) gets through but b) doesn’t end up in the next county. Time for 1 minute and switch roles. Stretch. Now players with ball must dribble around area and on command “start” make eye contact with a stationary player, call their name, pass ball to them, and move to get a return pass. Time for 1 minute, score a point for each pass completed, switch and repeat. Emphasize head up, communication before pass, proper pace on pass.
15 min: Players in pairs with one ball per pair, one pair in each 5*5 yd. grid. Coach demonstrates Inside of Foot pass. Players pass inside their own grid for 5 min. Emphasize toe up, heel down, ankle locked, turn foot out sideways; plant foot faces direction pass is to go; kicking leg bent slightly. Hit through the ball slightly above center, contacting the ball with inside of foot between ball of foot and heel.
After 5 min., coach demonstrates simple foot reception and players both pass and receive for 5 min. additional. Emphasize on reception don’t stop ball, just cushion it and push it out to the side a bit; use same part of foot used for passing, step into ball for next pass.
After about 10 minutes, have players keep kicking foot raised for a few moments after kick. If they’ve done it correctly, they’ll be facing receiver and easily balanced on one foot…
Look to correct: for pass: Leg playing the ball stiff/straight; plant leg too far away from ball; kicking too hard/soft; hitting ball too low (goes up in air) or too high (bounces).
Look to correct: for reception: Ball stopped dead instead of cushioned and pushed out; ball pushed out too far/close; receiving surface “hard” rather than “soft”; receiving with wrong part of foot.
[Note: There those who shudder at the thought of mixing two concepts, e.g. passing and receiving, in the same exercise and they are certainly welcome to their opinion. It is the writer’s opinion, however, that in the case of passing exercises, proper reception makes the ensuing pass easier in that the player is stepping into a slowly moving ball.]
10 min.–Groups of three (grab an assistant coach, parent, sibling, etc. or put 4 in a group and add another cone to that area), each group with a ball, 1st group standing on 3 of cones in first grid, next group on second group of 4 cones, etc. Player with ball starts with pass to either of other two players and runs to empty cone. Receiver repeats. Move from unlimited touch to two-touch to one-touch over course of season. Emphasize and correct same points as in prior section. After they get the idea, time and see how many completed passes in 1 minute.
5 min.— Drink break and socializing. (All players dribble their ball to you before heading off). Coach re-sets cones to mark off two 20*25 yd fields with 4 yd. cone goals at the diagonal ends of the long sides of the rectangle.
25 min.– 5v2 progression as follows. Technical points for all same as in first section. Emphasize also how much easier the game is for the attackers if they keep the space big, use the whole field, move after passing, & play away from pressure. (This can START off as 6v1 and move to 5v2 as players become more skilled.)
- 5 players pass the ball around. Defenders simply give ball back if they intercept or kick out of area. No points scored. Change roles frequently.
- Repeat 1 but every 5 consecutive passes is a goal (recruit assistant, parent, sibling, etc. to count passes). If defenders win, they score by dribbling to any side of the rectangle and stop it by stepping on it. Any ball going out of bounds, whether kicked or dribbled, goes back to attackers. Keep score out loud. Stop in few minutes and switch roles.
- Same but defenders can score by inside foot pass through either of small goals.
5 min.– Drink and socializing. Coach re-sets field to 35*50, 5-6 yard goals.
10 min.— Scrimmage. Coach observes ONLY.
5 min.–Warm-down, players pick up all equipment, shag balls, get reminded where and when next practice/game is, etc.