1 Rochester Youth Soccer Association U9/U10 Travel Coaching Manual
2 ROCHESTER YOUTH SOCCER ASSOCIATION PHILOSOPHY OF PLAYER DEVELOPMENT The basic philosophy of the Rochester Youth Soccer Association is based on total player development. This is only possible if the entire club agrees to serve this aim. These coaching manuals present an organized and logical progression of teaching the techniques and tactics of the game of soccer that will prepare total soccer players by the time they have gone through our club. As a club, we must always remember that soccer is a game that belongs to the players. Overbearing adults who try to micromanage how the kids play the game on the field are the enemy of player development. Instead of ruining the enjoyment of the game, as coaches we must harness their love of the game and encourage it. We should encourage our players to play as much as possible on their own, without coaching and parents who are yelling and screaming instructions to them. The rest of the world calls this street soccer, and it is the environment that many of the world s best players were developed under. In addition, we must understand that for the younger age groups (U6-U14) development and winning are often opposed to each other. Winning at these age groups often comes at the expense of our players learning the skills which will enable them to win a the older age groups, when it means a lot more. For instance, most U11 teams can win a lot of games because they have a defender who can boot the ball far up the field, and one or two big, fast kids who can go chase it and score goals. These tactics do not bring success at the older age groups, and we are doing our players a disservice if we over-emphasize winning at these young age groups. We guarantee that our players will value the championships won in high school or college much more than they will remember the tournament they won when they were ten years old. As important as everything that has been mentioned is, we also must remember that soccer is just a game, not a matter of life and death. We must use the game to teach our kids how to deal with other matters that will be of more importance to them as they get older. We must use the game to teach lessons about personal responsibility, teamwork, unselfishness, sportsmanship, honesty, they value of hard work, and how to properly deal with success and failure. These coaching manuals have been designed as a model for our players to develop throughout the recreational and travel teams in our club. The philosophies and activities in these manuals have been proven to work throughout the world. There are very few soccer clubs in the Midwest that are clubs in the true sense of the word. They are just a collection of teams that happen to use the same name. We believe this manual will help our club continue to be a true soccer club. We hope you enjoy the manual, and see its ultimate resourcefulness. Yours in Soccer, Neil Cassidy RYSA Director of Coaching Eric Luzzi RYSA Director of Player Development
3 ROCHESTER YOUTH SOCCER ASSOCIATION TECHNICAL EMPHASIS FOR PLAYER DEVELOPMENT Technique U9/U10 U11/U12 U13/U14 U15/U16 U17+ Receiving with the Foot X X X X X Ball Comfort X X X X X Dribbling for Control X X X X X Dribbling to Beat an Opponent X X X X X Dribbling for Speed X X X X X Dribbling for Possession/Shielding X X X X X Receiving with the Thigh X X X X X Receiving with the Chest X X X X X Juggling X X X X X Passing with the Inside of the Foot X X X X Receiving with Back to Pressure X X X X 1v1 Defending/Pressure X X X X Shooting with the Instep X X X X Heading X X X Passing with the Outside of the Foot X X X Long Passing Over Distance (Instep/Driven Balls) X X X Finishing with Parts Other than the Foot X X X Block Tackling X X Crossing and Finishing X X Volley and Half-Volley Finishing X X Long Passing Over Distance (Bending Balls) X X Defensive Clearing X X Slide Tackling X
4 ROCHESTER YOUTH SOCCER ASSOCIATION TACTICAL EMPHASIS FOR PLAYER DEVELOPMENT Tactical Emphasis U9/10 U11/12 U13/U14 U15/U16 U17+ The Game as the Teacher Through Small Sided Games X X X X X 1v1 Attacking/Scheming to Get Past an Opponent X X X X X Support to the Player with the Ball-Width and Depth X X X X X Movement off the Ball X X X X 1v1 Defending Pressure X X X X 2v2 Defending--Cover Two Man Combination Play Wall Passes; Overlaps; Takeovers X (U12) X (U12) X X X X X X Possession X X X Other Combination Play One Touches; Quick Ball Movement, etc Group Defending Pressure, Cover, Balance X X X X X X Changing the Point of Attack X X X Playing to Targets X X X Speed of Play X X X Zonal Defending X X X Team Shape 11v11 X X Transition X X Team Defending X X Functional Training (Training that is Specific to their Position) Set Plays X X Patterns of Play/Shadow Play Situational Play (Goal Up/Goal Down, etc.) Low Pressure/High Pressure Defending Tactics X X X X X
5 ROCHESTER YOUTH SOCCER ASSOCIATION U9/U10 TRAVELTRAINING OVERVIEW Introduction The first thing that needs to be mentioned with regard to coaching players in the U9/U10 age group is that the emphasis is completely on player development. By that, we mean that we want our RYSA players to become total soccer players by the age of 16 or 17. For that to happen, all of our coaches must constantly remember that they are one piece of the development puzzle. Obviously, our coaches are crucial to the development of our players, but we also need to keep in mind the big picture and realize that development is a long process. Coaches in this age group are very important because they will help our players develop a mastery of the ball that will serve them throughout their soccer careers. Please refer to the previous pages for a diagram of the techniques and tactics that each age group should be focusing on. The training goals for our U9/U10 players are pretty simple. First, we want to give them lots of touches on the ball, so they begin to feel comfortable with it. We should give them exposure to juggling for further ball comfort, dribbling for speed, shielding or dribbling for possession, and receiving with the thigh and chest. Secondly, we want them to begin to feel confident in their dribbling skills, giving them the desire to take all opponents on in 1v1 situations. Lastly, and most importantly, we want our players to develop a passion for the game of soccer. The best way to do this is to give them plenty of time during practices to play lots of small-sided games (3v3 or 4v4) WITHOUT OVERCOACHING THEM. It is often said that the game is the best teacher. There is nothing that ruins the game for young players more than overbearing coaches yelling instructions constantly. As you will see, there are plenty of examples of fast footwork exercises and dribbling moves included in this manual. As was stated earlier, U9/U10 players need lots of ball contacts (at least 1200 in a 75 minute session). In addition, there are examples of tag games (for body movement education), as well as some other individual activities, small group exercises, and final game activities.
6 Organization of a Session Here are the items that should be included in a U9/U10 training session. Training sessions for this age group should be 1:15 in length: 1) Warm-Up/Body Movement Education Exercises (10 Minutes) Children at this age do not yet fully understand all that their bodies are capable of. It is important that we aid in this development by giving our players the chance to realize the movements that they are able to perform. The best way to do this is through various tag type games. In addition, these games are fun, and get the session going on the right track. 2) Individual Activities/Ball Control Exercises (15-25 Minutes) This is the time where our players begin to increase their level of comfort on the ball. We need to show them fast footwork exercises, as well as specific moves that can be used to dribble past an opponent. Especially important here is that we encourage their creativity in dribbling moves. 3) Small Group Activities (15-25 Minutes) This is the portion of the session where our players begin to solve the problems of the game in a little more complex environment. Avoid having the players wait in long lines. Play games of inclusion, instead of games where the loser sits out. 4) The Game (20-30 Minutes) The final portion of a session needs to be 3v3 or 4v4 activities that are very gamelike in nature. The approximate size of a 3v3 grid is 30 yards by 20 yards. The approximate size for a 4v4 field is 40 yards by 25 yards. The key is to encourage our players to solve the problems of the game for themselves. When stepping in to make a coaching point, do not talk too long. Also, do not just give them the answers of how to fix their soccer mistakes, ask them questions instead, and let them come up with the answers.
7 Game Day Responsibilities First and foremost, it must be explained that winning is not the most important goal of our U9 teams. Remember, our club is about total player development. The things that allow U9 teams to win a lot of games (booting the ball long from the back to a big fast kid up front) do not best serve our young players development. For that reason, we need to encourage our players to work on the things that you address in practice (good control on the ball, creative dribbling). That must become our measure of success, not simply winning. Also, in the interests of player development, it is crucial that all of our players get exposed to all positions on the field with some regularity. Soccer, unlike any other sport, is truly a game that belongs to the players. Again, players must be encouraged to make their own decisions on the field. As coaches, we cannot allow ourselves to constantly yell instructions to our players. That will only turn them into soccer robots, incapable of reading the game. At the U9 and U10 age groups, MYSA leagues play 6v6 (5 field players and a goalkeeper). Our suggestion is that our teams at this age group play in a 3-2 formation (3 defenders, 2 attackers). Players at this age are not yet capable of fully understanding three lines of players (defenders, midfielders, forwards), and we feel that a 3-2 formation makes the most sense at these age groups. In addition, we must take our responsibility as adult role models seriously. We need to refrain from yelling at the referees and constantly questioning their calls. We cannot allow ourselves to get into confrontations with other coaches. And we need to encourage our parents to keep their composure. Remember, all of our actions ultimately reflect on our club and our town. A Final Note Regarding the RYSA Travel Coaching Manuals We are very excited to be able to provide the coaches within RYSA with these coaching manuals. Please understand that for the sake of consistency, these manuals have been written to address the needs of players and teams that are committed to attaining a high level of achievement within the game, relative to their age group. These manuals will be age appropriate for high level Classic 2 teams, Classic 1 teams, and potentially Premier level teams. Lower level Classic 2 teams and Classic 3 teams will probably be best served by addressing the topics presented in the previous age group manual during the early parts of the season, then hopefully moving to the activities and topics addressed in the relevant age coaching manual towards the end of the season. We hope you enjoy the manual. If you have any questions, please feel free to Eric Luzzi, Director of Player Development, at:
8 U9/U10 Travel Warm-Up and Body Movement Education Activities
9 BODY PART DRIBBLE 15 x 15 yd grid One ball per player All players in the grid with a ball. They dribble to keep control while avoiding other players. While they are dribbling, coach calls out a body part, and the players immediately stop the ball with that body part. Use all different body parts to make it fun: right elbow, chin, left knee, butt, etc. Variations: Game can also be played in a Simon Says format Dribbling Changes of direction and speed Touches with all parts of the body Body Movement Education
10 CYCLONES AND LADDERS Open area, two teams of equal numbers One team in this game is the cyclones, and their objective is to have one player run around the rest of the group, which are huddled together tightly. The other team is the ladders, and they have to organize themselves in a straight line and pass the ball from the front player to the back player alternating through the legs and over the head. The coach begins the activity by throwing the ball for the ladders to chase, while the cyclone runs around his group as many times as he can before the ladders pass the ball through their entire line (a point is given for every time the runner goes around the whole group). Alternate teams and keep a running score. Body Movement Education Teamwork
11 ELBOW TAG 20 x 15 yd grid One chaser; one player being chased; three or four groups of 2-3 players with elbows hooked around each other This game is played as a regular tag game, except that the player being chased can become safe by hooking elbows with one of the players in the outside groups. If this occurs, the player on the opposite end of the group now becomes the one being chased. Variations: Instead of standing and hooking elbows, use other positions for the safe groups, such as lying flat on their stomachs, or lying flat on their backs, or on all fours like a dog. Body Movement Education Teamwork
12 15 x 15 yd grid, 1 ball per player EVERYBODY S IT All players in the grid with a ball. They dribble in the area while attempting to tag other player while maintaining control of the ball. Each time they tag someone they get a point. Variations: Run the same activity, but players do not have a ball Specify certain body parts to be tagged. For instance, points will only be given when you tag someone s knee, or back, or shoulder. Body Movement Education Ball control Dribbling
13 15 x 15 yd grid, 1 ball per player HOSPITAL TAG Same as Everyone Is It, but each time a player is tagged, the spot touched is now injured. The player must cover up the wound by placing one hand on it, but must continue dribbling. The second time they are touched, they must place the other hand there, but do not release the first spot. The third time they are touched, they must go to the coach (the hospital) and must do some activity, such as touches, to get healed and rejoin the game. Body Movement Education Ball Control Dribbling
14 KNEE TAG 15 x 15 yard grid, 1 ball per player All players begin with a ball. They dribble around the grid, and their goal is to tag as many players in the knee as possible. All players keep playing, regardless of how many times they are touched. Play to a set number (10 or 15), and the winner is the first player to tag that many knees. Encourage players to go after other players, not to just hide within the game. Variations: Select other body parts besides the knee. For instance, play back tag or shoulder tag. Ball Control Dribbling Body Movement Education
15 20 x 20 yd grid, 1 ball per player LIGHTNING FAST All players in the grid with a ball. The coach calls out a number, and the players must touch their soccer balls with that many body parts as quickly as they can. So, if coach calls out three, players must touch the ball with three different body parts, such as knee, heel, elbow. Body Movement Education Ball control Dribbling
16 PAC MAN 20 x 20 yd grid A pile of balls located just outside the grid One player (the Pac Man) starts out with the ball. His objective is to dribble and try to hit the other players BELOW KNEE HEIGHT with the ball. Once a player gets hit, he gets a ball and becomes another Pac Man. The winner is the last player remaining who has not been hit. He becomes the first Pac Man to start the next game. To encourage more dribbling and les random kicking the ball at others, enforce the rule that if a Pac Man kicks his ball out of the grid, he has to go get it, he cannot just go over to the pile and grab another ball. Body Movement Education Ball control Dribbling Introduction to passing
17 TAIL TAG 20 x 15 yd grid, 1 ball per player Each player tucks a scrimmage vest into the back of their shorts to make a tail At the coach s command, all players move around the grid and try to grab as many tails as they can from other players. Players continue to play, even after they have lost their tail. Variations: Play this game with or without a ball There are two different ways to decide a winner: The last player who still has a tail remaining; or the player (or players) who collect the most total tails. Body Movement Education Ball control Dribbling
18 TRAIN TAG 20 x 15 yd grid Players organize themselves into groups of three, with a scrimmage vest tucked into the shorts of the back player of each group. Each group forms a train, with each player placing their hands on the hips of the person in front of them. The lead player in each group (the engine) tries to grab the vest from the back player (the caboose) of the other groups. Variations: Switch players, so each one has a role as the engine, the passenger car, and the caboose Body Movement Education Teamwork
19 U9/U10 Travel Individual/Ball Control Activities
20 FAST FOOTWORK EXERCISES 1) Step-ups Lightly tap the top of the ball using the front sole of the foot, alternating taps with either foot. Try to keep the ball from moving by tapping gently from the top. When the ball can be kept still, try going around the world by taking slightly larger steps as you come down so that you manage to circle the ball. 2) Foundations Step up and down to pass the ball 6-10 inches between the feet. The ball is passed between the feet with very soft, light touches. Be sure the weight is forward on the balls of the feet. Keep knees slightly bent. 3) Inside Roll Roll the ball across your body from outside to inside with the inside and the sole of the foot and stop the ball with the inside of the other foot. 4) Outside Roll Roll the ball across your body from inside to outside with the outside and sole of the foot and stop the ball with the inside of the same foot. 5) Side to Side Push-Pull Tap the ball back and forth with inside of feet, push ball forward with one foot and pull it back with the sole of the opposite foot. 6) Side to Side Step-On Roll ball to outside with the sole by stepping lightly on the ball, then tap ball back to the inside with the inside of the foot. 7) Side to Side Front Roll Tap ball back and forth with inside of feet, push ball slightly forward, then pull the ball across your body with the front part of the sole. 8) Pull Instep Push Push ball forward and pull it back with the sole, then tap ball forward with the instep of the same foot. 9) The Vee Push the ball forward and pull it back with the sole of the foot while turning and then take the ball away with the inside of the same foot. 10) Pull and Take with Outside of Foot Push the ball forward and pull the ball back with the sole, then push the ball diagonally forward with the outside of the foot. 11) Pull and Roll Behind Push the ball forward and pull the ball back with the sole of the foot, then pass the ball behind the standing leg with the inside of the foot. Control the ball with the sole of the other foot. 12) Pull Turn Push ball forward with one foot and pull it back with the other while turning toward ball and take the ball in the opposite direction with the inside of the first foot. 13) Inside of Foot Turn Push ball forward, move past ball and turn toward ball, and take it with the inside of the foot in the opposite direction. 14) Outside of Foot Turn Push ball forward, move past ball and turn toward ball, and take it with the outside of the foot in the opposite direction.
21 MOVES TO BEAT AN OPPONENT 1) Hip Swivel Fake with the inside of one foot by swiveling hips toward ball, then reverse direction and take the ball with the inside of the other foot. 2) Matthews Fake with the inside of the foot nudging ball by dipping your shoulder, then explode in the opposite direction with the outside of the same foot. 3) Cap Cut ball with inside of foot slightly backward and take ball ahead with the inside of opposite foot. 4) Stepover With ball moving, stepover ball so ball is outside of stepover foot, turn and take the ball away with the other foot. 5) Scissors Step around front of the ball with one foot, then take it diagonally with the outside of the other foot. 6) Rivolino Same as the stepover, but take the ball with the outside of the stepover foot. 7) Cryff Fake kick with inside of foot, but instead pull ball behind the standing leg and change direction. 8) Double Scissors Push ball forward, make alternate scissors steps and take it with the outside of the first foot. Note to Coaches: Introducing these moves to our U9/U10 players is probably the most important aspect of the game we can give to them at this age. After we introduce these moves, we then must give our players the opportunity to use these skills in realistic environments that replicate the situations they will encounter in a game. The activities and moves described on the last two pages are just a few ideas. The best resource for these types of activities is the Coerver series of DVD s. The RYSA office has copies of Coerver videos and DVD s for you to get more ideas. We strongly recommend you have a look at them. In addition, there is a website online that has descriptions and video clips of many of these moves and others. They can be found at:
22 DRIBBLING GRID 15 x 15 to 20 x 20 yard grid, based on number of players 1 ball per player Each player has a ball and dribbles inside the grid. This is a very basic set-up from which many dribbling skills and moves can be taught. At the U9/U10 age group, this activity can be done at every practice if necessary to help players work on fast footwork, ball control, and learning new dribbling moves. Variations: Work on change of speed. Have players change their speed to a sprint with the ball at the command of Go. Have them stop the ball immediately on the command of Stop. Work on change of direction. Teach players different change of direction moves, and have them do one move at the command of Change. Work on moves to beat an opponent. Teach players different 1v1 moves and have them work on them in this environment Ball Control Dribbling 1v1 moves, change of direction, change of speed, stops and starts
23 BLACKJACK Open area Player divided into pairs, one ball per pair The first player juggles as many times as they can and keeps count. After the first player loses the ball, the second player goes. Alternate players and keep a running count of where they left off the last turn. For instance, if a player gets five juggles on the first turn, their second turn would start at six. The first player to get to 21 juggles (Blackjack) wins. Variations: Restrict the juggling to certain body parts (feet only, thighs only, etc). As another option, you can play HORSE. Very similar to the basketball game of the same name. The first player juggles one, and the second player has to match. Then, the first player juggles two, and the second player has to match. When a player misses they get a letter. The game is over when one player spells H-O-R-S-E. Ball control
24 GATES DRIBBLING In an open area, set up 6-8 gates with cones. Gates should be about 1-2 yards wide. Set them up in a random fashion around the area. 1 ball per player All players are in the area with a ball. They try to dribble through the gates from one to another. Variations: Specify that players only dribble with their right or left foot. Time the activity. See how many gates each player can get through in a 60 or 90 second time period. Let them do it again to see if they can beat their first score. Have players go back through the gate they came. This is a good way to introduce different turns and change of direction moves. Ball control Dribbling
25 Open area, 1 ball per player JUGGLE, JUGGLE Have players juggle the ball (keep the ball in the air), using all soccer specific body parts, such as the feet, thighs, shoulders, and head. Time them for 60 to 90 seconds. Ask the players how many total touches they had, then let them do it once or twice more, encouraging the players to beat their personal score from the first time. Variations: If this activity is too difficult for some players, allow them to have one bounce between touches. Ball Control This is a good homework activity for players to do on their own.
26 SELF-RECEIVING GRID A grid approximately 20 x 20 yards, 1 ball per player The activity begins with all players dribbling their ball inside the grid. The coach then yells a body part, and the players pick the ball up, and throws it up in the air to himself, and tries to receive it with the body part that the coach yelled. Once the have brought the ball back under control, they continue to dribble until the coach yells out another body part. Variations: The coach can ask the players to receive the ball with their laces, thigh, chest, or he can ask the players to wedge the ball against the ground receive it and bring it under control. Also, coach can specify which foot or thigh (left or right) it needs to be received with. Ball control/receiving Dribbling
27 TEAM DRIBBLE RELAY Players in groups of 3-5, one ball per group. Set up 2-4 total groups Cones set up as in diagram above, approximately 8 yards apart At the coach s command, the first player in each group dribbles toward the third line of cones, the player performs a turn or change of direction, dribbles back toward the second line of cones, performs a turn, then dribbles toward the fourth line of cones, performs one more turn then dribbles back to the beginning. The second player in the group takes the ball over and does the same as the first player. The first team to get all group members through the activity wins. Variations: Coach can require players to perform only a specific turn or change of direction move. Ball control Dribbling, especially dribbling for speed Turning and change of direction
28 U9/U10 Travel Small Group Activities
29 A 15 x 10 yard grid Divide the players into two teams 1 v 1 TO ENDLINE Place the teams on opposite ends of the grid. Give the balls to the players on one team. The first player in that line kicks a ball across the grid to the first player in the other team, and goes to defend that player. The player receives the pass and tries to dribble past the defender. They get a point for their team if they can dribble the ball past the defender s endline. If the defender wins the ball, they can dribble to try to get the ball over the opponent s endline. Switch defending teams after a few minutes so each team gets to attack. Just be aware of how big the teams and the lines are. If there is more than 2-3 players per team waiting to play, set up a second grid so there is less down time between each time a player is active. Variations: The coach can take all the balls to the side of the grid and serve to one of the players, so that each time a different team is defending and attacking. Ball control Dribbling, especially 1v1 skills to beat an opponent
30 1 V 1 TO SMALL GOALS A 15 x 10 yard grid with small goals (2-3 yards wide) on each endline Organize players into two teams Each team lines up behind one of the small goals. Give one team all the balls. The first player in that team serves a ball to the first player in the other team, and they play 1v1 trying to score on the other team s goal. Play can continue to whenever a goal is scored, or whenever the ball goes out of bounds, then the next two players play. Switch balls after a few minutes so each team serves as defenders and attackers. If the lines are too long, be sure to set up a second grid so players are not standing in line and losing interest in the activity. Variations: Play 2v2 instead of 1v1 Ball Control Dribbling, especially 1v1 skills
31 1 V 1 TO SIDE CONE GOALS 25 x 10 yard grid, with a ball resting on a disc cone in the middle of each endline to serve as a goal Two teams on opposite sidelines, one with a pile of balls The first player on the team with the balls serves to the first player in the other team. Those two players then battle 1v1. The objective is to knock either ball off the cone. If the defender steals the ball, they can try to score. Both teams can score on either goal. If a goal is scored, the player who gave up the goal is responsible for putting the ball back on the cone immediately, so the next group can play. After a few minutes, give the balls to the other team, so each team has a chance to be the attackers. Coaching Points: Ball control and dribbling, change of direction moves Competition in a healthy, fun environment
32 1 V 1 s GALORE A 30 x 20 yard grid, with six 2-3 yard goals marked around the perimeter of the field. Players grouped into pairs of 1v1 opponents, with a ball between each pair. One player starts out with the ball, and the object is to dribble through as many gates as possible. The defender tries to win the ball and then he can attempt to dribble through a goal. If a goal is scored, the defender would get the ball to restart. Players cannot go to the same goal twice in a row. You can play for a set time, and then switch opponents, or play to a set number of goals. Ball control and dribbling, especially 1v1 moves to beat an opponent, and change of direction moves Shielding
33 1 V 1 TO GOAL One full size goal (age appropriate for U9/U10 or 6v6) Two lines of players, one by each post A coach behind the goal with a supply of balls The coach tosses a ball over the goal onto the field. A player from each team both sprint to the ball. The first player to the ball tries to beat the opponent and try to score on goal. The second player to the ball defends, and if he wins the ball, he can turn and try to score. Variations: Play 2v2 instead of 1v1 Ball Control and dribbling, especially 1v1 moves Competition to beat an opponent
34 1 V 1 TO THREE GOALS Set up a grid approximately 20x20 yards, with small goals (3-4 yards wide) placed on the center of each sideline Two lines of players, opposite to each other The first player in one line passes to the first player in the other line, then goes to defend him. The player with the ball can try to score by dribbling (not passing) through one of the small goals. He can try to score on any of the goals, other than the one he started at. If the defender wins the ball, he then tries to score in one of the goals. Variations: As a variation, you can restrict players to scoring through only the two side goals, instead of having the option to score in the third goal. Ball Control and dribbling, especially 1v1 moves, and changes of direction Encourage players to explode at speed after they try a move to take advantage of the space created
35 1 v 1 TO BIG GOAL AND SMALL COUNTER GOAL Set up a 25 x 20 yard grid, using a full size goal (age appropriate for U9/U10 or 6v6) on one endline, and a small goal on the opposite side Two lines of players, one by each goal The first player in line by the big goal passes the ball to the first player in the other group and goes to defend that player. The player with the ball is trying to score on the big goal. If the defender wins the ball, they can try to score in the small goal. Variations: Play 2v2 instead of 1v1. Increase the grid to 30 x 20 Ball Control and dribbling, especially 1v1 moves Encourage players to aggressively go at the defender, and encourage creativity in 1v1 attacking
36 1 V 1 TO CONE TOURNAMENT Set up a line of cones approximately yards apart. One cone designated as the Championship field, while the cone on the opposite end is designated as the Consolation field Assign a pair of players to start at each cone, with one ball between the pair At the coach s command, the players play 1v1 with the objective to score a point by passing the ball and hitting the cone you are playing to. Players can play in 360 around the cone. Play for :60 or :90, the winner moves up one field toward the Championship field, the player who loses moves down one field toward the Consolation field. Ball Control and dribbling, especially 1v1 moves Competition to beat an opponent Coach must encourage players to get after the defender, and you must encourage the defender to actively defend the player with the ball. Do not allow them to sit in front of the cone and just protect the cone.
37 BANDIT BALL 15 x 15 yard grid All players but one or two with a with a ball All players but one or two bandits start in the grid with a ball. At the coach s command, the bandits enter the grid and try to steal a ball away from someone. If a player get s their ball stolen, they become a bandit, and try to steal someone else s ball. If a ball goes out of the grid, it cannot be brought back into play. Play for a set period of time (60 to 90 seconds), and all players who have possession of a ball when time is called gets a point. Dribbling, especially the concept of dribbling for possession or shielding
38 CIRCLE OF FRIENDS A circle of yards in diameter Half the players on the inside of the circle without soccer balls, the other half on the outside of the circle with balls. Players inside the circle move to any player on the perimeter, and the outside player calls the name of the surface they want them to control the ball with. The server then tosses the ball to the inside player, who must control the ball according to the command and play the ball back along the ground. Then the inside player continues on to a new server. Continue for :60 to :90 seconds and switch roles. Variations: Coach could dictate that only one surface be used to control the ball (inside of foot, outside of foot, thigh, chest, head). Ball control and receiving Encourage players to get in line with the ball and have a soft first touch Encourage players not to trap the ball dead, but receive it into a space and then play it back.
39 COMBAT Open area, organize the players into two teams on opposite sides of the coach The coach starts with a ball. He plays the ball out into the open area, and the first player from each team goes to get the ball. Those players basically play 1v1 to see who can dribble the ball back to the coach. The coach can feel free to move a bit from his starting position to add challenges to the players. As soon as one of the players brings the ball back, the coach plays it back out for the next players in each line. Variations: After the coach plays the ball into the open space, he can call two or three and that number of players from each team go to battle to bring the ball back. Competition Dribbling, especially 1v1 skills and shielding skills
40 GET OUT OF THERE! Set up a 20 x 15 yard grid with small goals on each endline Organize the players into two teams, each setting themselves up on opposite sides of the coach, who is on the sideline with all the balls The coach serves a ball into the grid and the first player from each team plays 1v1 to try to score into their opponent s small goal. If a ball gets scored, the player who gave up the ball leaves the grid immediately, the player who scored stays on and new player from the other team enters. If the ball goes out of bounds, both players leave the grid immediately, and a new ball is played in for the next players from each team. If a team ever gets caught with two players in the grid at the same time, a penalty kick is awarded for the other team. Overall, this is a fantastic activity, and one that will likely become the favorite of many of your players! Variations: Play 2v2 instead of 1v1 Set up endzones or endlines for the players to score on instead of small goals Ball Control Dribbling, especially shielding and 1v1 skills
41 GLADIATOR SOCCER A grid approximately 35 x 25 yards in size (can be made smaller or bigger based on number of players and ability level) Two teams of 3 to 6 players 1 ball per player At the coach s command, all players start with a ball and try to score in the opponent s goal. Once a ball goes in the goal or out of bounds, that ball is out of play. Any player who loses a ball or scores a goal can receive a pass from a teammate or try to win a ball from a player on the other team. Play for 60 to 90 seconds, count how many goals each team scores, and play again. Ball Control Dribbling Teamwork
42 KNOCKOUT All players in a 15x20 yard grid, 1 ball per player All players start in the grid with a ball. The objective is for players to try to dribble their own ball, while trying to kick other players balls out of the grid. If a ball gets kicked, but the player can retrieve it before it leaves the grid, they can rejoin the game immediately. If it leaves the grid, they must perform 10 toe touches on the ball before they can re-enter the game. Ball Control and Dribbling Shielding
43 NUTMEGS A 20 x 12 yard grid Two players on the inside with a ball. Two players on the outside that open their legs to serve as goals. The players on the inside of the grid battle each other 1v1, and try to score on his opponents goal, by passing the ball through the legs of the player on the endline. Play for :45 to :60 seconds and switch roles. This is a very demanding game, so allow some time for recovery between games. Ball control and dribbling, especially 1v1 moves to beat an opponent Shielding
44 TEAM KNOCKOUT A 15 x 15 to 20 x 20 yard grid, with a 2-3 yard goal marked in the center of each sideline Two teams of equal numbers, one team inside the grid with soccer balls, one team without. At the coach s signal, the players on the outside of the grid run inside and try to steal any ball they can and put it through any one of side goals. The team with the balls tries to keep the balls away from the defenders by dribbling, or by passing to a teammate who has already lost their ball. If an attacking player loses his ball, he can try to steal it back before the defender puts it in the goal. If the defender misses the goal, and the ball goes out of the grid, the attacking team gets the ball back. After the defenders have scored all their goals, have the teams switch roles. Time each team, with the team who takes longer to have their balls stolen being the winner. Dribbling and shielding When shielding, encourage players to get sideways on, and place their whole body between the ball and the opponent. Encourage players who have lost their ball to help their teammates out.
45 1 V 2 DRIBBLING FREESTYLE Set up 20x20 yard grids, and place groups of 3 players in each grid One player starts out with the ball, and the goal is to keep possession of the ball for as long as possible, without it being taken away by the other two players. If one of the defenders wins the ball, then they try to keep possession for as long as possible. Play must stay in the grid, and the activity should flow so that there are no breaks when possession changes. Play for 1:30 to 2:00 stints, then rotate players to different groups. This is a wonderful environment to help players improve their skills with the moves that they are being taught. This is a physically demanding activity, so make sure to allow for rest between stints. Variations: Play 1v3 if the players need additional challenge. Ball control and dribbling, especially 1v1 moves to beat an opponent, and change of direction moves Shielding Coach must encourage players with the ball to be creative and try new moves to figure out how to deal with different situations
46 U9/U10 Travel The Game Activities
47 4 V 4 TO SMALL GOALS Set up a 35 x 25 yard grid, with small goals (approximately 3 yards wide) on each endline. Two teams of four players each This is your basic small sided game. Each team plays 4 vs. 4, and the goal is to try to score into the opponent s small goal. Have extra players serve as substitutes for each team, or have them comprise a third team, that comes on to replace the team the gives up a goal. Ball control and dribbling Passing Understanding basic tactical concepts, such as spacing and support Teamwork
48 4 V 4 TO ENDZONES Set up a 35 x 25 yard grid, with 3-4 yard endzones on each endline. Two teams of four players each This is a variation on the basic 4v4 game. The objective for each team is to get the ball into their opponent s end zone, and stop the ball in that endzone. Have extra players serve as substitutes for each team, or have them comprise a third team, that comes on to replace the team the gives up a goal. Ball control and dribbling Passing Understanding very basic tactical concepts, such as spacing and support Teamwork
49 4 V 4 TO SIDELINE GOALS Set up a 30 x 25 yard grid, and place small goals (2-3 yards wide) in the center of each sideline. Two teams of four This is a great variation of the regular 4v4 game. Play 4v4, but now each team has multiple goals to score in. There are three different variations that can be used within this game: o Either team can score on any of the four goals o One team plays east-west, while the other plays north-south. So, each team is trying to score on goals across from each other. o One team scores on an endline goal and a sideline goal, while the other team scores on the other to goals. Ball control and dribbling Passing Understanding very basic tactical concepts, such as spacing and support Teamwork
50 4 V 4 BARREL BALL Set up a 35 x 25 yard grid. Find a garbage can at the field you are practicing at, and place it in the middle of the grid. Organize two teams of four players each This is a very fun small sided game, which resembles the street soccer environment. The teams simply play a 4 vs. 4 game in which the object is to hit the garbage can to get a point. The game is basically nondirectional, which gives the players a different look at solving soccer problems. Have extra players serve as substitutes for each team, or have them comprise a third team, that comes on to replace the team the gives up a goal. Ball control and dribbling Passing Understanding very basic tactical concepts, such as spacing and support Teamwork
51 4 V 4 TO CORNER ZONES Set up a 30 x 25 yard grid, and place cones in each corner to create a 5 yard square. Organize two teams of four players each This is a small sided game that gives our players some other situations to try to solve. The objective is to get the ball into the corner zones to get a point. Have extra players serve as substitutes for each team, or have them comprise a third team, that comes on to replace the team the gives up a goal. Variations: Coaches can allow goals to be scored by passing into the corner zones, by dribbling into the corner zones, or allowing both to occur. Ball control and dribbling Passing Understanding very basic tactical concepts, such as spacing and support Teamwork
52 4 V 4 TO CENTRAL GOAL Set up a 35 x 25 yard grid, and place a goal made of flags or cones in the middle of the grid. Organize two teams of four players each. Place a goalkeeper in to defend the goal. This is another small sided game that gives our players some other situations to try to solve. Goals can be scored through the goal in either direction. When the goalkeeper makes a save, instruct them to throw the ball into a random area of the grid, so both teams can battle for possession of the ball. Have extra players serve as substitutes for each team, or have them comprise a third team, that comes on to replace the team the gives up a goal. Ball control and dribbling Passing Understanding very basic tactical concepts, such as spacing and support Teamwork
53 4 V 4 TO BIG GOAL AND SMALL GOAL On half a field, use the big goal (age appropriate for U9/U10 or 6v6), and set up a 35x30 yard grid, with the big goal on one of the endlines. Set up a small goal (2-3 yards) on the opposite endline. This game is played 4v4, plus a goalkeeper in the big goal. One team is trying to score on the big goal, while the other team is trying to score on the small goal. Make sure to rotate sides, so that each team gets a chance to attack the big goal. Also, at this age, make sure to rotate goalkeepers so that many different team members get exposed to this important position. Ball control and dribbling Passing Introduction to shooting and finishing Understanding very basic tactical concepts, such as spacing and support Teamwork
54 REFERENCES AND COACHING RESOURCES FOR U9/U10 TRAVEL COACHES Soccer Coaching Made Easy: A Coach s Guide to Youth Player Development, by Tom Goodman The Official Youth Soccer Coaching Manual, by US Youth Soccer Best Practices for Coaching Soccer in the United States, United States Soccer Federation National Youth License Coaching Curriculum, United States Soccer Federation A New Era, Videos/DVD s produced by Coerver Coaching Make Your Move, DVD s produced by Coerver Coaching United States Soccer Federation (USSF): US Youth Soccer Association: National Soccer Coaches Association of America: Reedswain Coaching Books and Videos: Soccer Learning Systems: