How to train football U10, an intensive course

Eight tips for coaching youth soccer

This is a crash course on how to coach a youth soccer team. Follow these eight tips to help your team have a winning season. The most important thing for kids is to have fun, but it’s always easier to have fun when your team wins. You’ll learn how to start and end each practice, and how to use the stick and wedge formation to build a defensive-minded team that results in wins instead of losses. This article will be especially useful for those who want to know how to train u8 or 810 football, but it applies to all age levels.

Here are the tips for coaching a winning team:

1- Team race

Have your players line up along the goalkeeper’s box. Ask them to hold hands and run to the opposite side of the field and back. Tell them that they need to jog as fast as the slowest player. This simple exercise builds unity and a sense of purpose.

2- Find a goalkeeper

Line up your team in the center of the field and have them run to the penalty line and back to help you identify the faster players from the slower ones. Ask them to line up and kick the ball. Ask the top two or three kids who can kick the ball the farthest if they would be goalkeepers. If not, ask if they would be a reservation.

If you can’t find a player interested in the job, ask the top candidates if they would play goalkeeper one time and striker the next. Most kids want to play in the striker/striker position and score goals, so offering to rotate two players as goalkeeper in one midfielder and striker in the next makes the goalkeeper position more appealing.

3- Stick Defense

Make defense a priority. Use a “stick” defense where you stack five kids in front of the goalie. The stick rotates around the goalkeeper like a clock hand, pointing towards the opposing player who is attacking your goal. It can extend to the midfield line when the ball moves into the opponent’s penalty area.

In general, there is a fifty percent chance that the other team will have a star player who can dribble down the field and score. Traditional teams have three or four forwards and three or four running backs. These lineups leave three players to defend the goal (and one or two chasing runners). Five defenders are better. If you play less than 11 due to illness or vacation, you can shorten the suit to three or four players. Even with nine players, there are still three defenders.

Players at the stick are numbered one through five, with one being closest to the goal. You want your slower, less skilled players to play the stick. It is important to have a bigger and faster player in the position of two to control the stick. When the ball is on the other side of the field, the #2 signals the others to move up and stretch the stick. The less skilled player should be at post #3, where the two of them can manage the player while he defends the goal.

4- Wedge Halfbacks

The running back or midfielder positions form a “wedge” of three people. The wedge is sent to stop the opposing offense and deflect the ball into opposing territory. The center position is flanked by a player to the left and right who are five feet behind and ten feet to the sides of the center. They travel together, searching for the opposition attacker. They do not cross the center of the field, and act as a protective “cover” to the stick. The center, like all “first” defenders, must follow the attacker to force him to stop or slow down. The center maintains a five to ten foot cushion from the attacker, retreating as needed. The attacker should go left or right, but will likely slow down as the left or right wedge player presses closer to the center. Attacking the formation is frustrating. Trying to get past seven players instead of getting around a few is tough.

If the attacking player passes to their left or right side of the formation, the right wedge player becomes the center and follows the ball handler while the center stays back and takes the right side. The wedge reforms when the left wedge player slides and holds the left side of the wedge.

5- Two strikers

The remaining two players are flexible positions. One should play center forward, playing as high up as possible. The center forward plays as far as he can without being offside. The other striker plays outside striker, moving left or right, following the ball when he is on defense. The outside forward hangs out near midfield and needs to receive the ball to push down the sideline or pass to the center forward.

6- The first half is all defense

This formation seems slow as it is not attack oriented. The strategy of the stick and wedge formation is to physically wear down the opposition in the first half, allowing the formation to advance towards the opposition’s goal later in the second half.

Starting with a strong defense and adjusting to more offense is always the right move in youth soccer. A strong offense does little when his team trails 0-2 after five minutes of play. The stick and wedge formation draws in more opposing players on offense to equal the number of defensive players, weakening their defense as the game progresses.

7- The weakness of each team

The weakness of almost all formations is when an opposing team quickly moves the ball down the sideline and into your penalty area. You can take an additional player to mark your star player, resulting in one less in the stick. The stick must not extend laterally outside the penalty area. Let your forwards shoot between the penalty area and the sideline. When they cross the ball, you’ll have plenty of defenders to contest their attack.

8- PK are ok

There is nothing wrong with a tie. Prepare your team for penalty kicks. It’s fun to end your practices with penalty kick drills. A great drill is to put an assistant coach in goal with your goalkeeper and another player. Have all three spread out, each defending a third of the goal. Have your players line up in an arc around the goal and shoot balls into the net at the same time. It’s great practice and makes a real pk easier as there will only be one goalkeeper and not three.

Teach your kids to “pass” the ball into the net with the inside of their foot instead of trying to shoot it with the inside of their foot. This is a more accurate shot from close range and almost as powerful.

This stick and wedge works and provides a formation with the most defense. Start off strong on defense and add more offense as needed later in the game. Find a goalie first and fill out the rest of your team. There is nothing wrong with a tie. You now have the knowledge to put your team in position to win and have a successful season!

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