Progressive Possession (9v9)

There's a common saying in football: If you don't shoot, you don't score. Well if you don't keep possession of the ball, you'll have a lot more difficulty scoring. Many players that I've worked with over the years have had the common bad habit of simply just kicking the ball the second they get it. Sometimes even older players have this issue. The assumption for these players is if I can get the ball closer to the net then we as a team will have a better chance of scoring. But more often than not, all this does is present the other team with an opportunity to pick up the ball and go on the attack themselves. Players need to learn how to keep possession of the ball, particularly under pressure, and how to turn that possession into a goal scoring chance. Tiki taka football is nice and all, but possession needs to have a purpose and that is exactly what we are going to explore in this article about coaching Progressive Possession at the young ages.

Communication in Youth Soccer

Communication is one of the most important skills for young players learning their trade in the beautiful game to develop. Communication is not just all about players shouting at each other and calling for the ball. It goes far beyond that to non-verbal communication, body language, and even knowing when not to communicate. Here are some of the key words and phrases that young players can communicate to their teammates during games.

Attacking Transitions (9v9)

Transitional moments are an aspect of the game that most coaches neglect to focus on as much as they should. Transitions both from attack to defense and from defense to attack, are essential and can be a source of both goals and goals conceded. Attacking transitions can be defined as the moment of time between … Continue reading Attacking Transitions (9v9)

Defensive Transitions (9v9)

INTRODUCTION Transitional moments are an aspect of the game that most coaches neglect to focus on as much as they should. Transitions both from attack to defense and from defense to attack, are essential and can be a source of both goals and goals conceded. Defensive transitions can be defined as the moment of time … Continue reading Defensive Transitions (9v9)

Switching Play (9v9)

The popularity of switching play as a tactical concept has long been a dominating strategy in the world of football. Its popularity is exemplified by the many different forms and names it has taken on over the years such as shifting the ball from side to side or playing across the direct game channels. Even at … Continue reading Switching Play (9v9)

Playing out from the Back (9v9)

Nearly every single professional team these days strives to play out from the back. Gone are the days when a goalkeeper would launch the ball up the field to a fast/tall striker to chase on to or nod down. Build-up play has become more and more important in the professional game and youth teams are beginning to take notice too. From a youth development perspective, playing out of the back is far more beneficial for all players than just one player kicking it up the field as far as they can in hopes that a fast, physical player will get on the end of in.

Pressing From The Front (9v9)

Pressing can be defined as the elimination of space and time by the defending team, through quick and immediate action. The goal of pressing is to delay the attacking team a route to go forward, while working as a unit to win the ball back. Pressing from the front takes place in the opposition’s half, … Continue reading Pressing From The Front (9v9)

Pep Guardiola – Manchester City – Tactical Analysis

Other than a rocky performance against Norwich City, things have been business as usual for Pep Guardiola and Manchester City so far this season. The 2019-20 season has gotten off to a great start for the man and team who seem to never settle for anything shy of perfection. All the key players are firing on all cylinders and City look well on their way to breaking more records. Here is The Mastermind's Tactical Analysis for Pep Guardiola and Manchester City so far in 2019-20.

Brendan Rodgers – Leicester City – Tactical Analysis

Leicester City have had an exceptional start to the 2019-20 Premier League season, losing just 1 of their opening 7 matches. If it weren't for the all-star cast and crew of England's top two teams, the Foxes could very well have found themselves in a similar position to where they were at this time back in 2015-16 when Claudio Ranieri led Leicester to a league title. Brendan Rodgers has done an incredible job since taking over as Leicester manager for Claude Puel back in late February and has turned the Foxes back into one of England's top sides after a couple of years of nothing more than mid-table success. Here is The Mastermind's Tactical Analysis of Leicester City so far in 2019-20 under Brendan Rogers.

Antonio Conte – Inter Milan – Tactical Analysis

Since Antonio Conte's arrival at Inter Milan, the Italian giants have completely transformed into the most effective side in all of Serie A. Conte's start to life at San Siro has gotten off without a hitch and I Nerazzurri have won all six of their matches to the start off the league campaign. In that … Continue reading Antonio Conte – Inter Milan – Tactical Analysis

Best Formations for 9v9 (Part 2)

Along with the growing popularity of the 9v9 game in youth soccer, is a growing popularity of the examination of different 9v9 formations. We pretty much covered it in Best Formations for 9v9 (part 1), but there are so many formations out there, so might as well explore some of the other best options in this part 2 of Best Formations for 9v9. Enjoy! 

Playing Out From The Back – Full Session Plan and Key Coaching Points

Playing out from the back is far from a new concept, but the importance it has taken on in the last decade has grown immensely in the modern game. Nearly every team strives to play out from the back and with the recent rule change to allow defenders inside their own penalty area on goal kicks, playing out from the back is set to become even more encouraged for every team on the planet. Some less familiar to football may question why teams would want to play the ball around their own half off of goal kicks, rather than just clearing it away to the other half. However, playing out from the back is actually a far less dangerous option...

Coaching the 3-2-3 (9v9)

Over the past year of coaching 9v9 soccer, the 3-2-3 has become my favourite formation to use. I am a firm believer that the formation of any team should not be based around a club identity or a coach's personal style of play, but rather based around the team's style of play and the personnel of the team. However, I have found that the 3-2-3 is fantastic in suiting nearly every type of player and the simple and easy variations that can be created using the formation such as shifting into a 3-1-3-1, allow coaches to tweak and change their style of play to fit the needs of the vast majority of youth soccer players.

The Rise of the 3-1-4-2

In terms of formations and tactics, one of the major surprises of the 2018-19 season in Europe has been the rise of the 3-1-4-2. Although the formation is only a very minor spin on the popular 3-5-2, seemingly a host of teams around Europe have implemented this formation, and not just in Italy where back-three … Continue reading The Rise of the 3-1-4-2

Best Formations for 9v9

9v9 is one of the most exciting stages in the development of young players as it's the first time they are truly able to understand positioning, formations and how to play to the strengths of their teammates. In The Mastermind's hometown province of Ontario, 9v9 starts at the U11 stage and ends at U13, when … Continue reading Best Formations for 9v9

Ciro Immobile – Tactical Analysis

Italian striker Ciro Immobile has been one of the most lethal goal scorers in world football over the last five years, yet still does not get the full recognition that he deserves as one of Europe's top strikers. So far in 2019-20, only Polish striker Robert Lewandowski has scored more goals than Immobile in Europe's … Continue reading Ciro Immobile – Tactical Analysis

Best Formations for 6v6

Once upon a time 6v6 was a popular game format in the United States at the youth level, but in recent years has been phased out in favour of 7v7. However, many leagues and tournaments, particularly indoors, still use 6v6 as their game format. We've examined the best formations to play for 5v5, 7v7, 8v8, … Continue reading Best Formations for 6v6

Best Formations for 5v5

Formations shouldn't really come into play too much in the 5v5 game format, nor should they ever really be emphasized for players young enough to be playing 5v5. However, 5v5 is not only a popular format for younger players, but Futsal and Indoor soccer games around the world. In order to develop a certain style … Continue reading Best Formations for 5v5

3 Ways To Play 3-5-2

After years and years of back-four systems being the dominating dogma in world football, back-three systems are now starting to take over. Former Italy and Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has been a long-time proponent of back-three systems throughout his career. Now, top of the table with Inter Milan, Conte has experimented with three different versions … Continue reading 3 Ways To Play 3-5-2