Coaching Guidelines

Ages 5‐7

Development of Individual Skills

Individual and Small Group Tactics

ItemGuidelines
Qualities of CoachPatience; good humor; ability to see the world through a child’s eyes; Ability to speak their language; Accept that the children’s play will not look like soccer
TechniqueAge‐appropriate activities
DribblingTurning with ball
PassingIntroduce passing
Tactics“Where is the field?”, “Which goal to kick toward?”
PhysicalBalance; running; jumping; intro to warm‐up
PsychologicalSharing; fair play; parental involvement; “How to play;” emotional management
The Game3 v 3, 4 v 4, 5 v 5
TournamentsNone
BreaksChildren at this age should be able to play when they want to play, and walk away when they are through
Patience; good humor; ability to see the world through a child’s eyes; Ability to speak their language; Accept that the children’s play will not look like soccer
Age‐appropriate activities

Coaches:
The above information was compiled based on research from courses, seminars, symposiums, clinics, discussions, observations, and articles on the subject of player development. They are guidelines about what players of this age group should be working on. However, you know your players best; you must adjust to challenge our players based on their individual and team needs and abilities. Your goal is to ensure that at the end of every practice and every game, your players have improved technically and tactically, as individuals and as members of the team.

Ages 8‐9

Development of Individual Skills

Individual and Small Group Tactics

ItemGuidelines
Qualities of CoachMust clearly understand the capabilities and limitations of this age. Appreciate the power of learning by watching; Ability to demonstrate or use older players to demonstrate
TechniqueAge‐appropriate activities / warm-up games
DribblingTurning with ball; ball lifting; juggling
Passing & receivingIntroduce passing; Receiving ground balls with inside and sole of foot; shooting with inside of foot
TacticsTry all positions; 1 v 1 attack; introduce names of positions
PhysicalAgility; eye/foot and eye/hand coordination; introduce idea of cool‐down; movement
PsychologicalWorking in pairs; sportsmanship; parental involvement; “How to play;” emotional management
The Game3 v 3, 4 v 4, 5 v 5; No organized matches with recorded scores
TournamentsNone
BreaksChildren at this age should participate at their own pace. No penalty or consequence for missing practice. No discussion about “commitment.” Include all children who want to play. Allow students who want to walk away

Coaches:
The above information was compiled based on research from courses, seminars, symposiums, clinics, discussions, observations and articles on the subject of player development. They are guidelines about what players of this age group should be working on. However, you know your players best; you must adjust to challenge our players based on their individual and team needs and abilities. Your goal is to ensure that at the end of every practice and every game, your players have improved technically and tactically, as individuals and as members of the team.

U-10

Development of Individual Skills

Individual and Small Group Tactics

It is extremely important that we establish a solid foundation at this age. During this time, we should introduce new skills, which will continue to promote the player to acquire an increased comfort level with the ball. At the same time, the coach will assist in the building of self‐confidence, intrinsically – driven, by doing and being successful. Demonstration is very important and the players learn best by doing. Players of this age have a high arousal level in relation to the training of basic skill. This is also the time where the player begins his/her transition from self‐centered to self‐critical. This is the beginning of the “golden period” of learning and the most important age for skill development.

ItemGuidelines
Qualities of CoachSensitive, enthusiastic and energetic. He/she plays while facilitating the practice. Encourage ideas
TechniqueDevelopment of individual skills under pressure of time, space and an opponent. Increase technical speed
DribblingContinue to work on improving comfort with the ball, running with the ball, taking on opponents, and incorporate fakes in dribbling
Passing & receivingProper technique in receiving the ball with all surfaces of the body; instep and the outside of the foot; receiving ground balls; air ball and bouncing balls; proper technique‐laces; inside, outside; short and long passes; throw‐in
TacklingProper technique
TacticsPlayers should play a variety of positions. Introduce an awareness of complete player. 1 v 1 defending; 1 v 1 attacking; Roles of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd attacker and defender; 2 v1 attacking; man to man defense; introduction to set plays
Teaching / Coaching within 4 v 4 games
ItemSubsetGuidelines
PhysicalAll fitness work done with the ball
FlexibilityStatic stretching
AgilityCoordination on the ball
Speed; Strength; Endurance; BalanceProper warm‐up and cool‐down are a must
PsychologicalKeep it FUN and ENJOYABLE to foster a desire to play (intrinsic motivation). Working in groups of 3, 4, 5; stay focused for one half; how to win or lose gracefully; sportsmanship, “how to play"; communication; emotional management
The Game4 v 4, 5 v 5, and 8 v 8
TournamentsAt this age, tournaments should be treated as festivals; players should have fun. Winning should not be in the picture
Patience; good humor; ability to see the world through a child’s eyes; Ability to speak their language; Accept that the children’s play will not look like soccer
Age‐appropriate activities

Coaches:
The above information was compiled based on research from courses, seminars, symposiums, clinics, discussions, observations and articles on the subject of player development. They are guidelines about what players of this age group should be working on. However, you know your players best; you must adjust to challenge our players based on their individual and team needs and abilities. Your goal is to ensure that at the end of every practice and every game, your players have improved technically and tactically, as individuals and as members of the team.

U-11

Development of Individual Skills

Individual and Small Group Tactics

It is imperative that we continue to build on the solid foundation that the player will need in the future to be successful. Players should be encouraged to be imaginative and to try new things. At the same time, the player should be encouraged to play different positions and to watch professional teams and older players play in order to acquire a better understanding of the game. This is also an important time to introduce and teach the basic principles of play. It is important to establish discipline from the beginning.

ItemSubsetGuidelines
Qualities of CoachSensitive teacher; enthusiastic; has soccer awareness; ability to demonstrate and someone who knows how to build relationships with his / her players
TechniqueContinue to work on improving players’ comfort on the ball. As the players become better skilled, the speed of technical play should be encouraged to increase
DribblingEncourage risk taking!! Moves to beat an opponent; Keeping possession‐shielding; spin turns; change of speed; change of direction
ReceivingGround and air balls. All surfaces; from a partner; on the move
ShootingProper striking technique, partner serve from all angles; turns; cut backs; volleys
PassingProper technique‐laces, inside, outside; short and long; crossing
HeadingSelf serve, partner serve, jumping to head, turning the ball, partner juggling
TacklingProper technique
TacticsPreparation for moving into 11-a -side play; Development of the basic understanding of the concept and rule of off‐side; Continue concentration at this age on the more important developments of the triangle 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 heading, goalkeeper techniques and roles; Continued emphasis on the principles of play, and the roles of the players that were introduced at U‐10
Individual1 v 1
AttackingKeep possession; encourage risk taking; take players on 1v1 proper areas of the field
DefendingProper pressure (in front and behind); channel player; immediate chase
Small group2 v 1, 2 v 2, 3 v 1, 3 v 2, 3 v 3
AttackingKeep possession; support; combination play; wall pass; take over; overlap; double pass
DefendingPressure/cover; marking
A great deal of Teaching/Coaching within 4 v 4 Games
ItemSubsetGuidelines
PhysicalAll fitness work done with the ball
FlexibilityStatic stretching
AgilityCoordination on the ball
Speed; Strength; Endurance; BalanceProper warm –up and cool‐down are a must
PsychologicalKeep it FUN and ENJOYABLE to foster a desire to play (intrinsic motivation). Encourage decision‐making. Imagination / Creativity. Increase demands. Discipline; Encourage players to watch high‐level soccer
The Game8 v 8 or 9 v 9
TournamentsAt this age tournaments should be limited and FUN!!! Try to do your best as an individual and as team should be the goal

Coaches: The above information was compiled based on research from courses, seminars, symposiums, clinics, discussions, observations, and articles on the subject of player development. They are guidelines about what players of this age group should be working on. However, you know your players best. You must adjust to challenge our players based on their individual and team needs and abilities. Your goal is to ensure that at the end of every practice and every game, your players have improved technically and tactically, as individuals and as members of the team.

U-12

Development of Individual Skills
Individual and Small Group Tactics

This is the perfect age of development. Players worship their soccer heroes, identify with successful teams / players and possess a desire and hunger for imagination and imitation of their hero or their teammates. Players of this age enjoy the training of basic skills. This is the “golden age of learning” and the most important age of development. Modeling is extremely important and the players learn best by doing. This is the age to continue to teach the basic principles of play. It is imperative from the beginning that there is individual and team discipline.

ItemSubsetGuidelines
Qualities of CoachSensitive teacher, enthusiastic, possess soccer awareness, ability to demonstrate, encouraging, build relationships with players
TechniqueExtremely important to develop individual strong base; development of individual skills under the pressure of time, space, and an opponent; increase technical speed‐“Can a player do magic at full speed, in a limited space and with an opponent on his/her back???!!!” This is what we should be striving for
DribblingPromote risk taking!!! Take on opponents; keep possession‐shielding; turns; change of speed and direction
ReceivingGround and air balls; all surfaces; from partner and on the move
ShootingProper sticking technique partner serve from all angles; turns; cut backs; volleys
PassingProper technique – laces; inside, outside; short and long; crossing
HeadingSelf serve‐partner serve‐ jumping to head; turning the ball; partner juggling
TacklingProper technique
TacticsPerfect age to develop the “Basic Principles of Play”; Play a variety of positions‐develop an awareness / complete player; Promote attacking soccer – possible play 3‐4‐3
Individual1 v 1
AttackingKeep possession; encourage risk taking; take players on 1 V 1 in proper areas of the field
DefendingProper pressure (in front and behind); channel player; immediate chase
Small group2 v 1, 2 v 2, 3 v 1, 3 v 2, 3 v 3
AttackingKeep possession; support; combination play; wall pass; take over; overlap; double pass
DefendingPressure / cover; marking
A great deal of Teaching / Coaching within 4 V 4 games
ItemSubsetGuidelines
PhysicalAll fitness work done with the ball
FlexibilityStatic stretching
AgilityCoordination on the ball
Speed; Strength; Endurance; BalanceProper warm‐up and cool‐down are a must
PsychologicalKeep it FUN and ENJOYABLE to foster a desire to play (intrinsic motivation). Encourage decision‐making; imagination /creativity; increase demands; discipline; encourage players to watch high‐level soccer
The Game8 v 8 or 9 v 9 or 11 v 11
TournamentsCompetitive and age appropriate; emphasis should be placed on the individual improvement and team play
Patience; good humor; ability to see the world through a child’s eyes; Ability to speak their language; Accept that the children’s play will not look like soccer
Age‐appropriate activities

Coaches:
The above information was compiled based on research from courses, seminars, symposiums, clinics, discussions, observations, and articles on the subject of player development. They are guidelines about what players of this age group should be working on. However, you know your players best; you must adjust to challenge our players based on their individual and team needs and abilities. Your goal is to ensure that at the end of every practice and every game, your players have improved technically and tactically, as individuals and as members of the team.

U‐13 and U‐14

Development of Individual Skills

Individual and Small Group Tactics

At this age, the game becomes a more “adult game.” As a result, adult rules and standards must apply. The speed of the game and individual development quickens. Therefore, the demands at our training should adjust in a way to provoke improvement in mental toughness, awareness and diligence.

ItemSubsetGuidelines
Qualities of CoachAbility to demonstrate, possess soccer awareness, motivator, encouraging, and sensitive to the players’ development
TechniqueContinue to work on the foundation. Development of individual skills under pressure of time, space and an opponent; Increase technical speed
DribblingEncourage taking on 1 v 1 Feints / moves; maintain possession; shielding / spin turns
ReceivingQuality first touch take balls out of the air / turning; all surfaces; on the run
ShootingOn the run; on the turn; from all angles; crosses; volleys
PassingShort, long, bend, crosses, driven, chipped ‐‐‐All surfaces, all on the run
HeadingDefending, attacking and passing headers
TacklingProper technique, slide
TacticsIncrease tactical speed (Decision making)
Individual1 v 1
AttackingKeep possession; encourage risk taking; taking players on the proper areas of the field
DefendingProper pressure (in front and behind); channel players; immediate chase; angles of pressure
Small group2 v 1, 2 v 2, 3 v 2, 3 v 3, 4 v 2, 4 v 4
AttackingKeep possession; support; combination play; wall pass; take over; overlap; double pass; width; depth; penetration; crossing with proper runs in the box and simple set plays
DefendingUnderstand the roles of the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd defender in a team play; maintain shape; cover for teammates; and the different systems
A great deal of Teaching / Coaching within 4 v 4 and 7 v 7 games
ItemSubsetGuidelines
PhysicalAll fitness work done with the ball
FlexibilityStatic stretching and dynamic flexibility
AgilityCoordination on the ball
Speed; Strength; Endurance; BalanceProper warm–up and cool‐down are a must
PsychologicalThe game should remain fun and enjoyable. We should encourage our players to play with passion for the game. Imagination / creativity; increase demands ; establish training targets; maintain discipline; encourage players to watch highlevel soccer
The Game11 v 11
TournamentsHighly competitive and demanding games; emphasis placed on the individual and team play

Coaches: The above information was compiled based on research from courses, seminars, symposiums, clinics, discussions, observations, and articles on the subject of player development. They are guidelines about what players of this age group should be working on. However, you know your players best. You must adjust to challenge our players based on their individual and team needs and abilities. Your goal is to ensure that at the end of every practice and every game, your players have improved technically and tactically, as individuals and as members of the team.

U‐15 and U‐16

Development of Skill and Group Tactics

This is a crucial time in the player’s development. Many players stop playing soccer due to a number of reasons. Some of those reasons are: lack of success, shortage of playing opportunities, poor leadership, or some other reason. Some players do not have the mental toughness or self-confidence to continue with the game. They are self‐critical and they have a challenging time with the desire to be competitive, which is not always acceptable by their peers. This is also the time where there is a need for team spirit, leadership and discipline within the team.

ItemSubsetGuidelines
Qualities of CoachAbility to demonstrate, possess soccer awareness, motivator, encouraging and sensitive to the players’ development
Technique: Dribbling, Receiving, Shooting, Passing, Heading and TacklingSkills should be mastered to the point of beauty and improvisation. All activities must be under match conditions. Individual skill is covered during the warm‐up. Increased technical speed; it is important that technique is still highly emphasized at this age; strike balls cleanly over distance, with accuracy under pressure
TacticsIncrease tactical speed (Decision making)
Groups3 v 3, 4 v 4, 7 v 7
AttackingKeep possession with purpose; width ‐ depth; support; Combination play; wall pass; take over; overlap; double pass; third man running; Penetration; Mobility / Creativity; Crossing with proper runs into the box; Set plays
DefendingCompactness; Delay; Tracking back; Communication (who, what, when, where); Teach to enjoy winning possession on the ball and dictating the play with defending; Set plays
A great deal of Coaching within 7 V 7 games
ItemSubsetGuidelines
PhysicalFitness work with and without the ball
FlexibilityStatic stretching before and after training / matches; Dynamic Flexibility (especially before matches and training); Importance of disciple for warm up and cool down
AgilityWith and without the ball
SpeedKeeping the feet active when moving / playing
StrengthUpper and lower body; core strength and stability
EnduranceAerobic and anaerobic
Balance
NutritionNutrition – Proper diet – pre‐game, post game, tournaments, etc.
PreventionCare of injuries; Importance of rest / recovery – schedule issues relative to the physical demands
PsychologicalIncreased concentration; Leadership / player responsibilities; Discipline; Respect for the game; Goal setting; Vary program – Satisfy player’s urge for competition; Encourage players to watch high‐level soccer
The Game11 v 11
TournamentsHighly competitive
Patience; good humor; ability to see the world through a child’s eyes; Ability to speak their language; Accept that the children’s play will not look like soccer
Age‐appropriate activities

Coaches:
The above information was compiled based on research from courses, seminars, symposiums, clinics, discussions, observations, and articles on the subject of player development. They are guidelines about what players of this age group should be working on. However, you know your players best; you must adjust to challenge our players based on their individual and team needs and abilities. Your goal is to ensure that at the end of every practice and every game, your players have improved technically and tactically, as individuals and as members of the team.

U‐17 and U‐18

Development of Positional and Team Play

The fulfillment of a player’s potential depends strictly on his or her own efforts, the support of his or her teammates and the guidance of the coach! The players must be exposed at all times to the demands of the game, that is, the training and playing environment must constantly stretch the players’ mental, physical and technical capabilities to the limit. By now, the players must have a solid understanding of the game and its principles. At the same time, they must be emotionally stable when confronted with pressure situations. The training sessions and matches must be challenging and demanding!!!

ItemSubsetGuidelines
Qualities of CoachAbility to demonstrate, possess soccer awareness, motivator, encouraging and sensitive to the players’ needs
Technique: Dribbling, Receiving, Shooting, Passing, Heading, and TacklingMastered skills leading to artistry; all must be under game conditions, demanding excellence; individual skills covered during warm ups
TacticsIncreased tactical speed (decision making); Increased pressure and competitions; Gamesmanship; Ability to change and adapt to game dynamics, up or down goals, management of the clock; Team / Functional Understanding of lines and linkage; Positional technical needs
Groups
AttackingPossession with purpose; Combination play with tactical implications; Speed of play; deception; body positioning to look; moving with your touch; Penetration and creativity; quality of final ball to beat backs; Counter attack; Wide flank play; Target playing and creating chances; Crossing with proper runs into the box; Set plays
DefendingMan‐to-man marking with sweeper behind and in front; Zonal defending, reading service; Pressing (winning possession of the ball as an attacking concept)
A great deal of Coaching / Training within 9 v 9 and 11 v 11 games
ItemSubsetGuidelines
PhysicalFitness work with and without the ball
FlexibilityStatic stretching before and after training/matches
Dynamic FlexibilityEspecially before matches and training; Importance of discipline for warm up and cool down
AgilityWith and without the ball
SpeedWith and without the ball
StrengthUpper and lower body; core strength and stability
EnduranceAerobic and anaerobic
Balance
NutritionProper diet: pre‐game; post game; tournaments, etc.
PreventionCare of injuries; importance of rest/recovery‐schedule issues relative to the physical demands
PsychologicalIncreased concentration, goal setting; Leadership / increased player responsibility, accountability; Discipline; Respect for the game; Self confidence, self motivation, goal setting; Vary program – Satisfy player’s urge for competition; Will to win. Mental Toughness / Competitive Mentality; Encourage players to watch high‐quality soccer
The Game11 v 11
TournamentsThis is the highest competition the team can enter. Constantly challenge the individual players and the team

Coaches: The above information was compiled based on research from courses, seminars, symposiums, clinics, discussions, observations, and articles on the subject of player development. They are guidelines about what players of this age group should be working on. However, you know your players best. You must adjust to challenge our players based on their individual and team needs and abilities. Your goal is to ensure that at the end of every practice and every game, your players have improved technically and tactically, as individuals and as members of the team.

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