Soccer Positions


How to teach soccer positions and how to assign positions for both offense and defense are discussed in this article.

Over 350 pages of detailed descriptions of soccer positions, formations and styles of play for teams U8 to Adult are here and on SoccerHelp Premium. If you coach U6, visit the U6 portion of SoccerHelp.

Many coaches are uncertain of the best way to teach soccer positions. One of the first things to do is evaluate your players to determine their skill level, speed and aggressiveness (i.e., are they brave or timid?). That evaluation will help you decide which positions your players can be successful at and which positions they aren't well suited for. I think it is better for everyone to put a child in a position where he or she has a chance to be successful, instead of a position where he or she is doomed to failure. To read more about how to evaluate your players so you can do the best job of assigning soccer positions, click the links below to the articles "How to Evaluate Players and Assign Soccer Positions" and "How to Evaluate Soccer Players and Choose a Soccer Formation".

See soccer positions basics for more info about soccer positions and kick-offs.

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Related Topics: (Scroll Down For "How To Teach Soccer Positions")

Soccer Positions Basics & Soccer Kick-Offs

Diagrams of Soccer Positions & Soccer Formations

Youth Soccer Positions - How to Teach, Coach & Assign

How to Evaluate Players and Assign Soccer Positions

How to Evaluate Soccer Players and Choose a Soccer Formation

Soccer Formations Overview

Assigning Soccer Positions

How to Select a Soccer Formation and Assign Positions - Tips for selecting a formation and assigning positions.

(The following is for Recreational teams. All references are to Premium topics unless noted. On the Premium version of this document, each topic referenced is a link to that section of Premium).

Preface: Teaching soccer positions involves a lot more than randomly assigning each player a position. As beginning coaches soon learn, players cannot stand still when they are on the field; if they could, it would be easy. How to teach positions is one of the most difficult tasks a new coach faces. It is complicated by the fact that a team must both attack and defend, and that players are constantly moving. Teaching positions is even more difficult for Rec coaches who have players with varying skill, experience, athletic ability and motivation, and who only practice once or twice per week. The key to success is to use a teaching method that is simple, easy to teach and really works. That is what SoccerHelp Premium provides. Following are references to the sections of Premium that explain how to teach positions. Start first with the basics. They can be quickly and easily taught by beginning coaches. Then, you can move on to more advanced concepts. Most of these concepts can best be taught through demonstrations on the field during practice or before a game, at which time it is helpful to show your players where the "center" is, which line is the "Halfway Line", the "Penalty Box", and the "Center Circle" (see "Expanded List Of Most Important Things For A Rec Soccer Coach To Teach" for more terms).

  1. For Both Offense And Defense See: (The information referenced is found on SoccerHelp Premium. Click here to read about SoccerHelp Premium )
    1. "Coaching Rules", no. 12 and 19 (simple "rules" that will help your players stay in position to provide "support" and keep "shape" on both offense and defense)
    2. "23 Of The Best SoccerHelp Tips & Tactics", no. 2 and 3 (how to assess your players and determine the positions at which they can be successful individually and as team members)
    3. "Assigning Soccer Positions" (how to assess your players and determine the positions at which they can be successful individually and as team members)

  2. How To Teach Positions For Defense. Defense is easier to teach than offense. For Rec teams, playing positions, shifting with the ball and providing support are critical. One of the best and easiest things you can do is to teach your players some basic, simple rules to guide their decisions. You must keep it simple or your defenders will become confused and hesitant, with the result that they give up goals that could easily be avoided. Your Fullbacks don't have to be fast or skillful, but they must be tough, have a "Defender's Mentality" and you must use a system and style of play that fits them and gives them the best chance to be successful, instead of making them play a style which dooms them to failure. To do otherwise is unfair to the players and to your team. The references below explain how to choose and teach a style of play that fits your team and will give your players the best chance of being successful individually and as a team. They also give you basic, simple rules you can teach your players to guide their decisions.)
    1. The Most Important Things To Teach Are: (The information referenced is found on SoccerHelp Premium. Click here to read about SoccerHelp Premium )
      1. "Quick Team Improvement Program", no. 4 (a practice exercise that will teach your team to maintain positions and "shift & sag" as the ball moves around the field; how to keep "shape", "depth" and "support")
      2. "Quick Team Improvement Program" no. 3 (how to teach "First Defender/Second Defender")
      3. "Quick Team Improvement Program" no. 2 (how to teach Coaching Rule no. 3)
      4. "Quick Team Improvement Program" no. 7 (simplifying the role of Fullbacks and giving them simple rules to follow)
      5. "Quick Team Improvement Program" no. 8 (rules for Stoppers or Defensive Midfielders)
      6. "Zone Defense", no. 1 and 2 (rules for defenders)
      7. "41 Tips, Tactics & Strategies", no. 5 (positioning of your MF's and Forwards when your goal is under attack)

    2. Other Things You Can Teach:
      1. "Assigning Soccer Positions", section e, no. 1, 3 and 6 and h, no. 3
      2. "Formations", a, b, and f
      3. Coaching Rules 3, 5, 6, 12 and 19
      4. "Quick Team Improvement Program", no. 6 (how to teach clearing the ball)
      5. "23 Of The Best SoccerHelp Tips & tactics", no. 11

  3. How To Teach Positions For Offense: (The information referenced is found on SoccerHelp Premium. Click here to read about SoccerHelp Premium ). Offense is more difficult to teach because it involves creativity. Following are things you can do to teach "support" on your attack and to improve your attack. These tips and teaching techniques have resulted in teams going from scoring very few goals to scoring a lot of goals (see "Testimonials"). They should add 2 or 3 goals per game to your score.
    1. "Attacking Plan", no. 3, 4, 5, 8 and 9
    2. "Scoring More Goals", Attacking Tips, no. 7, 11, 13 and 20
    3. "Formations", a, c, d and e
    4. "Coaching Rules", no. 12, 16 and 19
    5. "Quick Team Improvement Program", no. 5 (First Attacker/Second Attacker/Third Attacker)
    6. "23 Of The Best SoccerHelp Tips & Tactics", no. 20 (how to teach 2 simple types of "Movement Off The Ball" that will "create space" and greatly improve your attack)
    7. "41 Tips, Tactics & Strategies", no. 23 and 25
    8. "23 Of The Best SoccerHelp Tips & Tactics", no. 19 and "Attacking Plan" no. 6 (How to teach your players to "Pass To Space". This can greatly help your attack by making it more creative, effective and hard to defend.)

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