New Way to Stop Soccer Players from Bunching Up
Great Idea from Coach Ken in MS
"Bunching Penalty" Idea
Let Me Know if this Works
"Don't bunch me"

Bunching Up - How to Teach Not To

I am often asked "How can I stop soccer players from Bunching Up?" The Idea below may solve the problem and it is easy to try. There are more good ideas on Premium and a Practice Game named the Bunching Up Game that teaches players not to Bunch Up and to Spread Out to Attack so they Create Width and Space, and starts to teach Movement Off the Ball and Team Attacking.

Below is a simple idea that I like. I like it because it is simple, effective and easy to remember.

This idea was submitted by Coach Ken in MS who is a great coach and a great guy and is always helping the kids in his area. Ken would like some feedback, so if you try this, please let me know and I will pass it on to Ken.

"Something I want to communicate is a simple way to combat bunching in young players (U8 and U10). I call it the "bunching penalty." I show the kids what 5 big steps looks like (or whatever you chose) . Then I tell them if they are on attack get any closer than 5 steps to the player with the ball they are hurting and not helping their team, and I will call the Bunching Penalty. Then the other team gets the ball. Generally, I only have to call it once and things magically improve. It has completely eliminated constantly yelling "don't bunch up" and "spread out." Since I try not to do a lot of yelling my players, the bunching penalty has really made things better. I would be interested to know what you and others experience if they try the bunching penalty.

The bunching penalty seems give my girls a different mindset. I even heard one girl telling a teammate, "Don't bunch me" My whole notion with the penalty approach was to change the thinking of the players so they were thinking on their own as opposed to responding to a coach's yelling. So far, it seems to have had a noticeable beneficial effect. Certainly, the need to yell about bunching has just about been eliminated. I hope it turns out to be useful to other "Dad" (and Granddad) coaches."

Thank Ken for sharing this great idea!!!

David at SoccerHelp