Most Important Things For A Rec Soccer Coach To Teach and For New Coaches To Read


(The information below is for coaches of players age 7 and older. If you coach U-4 or U-6, see Soccer Coaching Tips and Basic Information for New Soccer Coaches and How to Coach Ages 5&6 and 7&8 and Soccer Coaching, Ages 2, 3, 4, 5 .)

Free Soccer Patches

We have added the links below as an example of the extra features that make SoccerHelp Premium easy to use. Premium has over 1,500 pages (compared to 150 pages on this Basic version), 5,000 internal links and over 70 exclusive SoccerHelp Practice Games that quickly teach soccer skills. Remember, there is a 10-day "no questions asked" money back guarantee. There is no risk to trying it. Over 15,000 coaches have become Premium members. Click here for Premium Pricing and Subscription Options ... See the List of 70 Premium Soccer Practice Games ... View a Copy of the Premium Home Page

Motivating Your Players is Critical. Motivation determines whether a player tries hard, comes to practice and has a good attitude, or does the minimum and has a bad attitude. Our motivational soccer patches are inexpensive and really motivate players. You can read over 450 Testimonials. Click here to See the Soccer Patches. Read a 4-Step Plan for Successfully Motivating Players.

The answer to "what are the most important things to teach" depends on how you define "important":

  1. If you are a beginning coach or coach age 5-8 see Soccer Coaching Tips and Basic Information for New Soccer Coaches and How to Coach Ages 5&6 and 7&8. If you are an experienced coach of U-8 or older and your team plays positions and uses a formation, the most important things for you to read might be this article and: Positions Basics & Kick-Offs, Assigning Soccer Positions, Formations, and Coaching Rules (especially Coaching Rule No. 3). If you coach U-4 or U-6, you should read Soccer Coaching, Ages 2, 3, 4, 5. See Soccer Practice Plans. Coaches of all ages should start with 18 Soccer Practice Tips, Things You Need For A Good Practice and Soccer Practice Plans
  2. If you coach ages 3 to 8, click this link: How To Coach U-4, U-6 and U-8
  3. If your team is losing all of its games, it may be important to you to try some things that can quickly cause a big improvement. There is nothing wrong with wanting to win, as long as you don't sacrifice good sportsmanship or fun to do so. My experience is that by U-8 most players and parents prefer winning to losing. First, read Stopper Importance, this tip can be worth 3 goals per game. If you want to try some ideas that can result in a quick improvement, try "Quick Team Improvement Program", "22 Coaching Rules" and "23 Of The Best SoccerHelp Tips & Tactics" at SoccerHelp Premium. Also, consider whether the "Formation" and "Style of Play" you use suits your team. See "Formations" on Premium, "Quick Team Improvement Program" section no. 9, "How To Teach Soccer Positions" and "How To Teach Soccer Formations".
  4. If you define "important" as teaching your players the basic skills and concepts that they need to become good players, then we recommend teaching at a minimum:
    1. Dribbling, Turns, Shielding the Ball and "Strength on the Ball"I believe being able to dribble and shield the ball in traffic is the most important soccer skill. Your players will have a lot more confidence and will play with more enthusiasm if they know they can dribble and protect the ball (phrased differently, a player can't be confident with the ball unless he or she can dribble in traffic and protect the ball when under pressure). The "Dribble Across A Square Game" is the best way to teach control dribbling, speed dribbling, turns, instinctive dribbling while looking up, and recognition and acceleration into Open Space. I strongly recommend you play it 4 times as a warm-up to start every practice. Play it twice with the square about 10 steps wide (to teach Control Dribbling in traffic) and then twice more with the square 15-17 steps wide (to teach acceleration into Open Space and Speed Dribbling). The "Shoulder Tackle & Strength On The Ball Game" and "Attack & Defend Ball Tag" are a great way to teach shielding and strength on the ball. There are many other good Premium Practice Games that teach dribbling, such as "Dribble Around A Cone & Pass Relay Race", and the "2 Team Keep Away" game is a great way to practice controlling the ball in a crowd and while under pressure and also involves a lot of "transitions" from offense to defense and from defense to offense. See "How To Teach Soccer Dribbling" for more on this subject and for the advantages of the "Dribble Across A Square Game". If you don't subscribe to Premium, try the version of the "Dribble Across A Square Game" on SoccerHelp Basic. There are also many good dribbling games on Premium for U-6 players and the "Driving School" game on Basic and Premium is a good, fun way to teach dribbling and turning to U-6 and U-8 players. See "How To Teach Soccer Dribbling" for more ideas and games that teach dribbling.
    2. Read a review of SoccerHelp Foot Skills and Soccer Moves Training Program (Motor Memory Training and Aerobic Workout) DVD

      Click here to read a review of the "Super Soccer Skills" video

    3. Hustling, Aggressive Play and "Winning The Ball". Soccer is a physical game. It is greatly beneficial to teach your players at an early age (starting by U-10) that they must hustle and fight to "win the ball". If your team doesn't hustle and play aggressively, you will almost always lose to a team that is significantly more aggressive. When we refer to aggressive play, we mean hustling, not being afraid of making contact and "winning" the "50/50 balls", which are the loose balls that either team has an equal chance of winning (it's difficult to win these if you are afraid of contact). The most aggressive team will usually "win" most of the 50/50 balls and will usually win the game. It is critical that your defenders be tough and not afraid of contact. If a player is afraid of contact, you will give up many goals if you play him or her at Fullback or Sweeper. Any player who is afraid of contact is at a disadvantage. Ideally, you want to teach your players to not only be brave and unafraid of contact, but also to hustle and be aggressive about going to the ball and to win loose balls. Now, we aren't talking about encouraging dirty, dangerous or unfair play, we're only talking about encouraging players to hustle, be brave and do their best. This is often not easy to teach. Some kids are naturally timid (I was) and most young children have been taught that rough or aggressive play is bad because someone might get hurt. A great way to encourage hustling and practice attendance is by using SoccerHelp's iron-on patches as rewards for those who hustle or attend practice. Coach Gayla of Missouri USA said: "I can't say enough about the tried and true results of using these patches! This very same team that lost ALL 8 games in the fall, won 7 out of 8 games this spring!!! The kids wanted those patches!!!" Click here to read about our iron-on soccer incentive patches. See "How To Teach Aggressive Play" for more on this subject and for Premium Practice Games that teach hustling, tackling and aggressive play. Also see "Marking, Jockeying, Shepherding & Defensive Footwork" on Premium.
    4. Proper Technique for Passing and Receiving with the Inside-of-the-Foot. 75% of all passes and receptions at all levels of play are with the inside of the foot, yet over 50% of all Rec players use incorrect technique. If a player has used incorrect technique for several years, it is difficult to correct. So, it is very important to start teaching the proper technique by age 7 or 8. See "Skills" for how to teach Inside-of-Foot passing & receiving. I strongly recommend you teach "Passing to Space" and "Aggressive Receiving" -- Passing to Space is easier for beginning players and will result in much better ball movement, better ball possession, use of Open Space and "field vision". Aggressive Receiving is a better way to teach receiving and will result in a big improvement in your players and their ability to retain the ball. The Premium Practice Game "Dribble Around A Cone & Pass Relay Race" teaches Aggressive Receiving and how to teach Passing to Space is explained in Premium "23 of the Best SoccerHelp Tips & Tactics". When you teach passing, do NOT teach passing and receiving by having your players stand still and pass to each other's feet - real games aren't that way. Instead, use the Dribble Around A Cone & Pass Relay Race where the passing and receiving is under pressure, at game speed, and passes are made while running - that teaches players to be able to play fast, while under pressure. Another important thing the Dribble Around A Cone & Pass Relay Race game can teach is "One-Touch Play". I think "one-touch play" should be taught as soon as possible because it is a way of thinking about how to receive a pass and it is a much superior way to play as opposed to stopping the ball at feet. It helps teach the use of Open Space and allows players to play faster. "One-Touch Play" allows a much more creative and faster attack because opponents have less time to react. At high levels of play, fast play is required. Why would you want to teach your players an inferior way to receive a pass and then later try to get them to change? It is easier to teach them the best way to play the first time. To teach the concept of "one-touch play", I don't mean to start with one-touch passing or one-touch shots. An easy way to teach the concept of one-touch play to teach kids that when they receive a pass they can move faster by one-touching the ball into open space either away from a defender or in the direction they are moving so they can accelerate faster. The best way to teach this is by playing the Dribble Around Cone & Pass Relay Race Practice Game - the game instructions explain how it is a very effective way to teach the concept of "one-touch" because the receivers who one-touch the pass they receive into Open Space in front of them and run onto the ball will probably win (because they are able to play faster) and those who stop the ball at their feet will probably lose, so the Game makes it obvious to the players why one-touch play is better and players will want to learn how to one-touch the ball so they can have a chance to win the game. It is a self-teaching game that works well with a "Guided Discovery" method of coaching (how to use a Guided Discovery approach is also explained in the instructions for the Dribble Around Cone & Pass Relay Race Practice Game).

      NOTE: Coach Doug now thinks it is better NOT to teach passing to U4 and U6 players, because it confuses them and can diminish their dribbling skills and aggressiveness with the ball. He recommends focusing on dribbling and recommends you DON'T teach them that it's wrong to dribble and score, and DON'T teach them that it's better to pass the ball than it is to dribble. He recommends teaching passing at U8. For more about this, see the article titled How and When to Teach Passing.

    5. Click here to read a review of the "Soccer Success One On One Coaching DVD"

      Click here to read a review of the "Just Kickin' It" video

    6. Basic Terminology So You Can Communicate With Your Players And They Can Communicate With Each Other. "Far Post". "Near Post", "Center of the Field", "Middle of the Field", "Cross the Ball", "Center the Ball", "Ballside", "Goalside", "Mark", and "Win The Ball" are among the terms that are important to teach. A more extensive list is at SoccerHelp Premium at "Expanded List Of The Most Important Things For A Rec Soccer Coach To Teach".
    7. Proper technique for an "Advanced Throw-In" and how to defend Throw-Ins so your opponent can't use them to create scoring opportunities. Throw-ins are important because both you and your opponent will get 15-25 of them in a typical game. Good throw-ins can create scoring opportunities for your team, but incorrect form will result in the assistant referee giving the ball to the other team. If you don't defend Throw-ins properly, they can result in scoring opportunities for your opponent. How to teach an Advanced throw-in is described at "Skills" and how to teach defense of Throw-ins is described in SoccerHelp Premium at "Quick Team Improvement Program" section 2. (To teach throw-ins, play the "Throw-Ins Teaching Game" on Premium)
    8. The concepts of "Positions", "Support" and "Shift & Sag" teach teamwork and, when combined with a "Formation" and "Style Of Play", they provide the organization for your team's play. Starting at U-8, you should teach your players the concepts of "Positions" (i.e., that there are "Forwards", "Midfielders", "Fullbacks" and a "Goalie"), "Support" (i.e., "First Defender/Second Defender" and "First Attacker/Second Attacker/Third Attacker") and to "Shift & Sag". These concepts are easily taught and, in essence, teach teamwork. They can make a huge difference in your team's play. How to teach "Positions" is explained in SoccerHelp Premium at "How To Teach Soccer Positions". How to teach "First Defender/Second Defender" is explained at "Quick Team Improvement Program" section no. 3, at "10 Defense Tips & Tactics" section no. 7 and at "Support" in the Dictionary. How to teach "First Attacker/Second Attacker/Third Attacker" is explained at "First Attacker" in the Dictionary, and In Premium at "Scoring More Goals" and "Attacking Plan". How to teach "Shift & Sag" is explained in Premium at "Quick Team Improvement Program" section no. 4 and at "Shift & Sag" in the Dictionary. On Premium, also see "How To Teach Soccer Formations", "Formations" and see "Styles of Play" in the Dictionary.
    9. A Lofted Kick. This is important so your players can clear the ball when on defense and so they can send lofted passes or take lofted shots when on offense. How to teach this is found at "Skills" and the "Chips / Lofted Passes" Practice Game in SoccerHelp Premium. It is important to practice this and to try to teach it to your players starting at U-8.
    10. Click here to read a review of the "Soccer Success One On One Coaching DVD"

      Click here to read a review of the "Just Kickin' It" video

    11. Teach the concept of "Passing To Space" and the concept of "Movement Off The Ball" as a way to "Create Space". "Passing To Space" will greatly improve the speed and flow of your attack. It will also teach your players to think about the use of space and it will teach receivers that they must go to the ball and not wait for the ball to come to them. It is a superior style of play to only "Passing To Feet". How to teach "Passing To Space" and the 2 basic types of Movement Off The Ball that all coaches can easily teach players U-10 and older are described in SoccerHelp Premium in "23 Of The Best SoccerHelp Tips & Tactics" (see no. 19 & 20). I strongly recommend you teach "Passing to Space" and "Aggressive Receiving" -- Passing to Space is easier for beginning players and will result in much better ball movement, better ball possession, use of Open Space and "field vision". Aggressive Receiving is a better way to teach receiving and will result in a big improvement in your players and their ability to retain the ball. How to teach "Passing to Space" and "Aggressive Receiving" are explained in SoccerHelp Premium.
    12. Teach "Coaching Rule No. 3", Which Explains How To Defend The Opponent's Throw-Ins, Goal Kicks, Punts and Free Kicks. This is very important because there are so many throw-ins, goal kicks, punts and free kicks, and each one is an opportunity for your team to win the ball, or at the least your team should not give the opponent an easy goal-scoring opportunity. See "Coaching Rules" and "Quick team Improvement Program" No. 2 in Premium for how to teach this. Coaching Rule No. 3 Allows Team to Dominate Opponents
    13. 1 vs. 1 Attacking and Defending Many Premium Practice Games teach dribbling, shielding, ball control under pressure, defending and aggressive play. The best game for teaching 1 vs. 1 Attacking and Defending is the "Win the 50/50 Ball or be the First Defender 1v1 Attacking and Defending" Practice Game.

  5. If you define "important" as teaching good sportsmanship and fair play, we agree 100%, but you don't need our help to teach those things and your players will learn a lot by watching their Coach and Assistant Coaches.
  6. VERY IMPORTANT - READ THIS ABOUT WHY IT IS IMPORTANT TO KEEP SCORE and GIVE TIPS DURING PRACTICE

    There are 2 reasons why you should try to keep score in every Practice Game and to play SOccerHelp Practice Games that involve keeping score as much as possible:

    1. Keeping score creates pressure for players to do an activity faster and better, so players learn how to perform an activity under pressure and at "Game-Speed", which is "Game-Realistic". Drills that don't involve keeping score are NOT Game-Realistic because there isn't pressure, they aren't at Game-Speed, and players aren't trying their hardest. Drills that don't involve pressure and that allow players to practice at less than their fastest speed are actually counterproductive, because they are training players to play slower than Game-Speed and without pressure. In most cases, which player will perform better in a real soccer match - the player who has trained without pressure and at a speed that is less that "Game-Speed", or the player who has trained under pressure and at "Game-Speed"? The answer is obvious. If your players practice at top speed, they are learning to "play fast" - if they practice slow, they are learning to play slow. Drills that don't involve competition and pressure aren't preparing your players for competition and pressure.
    2. Keeping score is a sort of diagnostic test that can show the coach where attention is needed. So, keeping score is critical for both the coach and for the players. Keeping score alows you to see if players are improving and which players need your help.

    A good way to coach soccer skills (teach soccer skills) is by giving "tips". A good way to give tips is by noticing what caused a player to have a low score. Another good way to give tips is by pointing out why the player with the highest score had the highest score. For example: In the Dribble Across a Square Practice Game, most players get a bad score in the Control Dribbling version of the game because they either don't keep the ball near their feet when in traffic, or because they kick the ball too far in front, lose control and can't make a turn. The players who win the game are those who do those who keep the ball near their feet when in traffic, who look up while dribbling and make their turns.

    Here are instructions about how to keep score and how to give tips in the Dribble Across a Square Practice Game:

    Each player should keep count of his or her trips across the square. A player gets one point each time he or she turns. Have the first player to reach the target score (e.g., 12 or 10) yell "Done" and raise their hand. As soon as a player yells "Done", blow your whistle and have all the other players stop as soon as they get back to the closest side of the square. Then, ask each player his or her score so you can monitor each player's progress and give tips for improvement. What I would do is start with one player and ask: "John, what was your score?" and then quickly ask each of the others. It is also an opportunity to praise anyone who has improved or to give tips such as "It is very important to keep control of the ball on your turns. If you lose the ball it will cost you several points". This only takes 2 or 3 minutes. The game is self-teaching, but it is helpful for the coach to be encouraging and to point out at the end of each Game how players can improve their performance by giving "tips" on how they can improve their score. A simple way to do this is to point out what the player did who won the Game. For example, in the smaller square, the winner will be the player who keeps the ball near his feet, "Shields" the ball from traffic, and makes the turns without losing the ball -- the winner will keep control of the ball. In the larger square, the winner must still keep control of the ball, BUT the winner will also look for Open Space and kick the ball into it so he can Speed Dribble, and he will still make the turns, so he can't kick it too hard. This is very much like a real game, where if you don't keep control you will lose the ball. This approach works because the players want to improve their score and if they use your "tips" they will see immediate results and get higher scores.

    Here are instructions about how to keep score and how to give tips in the Dribble Around Cone & Pass Relay Race Practice Game:

    How to Get Your Players to Listen to You (Tips for This Game):

    This is easier than you think: Let's say you're playing "Dribble Around Cone & Pass Relay Race". Play it once and ask "Who wants to win this game?" Tell them you will give them a tip that will help them win. Here's an example of a tip: Tell them that the player who starts with the ball can kick the ball in front and run to it as a way to go faster. Tell them they will just have to be sure to not kick it too hard. (Demonstrate or have a player demonstrate). Another tip: Pass the ball as soon as you can after you have rounded the cone. Another tip: The Receiver must stay on his toes and watch for whether the pass is going to his left or right and start to immediately move that way - the Receiver's most important job is to STOP the pass, because if one pass gets by him his team will lose the game (this will start to teach Receiver's that they can't just stand still and wait for the ball to come to their feet - the Receiver MUST stop the pass, just as they must in a real game). Another tip: The Receiver can start moving toward the ball as soon as it is passed (that's the rule in this game and probably would also be how you want the receiver to play in a real game), but the Receiver can't just rush at the ball... it's not that simple... he must be sure the ball is coming at him, because if it's a bad pass he may have to move sideways to stop it. Another tip: The Receiver can block the ball in front of him and run to it as a way to speed up (again, this is good training for a real game). Another one: The pass MUST be accurate... one bad pass can lose the game... the pass needs to not be too hard, but it can't be too easy either... they will learn the proper "weight" by playing this game. These are some of the things this game teaches, and your players will learn by playing the game. If you use this approach, it changes your role from a nagging coach to a guy who is giving his players tips so the can improve. The reason it works is that when they are playing our games they will see IMMEDIATE results... so they are getting immediate positive feedback and seeing that your "tips" really work. They will see that the players who follow the coaches' tips win more games than those who don't... those who listen will win, and those who don't listen will lose.


Recommendations from U-12 Coach
Best Practice Games and Tactics
He went from losing most games to
winning a multi-city tournament
DVDs I Recommend

Hi David,

I hope this letter might be beneficial to other coaches. It describes my U-12 team and the Practice Games and tactics I found most beneficial. We went from losing most of our games to winning the end-of-season Multi-City Tournament, giving up no goals. It was a huge turnaround.

I coached two teams. One was 3rd and 4th grade girls and the other was 5th and 6th grade girls. The younger team did well, although getting these girls to be aggressive was difficult and in hindsight I should have played more games that helped them to be aggressive.

My older team is the one I will talk about in this email because it is the one that experienced the most dramatic improvement.

We started the season with a very unique set of girls. Only a few had meaningful experience. Others had some experience but no real ability to play the game. Some of our players were larger players who found it difficult to even run. It was a very difficult group and we started the season losing most of our games. We ended the season by winning the multi-city tournament, as a lower seed, without a single goal scored against us the entire tournament while scoring 3-4 goals per game! It was a huge turnaround.

Here are the things we did that I feel made the biggest impact:

Before practice waiting for everyone to arrive - I would sit on the ground in front of a backstop, the girls would line up 30 feet out and, one at a time, I would roll a ball to them and they would just try to get a solid foot on it with their laces.

Dribble across a square Practice Game - When it was time to start practice, this is the first thing we did. I said it was part of warming up so the girls didn't complain having to play it every single practice. Sometimes I would require them to do a pull back on each side, or to do a hook turn in the middle, things like that, so they could learn how to stop and turn the ball in various ways.

Tap on tops, tick tocks, steparounds Practice Games - This was also considered part of "warming up" and we did it every practice. It does not take very long to run through dribble across a square and these three games a couple of times as part of warming up.

Push and blast off Practice Game - We added this to warm-ups late in the season. This helped them to understand how to get around a defender and to be quick by pushing off hard.

Shoulder tackle and strength on the ball Practice Game - We did this first thing after warm-ups for the first half of the season until I was satisfied the girls weren't going to be afraid of contact. I do recall doing this a few times late in the season just to remind them of the importance of this.

Each of the above things were considered part of warming up. I think the girls accepted the fact we played most of these games every practice because they were part of "warming up."

The following is a list of the games I found to be the most useful in developing skill and having fun:

Win the 50/50 ball practice game - The girls loved this game. This was one of their two favorites and I found this game brought out their competitive side more than any other. Nobody wanted to lose 1 on 1 against another, so they were driven to be successful. We found the way points were scored and the need to actually control the ball to be critical to this game's success. Before I required the girls to control the ball to get a point and so forth, there was a lot of running hard at the ball and kicking as hard as possible. While this teaches aggressive play, it wasn't exactly what I was looking for. So getting control of the ball and getting across the opposing line with control were important. The girls begged to play this game more than I let them (after all, we had to practice other things). Also, it was surprising to see some girls who I mistakenly thought weren't aggressive being some of the best at this game. I think this game would be a good one to play in the first practice or two to evaluate who should play in what positions on the field (although some girls may start out not being very aggressive and end the season as some of the most aggressive, so adjustments might need to be made to positions depending on how this plays out).

Dribble around a cone and pass relay - This was the girls' second favorite game. They loved this one almost as much as the 50/50 game. We mixed this up a bit. We would play this once with right foot only, then with left foot only. Then we would play with right foot once, left foot once, right foot once, etc. We would play this game maybe four or five consecutive times during practice. After each time, I would give them a hint or two on how to win. For example, I would tell them to make their last touch after the cone a good one so that the ball was headed the other way and out in front of them so they could make a good, long pass to their teammate. I would show them how hooking the ball would get it turned the other way more quickly. I found it better to have teams of two or three rather than teams of four or five. I ran the girls as much as I could on this one.

Pass to space, run with ball and shoot game - The girls enjoyed this game and it was a good game to teach passing to space. I tried hard to emphasize passing to space rather than to feet. The girls weren't good enough at passing and trapping to pass to feet. But they were aggressive and could push the other team off the ball (because they had learned this playing the shoulder tackle game every single practice as a warm-up). But also I felt this taught them to just take a shot quick after getting a pass into space from a teammate. I wanted to reduce the amount of time before taking a shot because the defense tended to close in quick if shots weren't quick.

Passing race Practice Game - The girls were paired, so each pair was a team. The girls would start 15 feet part at a starting line and the finish line would be 40 feet away, and they would need to run and pass back and forth to the finish line, then turn around and come back. No dribbling, just passing ahead of the receiver so the receiver had to run onto the ball and one-time pass it back. The girls enjoyed this game. We rotated pairs quite a bit. It was a struggle at first because the girls weren't very skilled at passing but they caught on quickly.

We played various other games throughout the season and the girls enjoyed them, but the games above I thought were the most effective and most enjoyed. I also recall playing a game where we'd have 3 attackers on 2 defenders with no goalie. I would have the center attacker start off by passing to a right or left attacker and they would head down the field a bit and then play would continue until the defense had either cleared the ball or the attackers had scored.

One of the things that greatly helped out before the tournament started was to put our offense up against our defense. By that time I had dialed in exactly where each player would start. We started the season with a 3-1-4-2, then towards the middle of the season switched to a 3-2-3-2, and finally by the last regular season game and then for the tournament we switched to a 3-2-2-3. I will say that for me a 3-2-2-3 was the easiest to teach and most successful formation, and the formation that left the least number of girls out of the action as possible since the midfielder and stopper that were on the opposite side of the field from the ball actually shifted to the center of the field.

With a 3-2-2-3 it was easy to put our offense (3 forwards, 2 midfielders) against our defense (3 fullbacks, 2 stoppers). I played goalie so I could closely watch defensive rotations and so I could blow the whistle when a defender was found out of position, to show how the stoppers should position themselves (stopper away from the ball at the center top of the penalty box, stopper on ball as first defender). And I could quickly throw a ball out to have the offense start again.

I think the girls need to actually experience proper positioning to know what it means. For example, the center fullback does not quite know what it feels like to be off the near post during a game without actually being shown what it is like to be there in a practice game with a coach blowing the whistle and showing them exactly where to be (and them seeing where the ball and other teammates are relative to where they should be). Same goes for the offside fullback (who I had position themselves at the top of the goalie box, centered on goal). Once they got it though, they got it.

We played this for an entire practice on an actual game field a few days before the tournament and I think it helped. We had 0 goals scored against us in the tournament. I recall several instances during the tournament where balls would get through and the offside fullback would boot it out right before the other team's forward would get to it. That's not possible without being positioned correctly no matter how good of a defensive player you are. Then it was easy for the offside stopper (at the top of the penalty box) to complete the clear out and that was it for the other team's attack.

One of the things I emphasized greatly was the stopper and midfielder on the opposite side of the field from the ball shifting to the center of the field. I *always* wanted a midfielder or stopper right in the center of the field (center meaning an imaginary line drawn between centers of goals) because the ball very often squirted out from the side towards the center. They were right there to swipe it up and push it forward.

I am utterly convinced shifting and sagging and proper positioning are critical to winning a game. I would say that a team that is effective at shifting and sagging, and a defense that properly positions itself depending on where the ball is and so forth, has an even greater advantage than a team that has faster and stronger players in the rec league. I'm not sure that my team ever had the faster and stronger players. But we won the tournament and I really believe it was because the players became disciplined at positioning themselves properly on the field to win 50/50 balls. My players were also more aggressive and we had a few newer players become pretty skilled by the end that it was enough for us to score goals. It also helped that our best, fastest player played center forward and could really make things happen at that position. But this was only possible because the midfielders and stoppers shifted and sagged so well.

My midfielders were not allowed to go into penalty boxes. This helped us clear the ball from the defensive end. It also helped us to stay on the attack on the offensive end.

Anyway, I'm sure this is a lot more info than you were looking for but I would suggest the following:

  1. Those games I listed above, from my perspective, were the best.
  2. I would like to see some organization to the site so that it is easier to learn, step by step, how to teach a Rec team. A lot of the things I did as a coach I had to learn through asking questions on the message board.
  3. Some things are more important to teach than other things. It would be nice if some of the material on the site were organized in this way. For example, your " Most Important Things to Teach" article has a lot of good information on it, but it can't all be taught in a single practice or even throughout the course of a season. So prioritizing those based on importance (e.g. "Absolutely teach the following three things before your first game:") would be great. (Note from David: I'm revising the article to do that).

Anyway, I love the site and, quite frankly, it would have not been possible for us to win the tournament without your help and the help presented on SoccerHelp Premium. Thank you again!!

Corey, Premium Member

On the Premium version of this document, all the terms and referenced sections are links. There are over 80 links in the Premium version of this document.

Subscriptions to SoccerHelp Premium support the continued improvement of SoccerHelp. Premium is "The Next Step" and contains over 800 pages of additional material that is not on SoccerHelp Basic. Click here to view a copy of the Premium Home Page

CLICK HERE FOR PREMIUM PRICING & SUBSCRIPTION OPTIONS

CLICK HERE TO READ COACHES COMMENTS ABOUT RESULTS ACHIEVED USING SOCCERHELP PREMIUM


soccer positions - assigning and coaching soccer positions Click here for youth soccer drills click here for youth soccer drills

SoccerHelp.com Logo

From www.soccerhelp.com
Copyright 1999-2014, David and Kay Huddleston

+David Huddleston

Legal Notice - Allowed Uses and Copyright Protection. We allow anyone to link to this article or to www.SoccerHelp.com. You may also copy on paper for handouts up to 10 pages from SoccerHelp.com PROVIDED: you include "Source: SoccerHelp.com" at the top or bottom of the article. To copy our work without crediting us is stealing and we WILL protect our copyrights and Trademarks. We would rather be nice than mean, so please follow the guidelines in this paragraph. It is illegal to post any information from SoccerHelp on the internet without written permission from David or Kay Huddleston. If you want to share our information, simply post a link to that page of SoccerHelp. We will allow short quotes of up to 50 words to be posted PROVIDED you do not remove any references to SoccerHelp.com, do NOT disable links, do not copy any images, and provided you add a READABLE FUNCTIONING LINK on the TOP of the same page that goes to www.SoccerHelp.com and says "Copyright www.SoccerHelp.com, used with permission". The link MUST work for both visitors AND search engines and must be at least a size 12 font. We have to enforce this due to blatant theft and to protect our copyrights. We hire a service to look for copyright violations and report violations to the search engines. Taking our original material and making minor changes is still copyright violation and we WILL enforce our copyrights. Thanks for your cooperation.

SoccerHelp Home Page
Soccer Drills
Soccer Patches
Soccer Dictionary
SoccerHelp Premium