Restricted vs. Conditioned Games – Coaching Soccer

Many coaches often add restrictions to games. Restrictions like needing to complete three passes before the team can score or players being locked into different zones on the field can be valuable to teaching certain topics to young players. But restrictions need to be used wisely. Instead of restricting behaviours, coaches should look to encourage behaviours and do so more carefully through encouraging something to happen, rather than restricting it. In this article I will outline why restricted games should be more scarcely used, and why the term 'conditioned game' should possibly have a change of meaning to urge coaches to encourage the behaviours of their players in games without restricting their players.

Teaching First Touch in Youth Soccer

The first touch that a player makes after receiving the ball is a highly underrated skill. The first touch can often make or break an attack and in some cases make a break a player's ability to score a goal. Here is a quick-fire guide to teaching young players how to take their first touch.

Support in Attack (9v9)

Although players are constantly thrust into 1v1 battles on a football pitch, attacking is something that the whole team needs to engage in as a unit. As a result, players need to learn how to support each other in attack, even if they are not directly involved with the play. This article will explore support … Continue reading Support in Attack (9v9)

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)

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

Managing Different Personalities on a Sports Team

Every athlete is different. Every athlete has a unique set of characteristics, behaviours, dispositions and traits that make them who they are and can directly affect their ability to perform. Managing these different personalities can be a daunting task for any sport manager, coach or leader, particularly in a team setting where twelve to eighteen conflicting personalities may require managing.

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! 

Is U13 Too Early For 11v11?

When Long-Term-Player-Development (LTPD) was introduced to soccer in Canada in 2008, one of its many goals was to shorten field sizes, game times and players on the field in accordance with what would be most beneficial for the development of children. Now, eleven years on from all the changes which have widely been accepted and … Continue reading Is U13 Too Early For 11v11?