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This page outlines the training priorities by player age group.

 

U9/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.
   
   
U9/U10 GOALKEEPER
   
TECHNIQUE:

Set position

General handling / Basic shot stopping / Catching

Ground balls

Bouncing balls

Mid-range balls

Head Height balls

Distribution

Throws

Roll

All kicks

Goal kicks

   
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

   
MENTAL:

Have fun

Encourage effort/determination

Drill home basics for muscle memory

Watch older goalkeepers in games
   
   
U11/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

   
   
U11/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
   
   
U13/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.

   
   
U13/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

   
   
U15/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 

   
   
U15/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

Dealing with competition

Physical confrontations

Dealing with pressure – internal/external

Dealing with both success and failure

   
   
U17/U18/U19 DEVELOPMENT 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;

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 

   
   
U17/U18/U19 GOALKEEPER
   
TECHNIQUE:

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