U12 - Walnut Creek Soccer Club

U12 - Walnut Creek Soccer Club
U12 – U19 Coaching Curriculum
Recreational Development Guidelines
Coaching Manual
2015/16 Season
Director of Coaching:
Tom Ginocchio
‘A Guide to help you effectively manage your games and trainings.’
1 Copyright Walnut Creek Soccer Club® 2015
U12 – U19 Age Groups
Table of Contents
Part I: Recreational Development Standards
U12-U14 Development Standards
U16-U19 Development Standards
Additional Recourses
WCSC Recreational Coach/Asst. Coach Code of Conduct
WCSC Recreational Parent Code of Conduct
Part II: Coaching Manual/Curriculum
Your Team Player Pool
Coaching Experience
Development Philosophy
Game Management, Recommendations & Guidelines
Role of your Parents
Training Environment/Guidelines
Sample Training Concepts
Part III: Sample Drills & Exercises
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10 - 18
19- End
Part I
WCSC Recreational Developmental Guidelines
Standards and Terminology
In the Walnut Creek Soccer Club Recreational program, our principle goal is to ensure our
players have a positive soccer experience. The Development Guidelines, Standards,
Terminology, and Part II of this document, the WCSC Coaching Manual/Curriculum, will be
used in combination with the US Soccer Curriculum and any other supporting club documents.
The role of the Coach is to be a facilitator to learning. During every training session each player
should have a ball, and work to get 1,000+ touches during each training session. Most of your
exercises and games will be in small groups and involve the ball. During your 12-weeks with
your players, you should emphasize growth in these elements.
Some standard terminology we want to see used throughout each age group:
Attacking terms:
 Dribble – term used to move the ball when at your feet
 Pass- when moving the ball from one player to the next
 Trap/Settle- 1st touch used to control the ball at your feet
 “Turn” – what to do when there is no defender on your back
 “Time” – no defensive pressure when you have the ball at your feet
 “Man On” – when there is a defender closing to pressure the player with the ball
 “Shield” –term used to describe a player using their body to protect the ball from the
 “Open Up/Spread the field” –term used when the players are bunching and not
using the space on the field.
 “Get Wide/Width” – Directional term used to tell wing/outside players they need to
get nearer the sideline
 “Depth/Drop” – term used to tell defenders to drop in order to facilitate possession
through the back line. Also used to tell the forwards to move higher on the field
(towards opponents goal)
 “Negative Pass”- Pass played to a teammate that goes towards your own goal.
 “Wall Pass” – Give and go.
Defensive Terms:
 “Press/Pressure” –term used to tell the nearest defender (1st defender) to close the
attacking player with the ball
 “Delay”- term used to tell 1st defender to be less aggressive against attacking player.
Keep themselves between attacker and the goal.
 “Step In”- used to tell 1st defender they can look to win the ball off the attacking
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“Step Up” – used by Goalkeeper/Defenders to push the back line up the field as your
team attacks or the opponent possesses the ball towards their own goal.
“Away/Clear” – Directing your teammate to play the ball to safety up the field.
“Stay with your Mark” – Mark is the person you are supposed to be preventing from
receiving the ball or scoring.
U12-U14 Teams/Players Development Standards
Players and teams are moving now to 11v11 soccer. There will be a wide range in player
abilities, band coaches should continue to encourage technical development in each player.
Since players are growing the coach will add elements of physical development (balance,
coordination, agility) along with small-sided and limited group tactics to help the players
understand their positions on the field. Players should play multiple positions. Possession-style
soccer is to be encouraged by our coaches.
-Juggling. Encourage your players to juggle the ball. As they arrive at the field have them start
juggling. Using all body parts work with players to set individual goals and track their progress.
By U14’s players should be able to juggle the ball (with all body parts) 25 times, and with the
feet only 10 times. They should be using both feet to juggle.
-Dribbling. Players should be able to dribble and control the ball at multiple speeds. They
should be using both feet and all surfaces. Players should feel comfortable with the ball at their
feet while being pressured by a defender. They are encouraged and should be able to use moves
to beat the defender, or a passing combination (give and go).
-Moves. All the moves they learned at U9-U11 should continue to be re-inforced and done at
greater speed. Each of these moves should be used in games. Encourage the use of these moves
and reward players who are able to use them against a defender in a game situation. ‘Pullback’,
Cut, Lunge, Scissor, Cruyff and Step Over are all moves they should know well, with 1-2 of
them being developed into a great move they use with confidence on the field.
-Trapping/Passing. They should be able to pass the ball on the ground with accuracy up to 30
yards. Players should be able to receive a ball out of the air with the top of the foot, thigh or
chest and bring the ball to the ground. They should be learning to chip the ball in the air shorter
distances (20 yards) and driving the ball in the air with the laces longer distances (30 yards)
One touch passing. Players should learn how to pass the ball to a teammate without having to
trap it. This takes preparation on where to go with the pass prior to receiving the ball. Players
should know this skill by U14’s.
-Heading. Players should have learned the proper heading technique from U9-U11 and be able
to head the ball correctly. Players should learn how to re-direct a ball out of the air toward the
goal (if attacking) and away from the goal (if defending). Setting up crossing exercises where
teammates are serving the ball into the box are encouraged to help prepare them for this element
of the game.
-Shooting. Players should know how to use both their instep (inside of the foot) and laces to
shoot the ball. They should know how to take the ball out of the air for a shot (volley and half
volley). They should be able to drive a shot from farther distance 20+ yards with the laces.
Accuracy should greater through the U12-U14 ages.
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-Shielding. Players should know how to use their body/shoulder to help protect the ball.
Soccer is a physical game so setting up 1v1 situations that encourage contact and protecting the
ball should be a part of the training session and their development.
With shielding/holding the ball, players should learn how to receive and hold the ball with there
back to goal. Most of our play is with the defender in front or on the side of us. But players
must know how to possess the soccer ball while the defender is on their back. Important for all
Small Group/Line Defending. Pressure/Cover. These two words/terms should become of the
player vocabulary. The defender closest to the ball is Pressure and the next closest to the ball is
Cover. These two work together to put pressure on the attacking player. Players should know
these two terms and how to work together to defend.
Most teams will play with four defenders on their back line. Learning how these four defenders
move together is important. They should be 7-10 yards apart and move together up the field and
when they drop. No line of defenders should be held back at the 18 yard line. As your team is
attacking and near the opponents goal, your defenders should learn to be at mid-field, looking to
win the ball if it is cleared out and maintain possession.
During these years, as the field gets bigger, coaches should discourage ‘boot ball’ and encourage
players to dribble/keep control of the ball, along with passing the ball with purpose. Fitness
without the ball is introduced to the players. Encourage proper hydration and nutrition.
U16-U19 Teams/Players Development Standards
Most players have now played 11v11 soccer for a multiple years. The focus will move away
from technical development (although this is still a part of the training program) to more tactical
development. We encourage possession style soccer and want to see players use all the
individual skills they have learned over the years during trainings and games.
-Juggling. Encourage your players to juggle the ball. As they arrive at the field have them start
juggling. Using all body parts work with players to set individual goals and track their progress.
By U19’s players should be able to juggle the ball (with all body parts) 40 times, and with the
feet only 20 times. They should be using both feet to juggle.
Players with great success should perform the technical elements of the game. The move toward
tactics and possession-style soccer is the focus.
-Defending. Players have learned to step to the ball to provide Pressure, and also to support the
1st defender by providing Cover. Players should learn to push the attacking player (Channel)
away from goal and how to double-team the ball with the 1st and 2nd defender working together
against one attacker.
There should be an understanding of how to defend set pieces from setting a wall (# of players)
to how to mark a player (ball side/goal side) and stay with your responsibility, and clear the ball
in the air and away from goal.
-Attacking. Players should understand combination play (give and go’s) and how to create
scoring opportunities from strengths within their team.
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-Using the Goalkeeper and Backline to Possess. Using the goalkeeper to keep possession is a
very important part of the team dynamic. When the ball gets over the top of the defenders being
able to play the goalkeeper to either clear the ball out, or play it to an open player should be a
part of your team tactics.
-Tactically playing with a lead. Players in this age group should understand how the team
tactics may change if the team has a lead. The team may become more defensive in shape, make
take less risks in the attack in terms of sending players forward. But understanding what the
teams goals are in the 2nd half when you have a lead is a skill that players should learn at this
-Tactically playing from behind. The opposite of how you play with a lead, when you are
behind your team may become more attacking by adding another forward, or take more risks by
sending more players forward in order to score a goal.
Understanding how and when to change tactics to either score a goal or tighten up the defense to
protect a lead should be learned and implemented in games and trainings.
-Communication. Until U16, it is more difficult for players to provide direction and motivation
to each other on the field. At U16, the expectation is that players will become more vocal
leaders on the field.
Basic communication:
 “Turn”, “time”, “man on”
 Group Attacking- Where the team is having success and want to continue attacking
“Keep finding (player name)”, ie: “keep possessing through our backs”
 Communication your organization/attacking shape on the field when you have a
lead/or are behind.
 “Delay”, “Don’t Stab”, “Stand him up”
 Organizing the marking- “I got #….You got #….”
 2nd defender- “Push Right” or “Push Left”,
 Group Defending- “Step Up” (push your back line up the field)
 Communication your organization/defending shape on the field when you have a
lead/or are behind.
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Additional Resources:
 US Soccer Practice Guidelines:
 http://www.nscaa.com/education/tools
 WCSC Training Sessions (Check club website under Coaches Corner)
 WCSC House Coaching Manuals – (Part II of this document)
 House Coaching and Player Clinics – (Check club website)
Club Documents:
 WCSC Recreational Coaches Code of Conduct
 WCSC Recreational Parent Code of Conduct
 Team Evaluations. All coaches will turn in a team evaluation at the end of their
season. One per team. The format will be sent out to you in October and you will
provide feedback on your team/players, which greatly helps us create teams the
following year.
 Coach Licensing. Within WCSC and around the area, there are opportunities to get
your coaching licenses. Here is a link to the Cal North site:
CYSA offers an online 2-hour F licensing course now, which is a pre-requisite to getting the
USSF E license. It will provide you with good information to help guide your season and
coaching organization.
NCSAA is the other governing soccer body and also offers courses throughout Northern
California: www.nscaa.com/education/courses & www.nscaa.com/education
 Tom Ginocchio, WCSC Director of Coaching, offers player camps during the summer
through Gino’s Soccer Academy, the official camps of WCSC. These are for
individuals, small groups, or teams. We also offer Specialty Camps for Goalkeepers,
Advanced Players, and offer a High School Player Academy. Info can be found at
Coaching Clinics:
 WCSC offers Coaching Clinics where our Competitive Coaches will demonstrate how
they work with players in your age group. You will see how to warm up the group,
develop a specific soccer theme, and how to keep the session moving. You will also
have the opportunity to ask questions after the session, and develop an outlet to
help answer questions as they come up throughout the season. The calendar for this
can be found at: www.wcsc.org/node/885
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Walnut Creek Soccer Club
Recreational Coach and Asst. Coach Code of Conduct
As a WCSC Coach or Assistant Coach, you are part of our coaching community and must
represent yourself in accordance to the principles listed below. These principles apply to
everyone on our volunteer coaching staff when they represent the Walnut Creek Soccer
I will abide by the WCSC Recreational League Policies, Rules and Regulations:
Coaches and/or Assistant Coaches will show up prior to the start of their training session.
They will leave after the last player has been picked up.
Coaches will have the necessary equipment (cones, bibs, balls) to run their training and
have a 1st aid kit.
Coaches will show up with a prepared training session, utilizing coaching resourses
available to them through WCSC and other soccer materials: books, websites, dvd’s.
Coaches will treat all players equally, based upon rules/guidelines set up for the team.
Coaches will refrain from using profanity when in the presence of players.
Coaches will maintain an open line of communication for players and parents to answer
questions about player development and any issues that may arise.
Coaches will portray a positive role model for youth by maintaining an attitude of
respect, loyalty, patience, integrity, courtesy, tact and maturity.
Coaches will make every effort to attend coaching educations courses and clinics
provided by WCSC.
Coaches will show up to games at the agreed upon time set for all team members.
Coaches will wear the appropriate WCSC attire or similar Adidas training gear in the
club colors that are neutral (no other organizational logo).
Coaches will have the necessary equipment at the game for warm-up (cones, pennies,
balls) along with a 1st aid kit.
Coach will sit with their team during the game and stand when necessary to make
adjustments or provide feedback to the players in the game. Coaches will refrain from
using profanity when in the presence of players.
Coaches will be a positive role model and demonstrate the type of behavior they want to
see in their players and parents. As a representative of WCSC, this will include respect
of the referees, all players, and the opposing coaching staff. Furthermore, the coach will
discipline any players/parents who do not respect the game, referees, all players and
The coach, assistant coach and players out of the game will stay inside the marked area
coaches box) set up for them on the sideline at all times. The coach will also ensure that
all parents are sitting outside this technical area. Parents will sit in an area between the
technical area and the 18 yard line.
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WCSC Parent Code of Conduct-Recreational
Please note that parent signatures are required at the bottom
Thank you for being a part of the Walnut Creek Soccer Club. Below is our Parent Code of
Conduct, which we expect you to abide by, as it will be enforced by our coaches and club
officials. Please make sure to read through and understand that this is a condition for
participation in WCSC.
1. As a parent, I agree to support the Walnut Creek Soccer Club in requiring the players to
abide by the WCSC Player Code of Conduct.
2. I will abide by the Rules and Guidelines as written in the WCSC League Policies, Rules
and Regulations http://www.wcsc.org/sites/default/files/House%20GIP%202012.pdfI
agree to present myself as a positive role model while representing WCSC at any soccer
game, tournament or training session.
3. I will refrain from coaching my own or any other child during the course of a game.
Also, when at the games I will make sure to sit in my designated area which is between
the technical area (where team and coach sit) and the 18 yard line.
4. I agree to only praise players at any team game, tournament or training session. I will
respect the fact that this game is for the players, not the parents, and will only provide
positive communication from the sideline.
5. I will refrain from any form of negative communication or confrontation with the
opposing team’s parents and players.
6. I will refrain from communicating with the referees before, during and after any game.
As a parent, I will not question calls of the referee under any circumstance.
7. I will discuss any constructive concerns I have about players or the program in the
following order: Coach first, Age Group Coordinator second, and finally the Director of
8. I understand that the coaches are dedicated to providing a quality soccer experience
through training and team events. As a parent, I am committed to make every effort to get
my child to all trainings and team events.
9. Line of communication with the coaching staff: As a parent, I will always respect the
coaching staff during all games and trainings. I will never question, discuss or confront
the coach during or right after any game. I understand that a ’24 hour’ cooling off period
is in effect and that I will only approach the coach staff after 24 hours. I further
understand that my child will first approach the coach to discuss any on-field issues.
Should this not resolve the issue, I will set up a parent/player/coach meeting.
I agree that if I fail to abide by any of the rules listed above that I may be subject to, but not
limited by the following disciplinary action:
1. Verbal or written warning
2. Suspension from attending games, tournaments and trainings
3. Expulsion from the team/club
Parent Signature: ____________________________________ Date: _______________
Parent Signature: ____________________________________ Date: _______________
9 Copyright Walnut Creek Soccer Club® 2015
U12 – U19 Recreational Coaching Manual
The dedication, time and energy you are putting toward being a part of the Walnut Creek Soccer
Club (WCSC) coaching community is greatly appreciated. It is a selfless act, vital to our club
and something that you will look back upon with a sense of great accomplishment and pride. As
a older age coach you will be working with players who have played anywhere from 2-10 years
of soccer, with many having played organized soccer in our house or competitive program for a
number of years. You will get a varying range of athletic ability, soccer knowledge and skill
development on your team. You ultimate goal is to make sure they are having fun while
developing skills. Some of your players will want to participate in their high school soccer
program, so it is vital that your training sessions provide them with the opportunity to learn and
develop skills. This manual will provide you with information and tools to better manage your
team, parents and games. It will also help you better understand your role as coach, and provide
exercises to implement the WCSC Player Development Philosophy.
Player Pool: Your player pool should consist of 15-16 players. You will face a challenge in
that you have to train similar concepts with a group of players with differing development needs.
Some of these players will have just begun playing soccer, while others will have 5-10 years of
experience playing with their older siblings or parents who have a soccer background. It will be
important to identify the experience of all your players to help you prepare to meet the training
needs of each player.
Coaching Experience: These our the middle and upper age groups for organized soccer in
WCSC, and most of you will be returning coaches who worked with players starting with the
younger age groups. For some though, this might be your first experience coaching soccer.
Some of you will have had the opportunity to coach older children and are able to pull from that
experience to help you the 2nd time around. Some of you will have a background as a soccer
player, while other coaches will have touched a soccer ball somewhere between seldom and
never. Whatever your soccer background you have the opportunity to be an outstanding coach,
mentor and friend to each of your players. Some of the best youth coaches have limited to no
soccer experience. But you have to take on the responsibility to educate and prepare yourself to
work with the age group you coach. There are many resources out there, online training guides,
reading books, skills videos (Coerver makes some excellent DVD’s.), licensing courses, and
coaching clinics (We will run multiple coaching and player clinics from July-October that you
can use to improve and prepare yourself to create a fun and educational training environment.
We will have online resources available to you on the club website (www.wcsc.org) on the
Recreational page under ‘Coaches Corner’ along with the information on all clinics on that page
as well.
Game Management: At U12 the players are now going from 8v8 to now playing 11v11 games.
In the U12-U19 age groups you will continue to foster the individual skill development of your
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players, but your trainings should also offer the opportunity for players to train their decision
making skills and get a better understanding of team tactics. They should be working together
to defend their goal, while stepping up as a team on offense to attack their opponents goal.
Players should be developing a primary position and also a secondary position based upon their
success and development at the younger ages. On game day we want to encourage ball
movement through dribbling and passing, more than ‘kick ball’. Our training sessions will work
more on combination play to help the team advance the ball up the field. Your role as a coach is
still to be encouraging every player and rewarding them with praise as they succeed on the field.
There should be clapping and cheering from you as the game progresses. But you should not get
too caught up in the game or any one play that you lose focus on your role. The more you praise
their progress, the more you help develop their confidence. If you are primarily telling your
players what they are doing wrong, or pointing out when they made a mistake, you will eat away
at their enjoyment of the game. Make sure that your coaching points are constructive. Help them
to fix a problem vs. just identify the problem. A successful season is one where the players don’t
want it to end. When you are coaching on game day, you will see things that the team should
look to work on during the following week’s training, i.e. reinforcing the use of a move, using
their non-dominant foot, or taking players on as they played too much ‘boot ball’… As you
prepare for the training it is easy to forget what those things were with the game being 1-3 days
old. For that reason you should also have a notebook at your games to write down elements of
the game the kids did well, elements you saw them put into practice from the prior training
session and what you saw that they need to work on. It will help you when preparing for the
upcoming week.
11v11 Game: Remember for your game these simple guidelines1) Field- The dimension of the field is approximately 110x60, and you will have
field markings out there such as the goal box, penalty box and center circle,
which you need to explain to your players. You will have a coach’s area that
you should stay in (10 yards to each side of half field) along with your
2) Systems of Play- As we add more players to the field (going from 4v4 to 8v8
to 11v11) there are many more systems of play to choose from for you team.
Most of your will play with either 4 or 3 defenders, but mostly 4. Excluding
the goalkeeper, and starting from back (defenders to forwards) you can play a
4-4-2, or 4-3-3. If you play with 3 backs, you can play a 3-4-3 or 3-5-2. But
remember that each system is built around the players that you have and you
will look to incorporate elements from your system of play into your training.
Once you pick a system of play there are great resources out there (online or
in soccer shops) to help you learn more about how to teach that system to your
players. With every team, again I would encourage combination play
between your lines (defenders to mids, mids to forwards) and stay away as
much as possible from having the back just kick the ball up to the forwards.
Hopefully, you will have some players that like to have the ball at their feet
and feel confident dribbling and taking players on. These type of players can
work well to anchor your center midfield. With all systems, your players
should all attack and all defend together. Too many times I have seen coaches
leave their defenders back with the goalkeeper, never going pass the top of the
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18-yard box. This is counter to everything we want to teach about soccer.
When you have defenders sitting back you lose the opportunity for offsides
when your opponent has the ball. With the huge gap between your
midfielders, who are attacking, and defenders it allows your opponent to clear
the ball out to waiting forwards who can just turn and go at your goal without
pressure. The higher we pressure and defend away from our goal, the better
our chances of preventing goal-scoring opportunities. The closer our team is
together in the attack, the better they can work to defend as a team.
3) When the team is attacking your defensive line should be at or around
4) When the team is defending your forward line should be at or around
5) Do not argue with the referee’s. Be a positive role model for kids and parents
6) Make sure players are continuing to develop their knowledge of all positions
on the field (Defender, Midfield and Forward), but that they are also
developing the skills sets to play a primary and secondary position.
7) Encourage dribbling and implementing skills you work on in training. If you
worked on using a specific move like the scissor, and you see players doing
this in the game, make sure they know you saw them do this with praise and
encouragement. Remind other players of what you worked on and when they
see you praise their teammate, they will want to use that skill themselves.
8) Keep it fun and praise all your players.
9) Do not joystick coach. What does this mean? Joystick coaching is telling
your players what to do when they have the ball at their feet. Developing the
player’s decision-making skills is just as important as their ball skills. When
your player has the ball at their feet, let’s see what their natural instincts tell
them to do. If you think it should be something different, or you see a
continual tendency (passing instead of dribbling) in a player, address it after
the play is over or at the next training. Again, we want to see what their
decision making skills are and if you are constantly telling them what to do
with the ball, they start listening for your voice more than their own instincts.
This will hinder their development. Or, if they want to dribble and you are
telling them to pass it, this will confuse them and most likely lead to them
losing the ball. Again, hindering their development.
10) All players should have the opportunity to start at some point during the year.
Your bench players should not be the same game in and game out. Make sure
that you also provide a good amount of playing time to all players to allow for
player development in a game setting for all players.
Role of your Parents: Set the stage early in the season with a talk to the parents about their role
on the sideline and let them see you as a great example for them to follow. They should not
challenge or question the referee, and their only voice should be one of encouragement to all
players. The other aspect that comes up frequently is when they ‘coach’ from the sideline. Just
as we do not want you ‘joy-stick’ coaching the players, we don’t want the parents doing this
either. You are the volunteer putting in the time and effort to work with the kids in trainings and
games, yours should be the only voice they hear giving any instructions. The role of the parent is
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only to encourage and provide praise when the kids do something well on the field. If you have
a parent who is not following this model of behavior, we have a program in the club called the
Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA). This is a one-night class/workshop where coaches and
parents go to better understand their role on the sideline and the impact of their voice on the
players. It is a great resource and one I would recommend referring all parents, as there is value
in attending the course for everyone. It is free to WCSC parents and coaches.
Training Environment: This is probably the most important part of this manual. Here, we will
go over how to run a proper training session (practice), which includes
A) Equipment: You will be equipped with a coach’s kit from the club. This will include
2 soccer balls, pennies (bibs), cones, a field marshal vest, goalkeeper jersey, medical
kit, goal and green lockbox keys and garbage bags for picking up trash at trainings
and games. I would strongly encourage each player to also bring their own ball to
training, with the soccer balls loaned to you from the club being used as extras for
those that forget. We want every player to have a ball so that they can get as many
touches as possible. You can also get other equipment from the local soccer shops to
help enhance the training environment- Pugg goals, flags (to make goals) and
additional cones if needed.
B) Best use of your time: Your training will run from 1 1/2 to 2 hours per session. Come
prepared to the training session with a plan for the day that includes a topic to work
on. Each training session could also involve one fun game that the players get to play
if they work hard with the other elements of the practice. IMPORTANT: START
YOUR TRAINING ON TIME!!! I saw too many trainings last year where the coach
had half the team on time, and they would wait for more players to show up prior to
starting the practice. This punishes those who come on time and does not encourage
the late one’s to change their patterns. If you have 3 players there on time, start your
warm up with three players. As other show up, hopefully the impact of coming late
will change their behavior for future trainings.
C) Setting a routine: The players will respond better if they know the routine of training.
My best advice would be- 1) warm up/stretch, 2) individual skill development (this is
your topic for the day), 3) Fun game as a reward if they do well with the previous
portion of training, 4) Small sided games 2v2, to 4v4 where you ask them to
implement what you worked on in part (2). 5) Work on attacking concepts with
numbers up on the attacking team (i.e. 8 attackers vs 6 defenders) 6) End with a
scrimmage with 8v8. Many times you should try to structure your scrimmage with
one of your lines playing together. For example, when setting your scrimmage teams,
if you were working on your backline, put your defenders on the same team to work
as a unit, mixing in some midfielders and/or forwards to balance out the numbers. It
is the same if you are working on possession/combination play with the midfielders,
then have your midfielders playing on a team together. It will help them develop
continuity as a group and improve their play on gameday. Always ask the players to
emphasize your topic for the day in the scrimmage.
Keep a routine though that the players get used to, so they know what to expect
during their time on the field.
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D) Providing player and parents with rules and guidelines: Important for players to
know what happens if they disrupt the practice session. It is vital that you are not
working harder than your players, although you should provide a high level of energy
and be engaged in all activities with positive feedback. Some rules should involve
trying not to come late as it disrupts the flow of training, no one talks when the coach
is talking, eye contact when the coach is talking, what to bring to training (cleats, shin
guards, water…), respect for your teammates, opponents, and referee’s. It is great to
print out Rules and Guidelines for players and parents to follow for both practices and
E) Balancing fun with skill development: With U12 and above, although they are older
and have been playing soccer for a while, it is still so important that they enjoy their
soccer experience. At U12’s it is a good time to start building fitness into their
training. There are many ways to also incorporate the ball into fitness so that they
continue to develop their skills at the same time. I have always felt it is great to be
able to ‘hide’ fitness work in the training environment by incorporating it into ball
work. It cannot always be this way, but it is great when the players are focused on
working hard with the ball and not on the idea that they are doing fitness. As always
continue to provide a lot of positive feedback. It is important to balance fun games
and skill development, but as they get older we want the training environment to
include more skill development and less games. Having kids stand around at this (or
any) age is a no-no. We want them all to have a ball and to be working as much as
possible with the ball at their feet.
F) Skill Development: At the end of each training, we hope that your players have gotten
1,000-2,000 touches on the ball. There is a saying in soccer that’ the ball is the best
teacher’ and it is true. Your player’s skills, physical and mental, will improve the
more they come into contact with the ball. Each warm up should involve dribbling
activities that have your players constantly touching the ball. Whenever working on
skill development, if you have assistant coaches, divide the big group into small
groups and have them all dribbling with a work to rest ratio of 1 to 1 if possible. 1 to
2 should be the maximum. Work to rest ratio is if they are in groups of 3 for a
dribbling exercise, they dribble (work) one time and wait (rest) two times as other
players in their group go. Again, keep the work to rest ratio, or the standing around
to a minimum.
G) Tactical/Positional Development: There are many ways to work on your team play in
training. Putting different restrictions (2 touch only, 3 or more touches prior to
passing…) on your team during an exercise or drill can challenge their mental
development, which is just as important as their physical development. You first
want to get your team working on their ability to possess the ball. As a team our
movement of the ball is what will create goal scoring opportunities. It is good to
play without physical goals in a possession grid where they ‘score’ by completing a
certain number of passes. For example, you have 14 players at training, set up a 35 x
35 grid with cones and play 7v7 possession. If the team is struggling with this, you
can take a player from each side to be neutral players or make the grid bigger. With
neutral players, the game would be 6v6+2. The two (2) neutral’s are always on
offense, so whichever team is in possession of the ball has an 8 v 6 player advantage.
This should allow for more passing combinations and success in possession.
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Encourage them to find the open players (there should always be at least two open).
After playing in the 35x35 grid, take the same groups, add physical goals, and go to
goal. Play with neutrals or without. With the possession start with 5 passes is a point.
You can put your center midfielders as neutral’s to encourage your team to play
through them. Also putting touch limitations on the team can be helpful.
Sample training exercises:
Dribbling Exercises: 1v1 to the cone, 1v1 to the end line, 1v1/2v2 to four goals, developing
moves using static cone, figure 8 dribbling around two cones. 2v1 to goal where they have to
work on decision-making (dribble or pass).
Passing Exercises: Pass & move through gates (cone/flags), Dutch diamond passing, numbers
up keep away (4 v 2, 3 v 1). Encourage 1st touch away from defensive pressure to set up
successful 2nd (or more) touch pass.
Surface development: Should be encouraging the players to use all surfaces of the foot. Place
restrictions on them to help this (left foot only), and by the end of the year they should have used
the left and right feet for dribbling, bottom of the foot (raking exercises), inside and outside of
the foot. Encourage that they are getting away from toe poking.
Warm up: Vary it up each week or two, so that it stays fresh for them. While they only need
limited stretching, it is good to go through a routine and discuss the muscles they are stretching
and why. Use stretches
 Everyone with ball, dribbling. Call out items you want them to work on (toe taps,
boxing, raking, cut, lunge, stepover)
 Introduce juggling. Ask for use of specific body parts. Play ‘Coach Says’ or
have them count the number of juggles they can do in 30 sec. Repeat and have
them work to beat their score.
 Tail Tag. Put down a square (20x20) and have each player put a bib in the back of
his or her shorts to create a ‘tail’. The object is to run around trying to pull your
opponents tail out, while protecting your own. Adjustment: Keep the game
going initially by giving the eliminated players the opportunity to get back in the
game. Have them show you a skill with the soccer ball (10 toe taps, 10 scissor
moves, 10 juggles…) then they can return to the game. At some point when you
want the game to end, make any elimination final until only 1 player is left
remaining. As you have less players remaining, shrink the space.
 Vitamins with service in outside circle. Have half the team inside the circle and
half outside. The outside half has the soccer balls. Players on the inside move
towards different players on the outside and receive the ball. It can be a pass or
volley combination. Each function goes for 60-90 seconds and then switch
positions. Functions: Start with trap and pass back to outside player (service is
from the feet by outside player). Progressions: 1st time pass to outside player; trap
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and pass to outside player (here service by outside player is with the hands); 1st
time volley back with inside of the foot; 1st time volley back with laces; trap and
volley with thighs/chest; headers.
Knock out- everyone dribbles around a grid (20x20) and try to control their ball
while knocking out their opponents. Run it like Tail Tag.
With this age group it is important to make sure they have a great soccer experience and
that you, as a coach, emphasize skill development and give them the tools to succeed. If your
team is not getting results, make sure to evaluate your training environment and what you can do
better to prepare the team, as opposed to blaming the players. Each game, each training
prioritize one aspect of the game you want them to work on. Whether it be a specific move,
dribbling more than two touches, or using their weaker foot, positional training, combination
play (give and go’s) it is so important that they have one thing to focus on. It will be easy to pick
many areas of improvement, but focus on one. Also, keep it positive and reward them with
praise when they do that which you are focusing on.
Again, the best teacher is the ball itself, so have each player with a ball at their feet as
much as possible in training. Keep your work to rest ratio low.
As mentioned above, in most trainings you should do an exercise called vitamins. We call it
this because if you do them on a regular basis you will be a healthy soccer player (skill wise).
Here we are working on:
 Trap and Pass (1st touch: Same foot, to other foot, same foot-outside then inside touch)
 1st touch passing (Using the inside of the foot. Have them running in place prior to
receiving he ball.
 Thigh trap and passing
 Volley’s (inside of the foot and with the laces.)
 Chest trap and pass/volley
Continue to work on individual skills with dribbling, encourage the use of both feet and the use
of all surfaces of the foot.
1) Two cone dribbling. Work to rest ratio is 1:1. Making figure 8’s. Cones are 8-15 yards
 Right foot only
 Left foot only
 Both feet
 Raking and cutting
 Boxing/Pull back
2) Moves. Work on four moves throughout the year.
 Lunge
 Scissors
 Stepover
 Cuts, inside and outside of each foot
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3) 1 v 1’s (10 x 15 yard grid). Again, this will be one of the most important parts of player
development, so include this into a lot of your trainings. You can adjust it by having
them play 1v1 to one goal (centered), 1v1 to two goals on each side of the field (small
goals in each corner of the grid), or 1v1 dribbling with control over the end line of the
4) Relay races with a move at the end. Keep line numbers low (max 4 per line)
(Four corners relay races, with and without the ball)
5) 1 v 1’s, flying changes (teams of 2 or 3)
6) 1 v 2’s or 3’s: Dribbling Gauntlet. Players must dribble by three defenders lined up in
zones. It is basically three 1v1 matches in a row where the defender cannot pressure the
ball until the attacking player enters their zone. Like crab soccer, but with the defenders
now standing and only one per zone. The three zones are 12 wide x 8 long, but can be
made smaller or bigger depending upon the player’s success/struggles.
7) 2 v 2’s (10 x 20 yard grid)
8) 4 v 4’s. This can be to goal or in a square where they are only trying to maintain
possession of the ball. To develop ball control put a restriction of 3 touches or more on
the players.
Passing: While we emphasize developing the individual player skills we want to start working on
combination play with teammates.
1) 2 v 1’s in 10 x 10 box. Working on give and go’s. How many can they get in 40
seconds? Rotate defender
2) 3 v 1’s within a square 5x5 to 7x7. Work on movement so that players show to both
sides of teammate with ball.
3) 4 v 2’s. 4 players possessing on the outside of a 10 x 10 box. The move along line trying
to get a certain number of passes. If they complete that number the defenders stay in for
another turn. Split defenders? Then go 2 v 2 with two line neutrals to small goals.
4) 3 v 2: 2 small goals + 1 bigger goal. 20 X 15 Grid. Build to 30 wide x 20 long.
5) Passing lines: make it a competition. Passing between two cones/flags 1 yard apart. If
they struggle, pull target farther apart. Restrictions include right or left foot only, 1 or 2
touch, 2 touch opposite foot. They can change lines or go to back of own line.
6) Possession. Work on keeping control of the ball in a confined space. Size of space is
determined by number of players at training. Restrictions: if you are working on
dribbling and moves make the restriction 3 touches or more. If you are working on
passing, make it a mandatory two touches. Always end with unlimited touch (no
restrictions). If they struggle, create neutral players (i.e.; 3 v 3 + 3 neutral) so that you
have numbers up on offense.
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Games: Big Box/Little Box, Knock out, Steal the Bacon, Tunnel Tag, Over the Top, Freeze
Freeze Tag, you have players dribbling with the ball in a square and the 2 players
tagging. The dribblers try to evade the tagging players. If they are tagged they have to freeze
with their ball on their head. They can be ‘thawed’ and active again if another dribbler passes the
ball between their legs. How many players can the taggers freeze in 30 seconds? Emphasis on
dribbling and accurate passing technique.
It is very important to spend some time developing this position with many of your players.
 Basic form when standing up: Hand position (form W w/ thumbs or Diamond with
thumbs/index fingers), body behind ball. Diving: landing on side, hands to ball first.
Balls in Air: catch the ball at the highest point, calling “KEEPER”.
 Basic warm up for training and games: Start with catch using proper catching/throwing
technique. Prep for diving by working on the form from 1st a sitting, then kneeling and
finally standing position. Have them move side-to-side working on catching the ball
cleanly while moving.
 Where to stand on corners, set defense on walls.
 Shooting lines (4 corners): shots should come from 12 + yards
 Flying Changes
 1 goal to two small (counter) goals
 Numbers up on offense
 5 v 2 in 15 x 15 yard box. 5 = certain # of passes then shot on goal. 2 = win ball then
immediate shot.
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Part III: Sample Drills and Exercises
Objective: Winning loose balls and dribbling
# of players: Any
Area/Field: 10x10 yards
Equipment: Supply of balls, cones/flags
Organization: 10x10 yard grid. Two lines of players (try to keep lines to 4 or less players) on
opposite sides of grid. One ball per round
Ball is placed centrally within grid. On a signal, players race to the ball and attempt to win,
dribble and stop the ball on the end line.
Coaching Points:
Players should attempt to be first to the ball
Players should consider whether they can be first to the ball and push it passed
opponent, be required to execute a block tackle or stop short and prepare to defend the
opponents dribble.
Players should transition quickly from defense to attack.
Players should create a firm surface to contact the ball. The center of the balance should
be low and the body’s weight should be balanced over the pant foot so the other foot can make
prolonged contact with the ball. The plant foot should be as close to the ball as possible.
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Have players begin from various “Starts:” 1) Sitting, 2) Laying prone face forward, 3)
Standing facing away.
Have a server, introduce a rolling or bouncing ball to the middle.
Introduce one or two goals to dribble through on each end line.
Have the players dribble back to their end line or to either side of the grid.
1v1’s to Two Goals
Objective: Developing change of direction and speed
# of Players: Any
Area/Field: 10x10 yards
Equipment: Supply of balls, cones/flags. One ball per pair of players. Eight cones per grid.
Organization: In a 10x10 yard grid, players will play 1v1, each to two goals. Players score by
dribbling through either of two goals.
Instruction: Players are to start at either end of grid. Play starts when attacking player begins to
dribble. Play ends when ball goes out of bounds, over end line or when a goal is scored.
Coaching Points:
Use both inside and outside of feet when changing direction.
Use Instep/laces when (open field) dribbling from gate to gate.
Encourage change speed and direction on the dribble.
Have defender pass the ball to attacker
Have both players (attacker & defender) start on the same end line.
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Objective: Winning shoulder charges, dribbling and shooting
# of Players: Any
Area/Field: Space in front of goal
Equipment: Supply of balls, goal
Organization: Players line up on either side of a goal. Position a server behind the goal with a
supply of balls and a GK in goal.
Instruction: The server plays a ball into the field from the endline. At the moment the ball is
served, the first two players from each line race to win the ball and score on goal.
Key Points:
Watch how the player who reaches the ball first tries to turn and face the defender. A
skilled player will turn and face the goal as soon as possible after getting the ball. Instruct the
defenders to make it difficult for the dribbler to turn and face the goal.
When running at the ball, players can use their upper bodies and shoulders to gain (and
keep via shielding) possession of the ball. The shoulder tackle is legal only if the player is going
straight for the ball. The arms cannot be extended.
To turn with a defender challenging from behind, a player can fake one direction with a
lunge or step over, then turn away in the opposite direction.
Play without GK’s
Pair players of even abilities at the front of each line.
Change starting positions of the players or server, as shown in b.
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Target Gates
Objective: Develop passing accuracy and conditioning
# of Players: Any
Area/Field: Size to fit
Equipment: One ball per player, cones/flags
Organization: Players each have a ball and two cones, spread evenly apart in playing area and
drop cones to crate gates one yard in width.
Instruction: Players dribble from gate to gate. Players pass the ball through the gate and receive
it by running around the same gate. Players should avoid collisions with other balls and players.
Coaching Points:
Players should use good passing technique.
Players should try to receive the ball while it is still moving, requiring the player to move
quickly around the gate.
Restrict passing to inside of foot only, outside of food only or instep/laces.
Competitive: How many gates can each player pass/receive through within a specified
amount of time?
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Circle Drill
Objective: Developing technique and vision
# of Players: 5 or more
Area/Field: 20x20 yards
Equipment: one ball, one cone
Organization: Five or more players form a circle with a diameter of about 20 yards around one
players and central cone. One ball starts at the feet of one of the peripheral players.
Instruction: The ball is to be passed back and forth from the middle of the circle and back to the
outside. Each player will follow their pass, either to the middle or to the outside.
Coaching Points:
Players should use good inside of foot technique when passing and receiving.
Players should use their “vision (eyes)” to see where they will be passing.
Players should direct their first touch (receiving touch) towards their intended pass and
away from oncoming traffic (player who just passed the ball).
Players should communicate their pass to the player they are passing to.
Move quickly after each pass.
Move towards each pass.
Limit the number of touches in between passes (3-, 2-, 1-touch).
Increase radius of circle.
Increase radius of circle and add another ball and central player, having two balls going at
the same time.
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Have the outside players, pick up the ball and throw the ball into the central player who
must trap the ball out of the air before passing outwards.
Challenge: Set a timed record for how long they can go without making a bad pass or
Sequential Passing
Objective: Anticipating passing angles and moving off the ball
# of Players: 6
Area/Field: Square grid: 10 to 12 yards on a side.
Equipment: One ball, cones
Organization: Square grid 10-12 yards on a side. 6 Players (5 offense, 1 defense) with one ball
inside grid. Each offensive players is given a number 1-5.
Instruction: Five players play keep-away from one defender while passing in sequential order:
123451 etc. Switch defenders after one or two minutes.
Coaching Points:
Each player should anticipate where to be to receive a pass when his/her turn comes up.
Anticipation of the proper position is necessary if a one-touch or two-touch restriction is
in effect.
When players are not involved in a pass, encourage them to stay wide in the grid (shuffle
not stand around the perimeter). This will create space for the others and allow a good
view of the playing area. When players sprint into their space, have them adjust by
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Have players play “to feet” when possible.
Receiving players should know where the next player is before the ball arrives.
Play with a passive defender until a flow is established.
Increase the size of the grid.
Once player #5 is reached, pass in reverse order.
Add a second defender.
Limit the number of touches to one or two for advanced players.
Target Gates: Passing Combinations
Objective: Developing passing combinations among players
# Of Players: Any
Area/Field: Size to Fit
Equipment: Supply of balls, cones
Organization: Each player collects two cones and spreads out evenly within playing area to
drop cones and create a gate that’s one yard in width. Split the number of players in half. Half of
the players (Dribblers/Passers) will each have a ball. The other half of the players (Bumpers) will
not have a ball.
Instruction: Dribbler/Passers dribble around playing area and work randomly with Bumpers to
execute passing combinations through the gates. Either the first pass or second pass should be
directed through the targeted gate.
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Coaching Points:
All players should be in motion.
Dribbler/Passers and Bumpers should communicate with one another.
Dribbler/Passers should move quickly into the space in which the next pass is to be
Bumpers should work hard to “show” square to the passer or facing the space in which
the ball is to be played.
Specify that the first pass must go through gate.
Specify that the second pass (return pass) must go through the gate.
Within a specified amount of time, how many combinations can each Dribbler/Passer
and each Bumper execute?
Before passing the Dribbler/Passer must execute a fake/feint.
Dutch Diamond
Objective: Develop Turns
# of Players: 6-8
Area/Field: Square Grid: 15 yards on a side
Equipment: One ball, cones
Organization: Square grid 15 yards on a side. 2 players at each corner of diamond.
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Instruction: Player A passes to Player B who shows for the ball. Player B receives the ball using
the inside or outside of left or right foot to turn across or around the cone, dribbles towards then
passes to Player C who proceeds to player D etc.
Coaching Points:
Concentrate on accurate passing.
Receiving player should always move/meet the ball, not wait for it to arrive.
Quickly execute the turn and dribble.
If skill level is high enough, the drill can be performed with two balls simultaneously.
Players A and C start at the same time.
Dutch Diamond 2
Objective: Develop Passing Combinations
# Of Players: 6-8
Area/Field: Square Grid: 15(+) yards on a side
Equipment: One ball, cones
Organization: Square grid 15 yards on a side. 2 players at each corner of diamond.
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Instruction: Player A passes to Player B who shows for the ball. Player A supports pass and
receives a short return pass from B. Player B then quickly moves around cone to receive return
pass from A. Player B proceeds by continuing to Player C, etc.
Coaching Points:
Concentrate on accurate passing.
Pass to proper foot.
Receiving player should always move/meet the ball, not wait for it to arrive
If skill level is high enough, the drill can be performed with two balls simultaneously.
Players A and C start at the same time.
Dutch Diamond 3
Objective: Develop Passing Combinations
# Of Players: 6-8
Area/Field: Square Grid: 15(+) yards on a side
Equipment: One ball, cones
Organization: Square grid 15 yards on a side. 2 players at each corner of diamond.
Instruction: Player A passes to Player B who shows for the ball. Player A supports pass and
receives a short return pass from B. Player B then quickly moves around cone to receive return
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pass from A. Player B proceeds by continuing to Player C. Player C plays ball into space for a
shot on goal from B.
Coaching Points:
Concentrate on accurate passing.
Pass to proper foot.
Receiving player should always move/meet the ball, not wait for it to arrive.
Variations: Have player B cross/serve the ball to Player D. (Players will rotate from
29 Copyright Walnut Creek Soccer Club® 2015
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