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)

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)

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

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.

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

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! 

Positions, Roles and Responsibilities in 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.

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.

Individual Marking & Defensive Awareness – Analytical Activity

As the great Sir Alex Ferguson once said - "Attack wins you games, defence wins you titles." This quotation does a fantastic job in highlighting the importance of a strong defence, but it's also important to note that defense also wins you games, which eventually then leads to those title wins that the legendary former … Continue reading Individual Marking & Defensive Awareness – Analytical Activity

Playing Through the Central Midfielder – Conditioned Game

Central midfielders are essential to build up play and playing out from the back. As a result, it is necessary to teach players in the position where to be on the pitch during build-up phases. This conditioned game will teach all players how to involve the central midfielder in playing out from the back, in … Continue reading Playing Through the Central Midfielder – Conditioned Game