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TOPHAT SOCCER

COACHING TOOLS


Coaches Clinic  information by Jacob Daniel of Georgia Youth Soccer

Recreational Coaches Handbook

US Youth Soccer Small Sided Games Manual

Coaching Clinic

General Things To Consider When Structuring A Session
 
Coach should always have pennies, cones, pump, cell phone, contact numbers
Important elements: coach's position and ball management
No line drills, keep them moving
No laps
Order of a typical session: technique/ tactics/ fitness
Technical progression: no pressure, match related, match conditions
Small groups for more touches
Skew the rules/conditions for the desired affect*
 
The following are suggested activities (with their corresponding progressions) for different skills.
 
Dribbling:
Individual moves in free space
Beat the cone
Demolition derby
1 v 1 tournament
Game with “take them on” condition*
 
Passing:
Two to a ball- stationary, then moving
Numbers up keep away
Numbers up end zone game
Game with “no forward dribbling” condition*
 
Receiving and Turning:
3 to a ball turn drill
Windows
Windows with pressure
Game with “numbers up in grids” condition*
 
Finishing:
3 to a ball through gates
3 v 1 to goal
World Cuppy
3 grid game w/ numbers up in attack
Game with “3 neutrals in attack” condition*
 
Defending:
1 v 1 without ball
1 v 1 with ball
3 v 6 to goal
6 v 6, one team goes to goal, one team playsto two small counter goals
 
Glossary of Activities
 
Dribbling:
Individual moves in free space- each player has a ball, and does the moves the coach calls out. Pullbacks, inside and outside of the foot cuts, with both feet, are the most used and basic ones.
Beat the cone- now place 8-10 cones randomly around the grid, have the players dribble up to the cone and “beat it” with a move.
Demolition derby- players pair up, and dribble right at each other, then both do the same move (example: outside of the right foot cut) to swerve by each other.
1 v 1 tournament- players pair off, each pair in a grid 8 x 5 yards. Player A plays the ball from their end line down to the Player B who is on their end line. Player B tries to dribble past Player A. Play 2 minute games, pairs keep score. At the end of the two minute, winner mover one way, losers move the other way. Break ties with Rock- Paper- Scirrors.
Game with “take them on” condition*- play a game, but make the players have to take at least 3 touches if they receive it outside their defensive third, to promote dribbling.
Passing:
Two to a ball- stationary, then moving
Numbers up keep away- play 5 vs. 1 keep away, then 4 vs. 2 if successful.
Numbers up end zone game- make a grid with two end zones. Put one player in each end zone. They are on both teams. Each team tries to get the ball from one end zone to the other by passing it through the grid. By making it numbers up (like 6 vs. 3) it makes it easier for less experienced players to achieve success. Eventually builds it up to even numbered teams.
Game with “no forward dribbling” condition*- play a game where each player cannot dribble forward, only sideways and backwards. They must pass or shoot the ball to advance the ball downfield.
Receiving and Turning:
3 to a ball turn drill- Players A-B-C line up five to eight yards from each other, in a line. Player A plays a bal to B, who turns and plays to C. C plays back to B, who turns with the ball and p[lays back to A. Progress to A and C doing throw ins to B.
Windows – half the players form a large rectangle, each with a ball. The other half start in the center of the circle, and then they show to receive a ball from one of the outside players. They return the pass where it came from and then go through the center of the circle and get another ball from another player. Progress to air balls. Also, you can have players turn and play another outside person (but you will need to take 2-3 balls out of the rotation so there is a rhythm).
Windows with pressure- same activity as above, but place some defenders in the middle to add pressure.
Game with “numbers up in grids” condition*- make a field with 3 equal grids inside; players cannot go out of their grid. Play 3 red vs.1 yellow, in the first grid, 2 red vs. 2 yellow in the middle grid, and 1 red vs.3 yellow in the last grid. Each team defends the goal that they are numbers up in front of. If players spread out and pass accurately, they should be able to keep possession in their defending third.
Finishing:
3 to a ball through gates- two players pass the ball in between two cones that form a “gate”.
3 v 1 to goal- 3 players try and beat on defender and try and score on a keeper.
World Cuppy- get 6-8 balls, position yourself next to the goal on the end line. Put a keeper in goal.....all your players are in front of the goal. Throw out 2-3 balls at the same time. When a player scores, he comes off the field and helps retrieve balls, they are in for the next round. Last one out there (the one who did not score) is outof the game. They stand behind goal for next rounds. everyone else is back in....repeat...each round one more player is last, and is therefore out. Last round is the last 2 players left. Change keepers and repeat. This game can also be played in pairs, if either one score, the pair is on to the next round. You can also make them make one or two passes before they can shoot.
3 grid game w/ numbers up in attack- same as the grid game described in “Receiving and Turning”, but now you are numbers up in attach- it should be a goal fest.
Game with “3 neutrals in attack” condition*- 3 v 3 with 3 neutrals- these players play for which ever team has the ball. This is a bit confusing for u6 and u8's, but some u10's catch on.
Serving:
3 man patterns to goal- 3 players play a series of passes towards goal, finishing with a shot
3 v 1 to goal- same as the activity in “Finishing”
5 v 2 to goal- here you are just adding numbers, and perhaps introducing the off sides rule.
Game with “4 neutrals out wide” condition*- play a game with keepers, but place 4 players out wide, one in each segment of the field, These players play for which ever team has the ball, serving and also getting on the end of serves as well.

Rec Sample Activities

1. All players with a ball dribbling in a grid 20 yards by 15 yards. Work on inside of the foot technique and try to have them use both feet. Can also work on outside of the foot dribbling if players are progressing well enough.

2.Red light, green light- all players dribbling in grid following verbal instructions from coach. Red light players must stop the ball quickly, green light they start dribbling again. Works on mastery of the soccer ball and maintaining control.

3.Zen dribbling- all players single file line with enough space in between players to allow for dribbling. Coach moves throughout the grid and players must follow every move. Works on mastery of the soccer ball and maintaining control.

4.Freeze Tag- all players dribbling in grid. Either coach can act as the person tagging players or one player can be “it”. If a player dribbling gets tagged they must freeze where they are at. They stand with their legs spread apart, other players with balls can unfreeze them by dribbling the ball through their legs. Objective for players with the ball is to never have the entire group frozen. Works on mastery of the soccer ball and maintaining control and adds the element of helping out your teammates.

5.Knock-out- all players with a ball dribbling. Coach is trying to knock out balls and players are trying to avoid the coach while still moving inside the grid with the ball. Can change it up a little bit and have a player trying to get the balls. Do not have them just knock the balls out have the defending player dribble across the sideline so that you don't have balls flying all over the field. You can add more defenders as the players get better with the ball.

6.Cross the River- Add a middle section to the grid. Half the team on one side of the grid with balls at their feet and the other half on the other side with balls at their feet. All players dribble on their side of the grid, coach gives command to cross the river then all players have to dribble across the middle section of the grid without running into each other or having their balls touch. If they run into each other or their balls touch that player has to sit out for one round. You can add the coach in the middle as the “alligator” who is trying to steal the balls as they cross the river. Can also use a player for the role of the alligator. Works on mastery of the soccer ball and maintaining control.

7.Gate game- set up multiple little gates (about two steps apart with cones) inside the grid. Match up players 1v1. They have to stay with that player for the duration of the activity. Objective is for the player with the ball to dribble through as many gates as possible in a set amount of time. If the player who starts as the defender wins the ball they now are trying to score by dribbling through the gates. Each player keeps track of their own goals. Works on mastery of the soccer ball and maintaining control with added pressure from a defender.

8.Prison Break- Half the players inside the grid with balls and half around the outside of the grid. Players on the inside are the “prisoners” and the players along the outside are the “guards”. Prisoners try and get past the guards without losing the balls. Start with the prisoners dribbling around and then coach gives the verbal command to break. At that point all the prisoners try and dribble past the guards. Works on mastery of the soccer ball and maintaining control.

9.Cowboys and Indians- Split the team into two teams-yellow and blue if you have pennies or dark shirts against light shirts. “Cowboys” have the balls and the “Indians” are trying to steal the balls and dribble across the edge of the grid. If a cowboy loses their ball they stay inside the grid and help out their teammates. The cowboys can pass the ball to anyone on their team that has lost their ball. Coach can keep a stopwatch going to see how long the cowboys can keep the balls going. After all balls are over the edge of the grid switch roles and have a little competition.

10. Snow cones- four players per grid. Grid size should be about 12 yards long and 8 yards wide. Two players on each end line. Set up two cones as midfield markers on each side of the grid. Place a ball on top of each cone (this is the snow cone). One side of the grid passes a ball across to one of the players. The player receiving the ball tries to dribble into the grid and knock off one of the balls from the cone by dribbling their ball into it, they must dribble and not kick their ball at the cone to knock the ball off. If they successfully knock a ball off the cone they have to replace the ball quickly because the next two players are going to be playing quickly. This activity is fast moving but allows for a rest to play ratio. If you have 8 players on your team set up two grids with a little space in between so the coach can walk in the middle and observe both grids at the same time. This activity promotes mastery of the ball with a clear objective for the attacking player.

If in any of the above activities the players are having to easy of a time or are struggling the coach must adapt the space a little to make the environment successful. A coach can always tweak an activity to keep it interesting or more successful. Remember coaches must always strive for creating a successful environment for the players so that they feel good about what they just did on the soccer field. Players should always get into the car after practice with a smile on their face so that they want to come back for the next practice. If the players are having fun then you as a coach are probably having fun as well.

Player Development Example

U6 Development of Individual Skills


COACH: Must be enthusiastic. Must be able to give encouragement. Must be understanding and fair. Must be able to give equal playing time and rotate positions. Cannot be concerned with wins and losses. Must secure safe environment. Should play with players.

TECHNIQUE: Every player should have a ball. No elimination games. Establish fundamental motor skills like running, jumping and rolling. Focus heavily on kicking the ball, stopping the ball, dribbling the ball and stealing the ball. No heading what-so-ever. Encourage individual success.

TACTICS: No tactics taught. The player only understands themselves and the ball and cannot think in an abstract or tactical manner. Get players to move in the correct direction to score or defend. In the game, everybody moves up and down the field as a unit. Do not leave defenders standing at the top of the penalty box.

PHYSICAL: Poor eye, hand and eye, and foot coordination at this age. Balance is increasing. Must be given frequent but short rest periods. They will give the activity 100% effort until fatigued. Not much physical difference between boys and girls. Do not have players run laps.

MENTAL: Poor judgment in regards to safety. The focus is on themselves as an individual. Must be fun. Need positive reinforcement and praise. Prone to exaggerate. Need plenty of room to move.


U8 Individual Skill Development


COACH: Passionate about children. Enhancement of U6 soccer knowledge. Know basic rules of corner kick, goal kick, indirect kick, kick-off, drop ball and minor fouls. Encourage sportsmanship. Should play with players. Coach must be enthusiastic and sensitive. Wins and losses do not matter. Nurturing manner.

TECHNIQUE: Enhancement of dribbling skills using all foot surfaces. How to receive and control the ball. Starting to learn how to pass. Don't encourage players to just kick the ball down field. Start to encourage controlling it and trying to keep possession. Learn to shoot. Every player must have their own ball. 75% of practice should be on technique. Left and right foot with every activity. All activities are to be done with a ball.

TACTICS: Players begin to understand themselves and a friend. Rotate players in different positions. Width and spreading out on the field. Move up and down the field as a unit. Penetrate defenses with quick passes. Understand restarts. Still heavy emphasis on individual technique rather than group tactics. Lots of 1v1. 2v1 and 2v2 towards goal. Plenty of repetitions.

PHYSICAL: Improved eye, hand and eye, and foot coordination is improving but not completely mature. Can be self centered. Skeletal system is growing. Need full rest periods and plenty of water. No separate running should be done. All activities with a ball.

MENTAL: Need constant reinforcement. Focus is on them and their friend. They are beginning to develop time and space relationships. Easily bruised ego. Make it fun. They have a great need for approval and have a fear of failure.


U10 Development of Skill and Small Group Tactics


COACH: Coach must be enthusiastic and passionate. Must have the ability to demonstrate. Must be keen and sensitive as well as enjoy children. The coach must seek soccer education. Must respect the game and all who are involved with it. Focus on development rather than the result. Know more soccer rules.

TECHNIQUE: Continued development on individual technique. Ball juggling. All players must have a ball. Control and receiving as well as passing skills should be heavily emphasized. Continued work on shooting. Activities must include lots of repetitions. Teach Goalkeeping skills. 75% of practice should be on technique. Encourage mastery of the ball. Left and right foot with everything.

TACTICS: Build on small group activities like 2v1, 2v2, 2v3, 3v3-both offensively and defensively. Teach some positional responsibilities but don't spend a lot of time on it. Continue to rotate players in positions. Learn depth and cover as well as width. Teach throw-ins. Encourage flair and risk taking.

PHYSICAL: Introduce stretching and cool downs. They need full rest periods and plenty of water breaks. Players are becoming stronger and faster. Prone to over heating and heat related injury. Players gaining better control over their bodies.

MENTAL: Recognizes basic concepts of time and space but not always certain why. Their focus is on “me” and the “team.” Still in need of positive reinforcement. Want to belong to a group. Enjoy friends. Adults outside of the family are accepted. They will blame others. They are more sensitive and serious about playing. Feelings get hurt easily.


U12 Development of Individual Skills and Individual and Group Tactics


Hero worship, identification with high level players and teams and a hunger and passion for imaginative skills are important at this age. Demonstration is very important and players learn best by doing. It is very important to establish discipline and instill an attitude necessary to compete and succeed.

COACH: Must be enthusiastic; Possess soccer awareness; A sensitive teacher; Ability to demonstrate; Knowledge of the key factors of basic skills; Give encouragement; Seek soccer education.

TECHNIQUE: Important to establish a good strong base. Increase technical speed. Develop under pressure of time, space and opponent. The technical training must far outweigh anything else in this age group. 1st Touch All surfaces and on the move. Passing All surfaces and on the move. Proper timing, weight, accuracy and disguise. Dribbling Encourage risk taking. They must be allowed to run at players and take them on. We want players who can make things happen. Shooting Proper striking technique-service from all angles, 1st touch, preparation to strike and attitude to score

TACTICS: Play a variety of positions. Promote attacking soccer

Individual 1V1

Attacking Take players on. Encourage the creative risk taker. Shielding.

Defending Proper pressure (in front and from behind), How to jockey and how and when to tackle.

Small group 2V1, 2V2, 3V1, 3V2, 3V3

Attacking Keep possession, support, combination plays

Defending Pressure/cover; marking

Play a lot of small-sided games and coach within the games. Join in

PHYSICAL: Flexibility-stress this aspect because it cuts down on injuries and increases range of motion.

Speed, Strength, Agility

MENTAL: Must be kept fun

Encourage decision-making

Imagination/Creativity/Risk Taking

Discipline/Boots polished/On Time/Set Standards

Encourage them to watch high-level games

U12 Goalkeeper


TECHNIQUE: Set position

General handling / Basic shot stopping / Catching

Ground balls

Bouncing balls

Mid-range balls

Head Height balls

Dealing with Crossed balls

Flighted

Driven

Distribution

Throws

Roll

Sling

All kicks

Goal kicks

Volleys

Balls played to feet

TACTICS: Basic communication


1v1 Principals


1v1 with the defense


Beginnings of support for defense


PHYSICAL: Goalkeeping specific stretching and flexibility


Beginning stages of foot work skills


Increase speed in short distances (18 yards)


MENTAL: Have fun


Encourage effort/determination


Drill home basics for muscle memory


Watch older goalkeepers in games


U14 Individual Skills and Small Group Tactics


Adult standards and formal rules become the focal point. The demands of skill training


as well as training loads should increase thus provoking improvement in mental


toughness, concentration and diligence.


Coach: Strong personality; Soccer knowledge; Enthusiastic; Demonstrate


TECHNIQUE: Build on the base. Development of individual skill under pressure


Dribbling Encourage players to take players on 1v1; Moves; Shielding and Spin turns.


Receiving Quality 1st touch. Still highly emphasized. Take balls out of air/turning; all


surfaces.


Passing Short, long, bent, crosses, driven, chipped; all surfaces and on the move.


Shooting On the run; on the turn; from all angles; Volleys; 1/2 volleys


Heading To goal; To pass; To clear


Tackling Proper technique and timing; Slide


TACTICS: Increase tactical speed (decision making)


Individual 1V1


Attacking Encourage the creative risk taker; take players on in proper areas of the field


Defending Proper pressure (in front and behind); Channel player; immediate chase


Small Group 2V1, 2V2, 3V2, 3V3, 4V2, 4V3, 4V4


Attacking Keep possession; Support; Combination Play; Width, Depth, Penetration;


Crossing with proper runs; Simple set plays


Defending Pressure-Cover-Balance, Compactness, Delay, Tracking back; Simple set plays


Play a lot of small-sided games and coach within the games. Join in


PHYSICAL: Flexibility, Agility


Speed


Strength


Endurance


MENTAL: The game must remain fun


Imagination/Creativity/Risk Taking


Increase Demands


Establish Training Targets


Maintain Discipline


Encourage them to watch high-level games.


U14 Goalkeeper


TECHNIQUE: Set position


General handling / Basic shot stopping / Catching


All heights


Diving


Collapse


Step and save


Power step and save


Reaction save


Recovery save


Crosses – catching & punching


Chipped serve


Flighted serve


Driven serve


unopposed and opposed.


Distribution


Throws


Roll


Side arm


Overarm


All kicks


Goal kicks


Volleys & ½ Volleys


Dealing with the back pass unopposed & opposed –


– control and increase range with both feet.


TACTICS: Communication (for each 1/3)


1v1 Principals


1v1 with the defense


Distance / Angles / Availability to support the defense


PHYSICAL: Warm ups and cool downs


Plyometric exercises


Goalkeeping specific stretching, flexibility and mobility exercises


Footwork all directions/planting of feet for change of lateral direction


Speed – 18 yards max distance (penalty box)


Check height/weight and vertical jump 4 times per year


MENTAL: Match and training preparation


Growth and development – diet and nutrition – lifestyle


Dealing with positive & negative assessments (praise and criticism)


Dealing with selection and tryouts with positive & negative results.


Soccer terminology


U16 Development of Skill and Group Tactics


This is a critical time in a player's development. Many stop playing due to other interests, lack


of success, shortage of playing opportunities, poor coaching or other interests. Players tend to


be mentally tougher and more self confident but with a need for attention, security and further


nurturing. There is a need for team spirit, leadership and discipline within the team.


COACH: Charismatic; Experienced; Knowledgeable; Articulate; Disciplinarian;


Managerial Know How; Thoughtful Communicator


TECHNIQUE: Skills should be mastered leading to artistry. Technique should be


trained on the move, done at speed and all with opposition. Strike balls cleanly


and maturely over distance with accuracy and pace and all under pressure.


TACTICS: Increase Tactical Speed (decision making)


Group 3V3, 4V4, 5V5, 7V7


Attacking Keep Possession but with a Purpose-e.g. Direction


Combination Play and 3rd Man Runs


Penetration


Mobility/Creativity


Crossing with Pressure and Proper Runs into the Box


Set Plays


Defending Pressure-Cover-Balance


Compactness


Delay


Tracking Back


Communication (how, efficient)


Hunting the Ball and Winning Back Possession


Set Plays


PHYSICAL: Flexibility-Before and After Training/Games


Agility-With and Without the Ball


Speed Work


Endurance-Aerobic and Anaerobic


Strength-Upper and Lower Body


Nutrition-Proper Diet-Pre-Game, Post-Game, Tournaments, etc…


Prevention and Care of Injuries


MENTAL: Increased Concentration, Goalsetting, and Relaxation Techniques


Leadership/Player Responsibilities


Discipline


Respect for the Game/Opponent, Watch High Level Matches


U16 Goalkeeper


TECHNIQUE: Footwork / Set position / General handling techniques


Shot stopping / catch or deflect / recovery saves


All Dives


Collapse / Step and save / Power step and save


Narrowing the angle


Crosses


Served from all areas/angles unopposed & opposed


Distribution –


Throws


Improved range / power / variation - all techniques


Kicks


Goal kicks / Volleys / ½ Volleys


Dealing with the back pass under pressure –control


& first touch with both feet, variation of


pass.


TACTICS: Support - Angles / Distance


Communication – working with the defensive unit - recognizing


pressure on and of the ball


Presence


Making adjustments to stay in line with the ball (footwork)


Organization in defending set plays - free kicks and corner kicks


PHYSICAL: Warm-ups and Cool-downs


Stretching, flexibility, mobility and strengthening exercises


Plyometric exercises


Recovery exercises


Agility exercises – low intensity / low repetitions


Weight training – low weights/high reps


Footwork all directions (all goalkeeping movements)


Speed – 20-yards maximum


Check height/weight and vertical leap 4 times per year


Check body fat


MENTAL: Training and match preparation


Lifestyles/discipline


Living away from home


Dealing with competition


Physical confrontations


Dealing with pressure – internal/external


Dealing with both success and failure


U19 Developmental of Positional and Team Play


Fulfillment of a player's potential depends on his or her own efforts, the support of his/her


teammates and the unselfish guidance of his or her coach. He/she must be exposed to a playing


and training environment, which extends his/her mental, physical and technical capabilities to


the limit. He/she must have a sound understanding of the game's principles and concepts.


Players should show emotional stability when confronted with pressure situations. Demanding
and Challenging training sessions and matches are a must!!!


COACH: Charismatic; Well Informed; Up to Date; Experienced; Articulate;


and Challenging training sessions and matches are a must!!!


COACH: Charismatic; Well Informed; Up to Date; Experienced; Articulate;


Disciplinarian-No Doubts about who is in Charge; Managerial Know How


TECHNIQUE: Mastered Skill Leading to Artistry. All at Speed under Match Conditions.


Individual Skill Covered during warm-up


TACTICS: Increase Tactical Speed (Decision making).


Increase Pressure and Competition


Team/Functional- Understanding the Three Lines in the Team and their Collective


Responsibilities


Attacking Possession with a Purpose


Combination Play with Tactical Implications


Penetration with Variety, Creativity and Disguise


Counter Attack


Wide/Flank Play


Target Play and Creating Chances


Crossing under Pressure with Proper runs into the Box


Set Plays


Defending Zonal marking & Man marking with Sweeper Behind


Pressing as a Unit in Different 1/3's


Set Plays


PHYSICAL: Flexibility Work Before and After Practices and Games


Agility-With and Without the Ball


Speed


Endurance-Aerobic and Anaerobic


Strength-Upper and Lower Body


Nutrition-Proper Diet-Pre-Game, Post-Game. Tournaments, etc…


Care and Prevention of Injuries


Care of their Own Bodies. e.g. toenails, shower, sleep, footwear


MENTAL: Increased Concentration


Leadership/Increased Player Responsibilities


Discipline


Respect for the Game/Opponents


Self-Confidence/Self Motivation-GoalSetting


Mental Imagery


Fighting Spirit-Will to Win


Encourage to Watch High Level Soccer


U19 Goalkeeper


TECHNICAL: Footwork/set position/general handling


All Dives


Collapse save / Step and save / Power step and save


Narrowing the angle


Shot stopping / catch or deflect / recovery saves


Advanced reaction saves


Crosses


Unopposed & Opposed


Working with the defensive unit


Distribution


Throws – all techniques


Kicks – all techniques


TACTICS: Distance of support / Playing off your line


Recognizing pressure on and off the ball.


Decision-making - last line of defense & first line of attack


Presence.


Organization of the defensive unit for transition


Organization on set plays – corners and free kicks


PHYSICAL: Warm up/cool down


Goalkeeping specific stretching, flexibility and mobility


Footwork exercises


Recovery exercises


Agility exercises


Plyometric exercise


Weight training – low weights high reps


Speed 20 yards maximum


Check height, weight – weekly


Body fat and vertical leap – check monthly


MENTAL: Application / Attitude


Following a coach's game plan


Composure / Temperament / Dealing with the pressure


Concentration


Confidence


Consistency


Courage


Criticism – internal / external


Desire / Determination/ Winning mentality


Personal goal setting — imagery
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