How To Get Soccer Players to Positions Themselves and Pass

SoccerHelp,

I need help. I am coaching a boys 7 x 7 rec team and we are currently 0 and 4. There are only six games remaining and I would really like to turn it around. There has been some progress for the scores are 12 - 1, 5 - 1, 6 - 3 and 3 - 1. With a ten member team I have yet to have all of the boys at a practice or a game. We are having the most difficult time with our offense for what I see, two reasons. First of all with the recommended 2, 2, 2, 1 positions my midfielders run out of gas about eight minutes into the 12 minute quarter. Secondly, I can't seem to stop them from bunching.

How do I get the boys to position themselves and pass? Would a 3,3,1 formation be more effective? Is there something else I can do?

Thank you,

Mike

Mike,

First, you're going to have a hard time getting the boys to pass-- if you try to win by passing to feet you will always lose. You have to try a different approach. A better approach is to teach them to kick the ball to "space" and to "win the ball".

The patches are good motivators. Use them to encourage and reward tough play. If your team wins the 50/50 balls, you have a good chance of winning -- if they don't you will lose. Buy some red patches and call them "Blood Patches" and give them out for tough, brave play. They work.

Try a 2-1-2-1 -- 2 FB's who "Defend Deep" (read Defending Deep Basics), put your best athlete at "Stopper" (read the letter at "Stopper Importance" on Premium for how much difference this can make), 2 Offensive Midfielders who can come into the attack and your best, most aggressive, toughest scorer at Forward. If you have a weak player, put him at one of the MF spots. You can put a slow player at FB, but not a player afraid of contact.

Tell your FB's to just clear the ball by kicking it hard straight ahead.

Play the "Chips/Lofted Passes" game to teach how to "clear" the ball and a Lofted Pass (a long aerial kick).

Make your FB's stay inside the Penalty Box -- if you "Push Them Up" you will lose.

Tell your Stopper to stop at the halfway line unless he is "onball" in which case he can come into the attack, but must run back as soon as the opponent gets the ball.

Tell your MF's to NOT go into your Penalty Box. They will still run the most and will have to be subbed. Tell them that when the ball is inside your Penalty Box, they MUST stay a pass away and shift with the ball, because the FB's are going to KICK the ball straight ahead and they MUST be in position to win the ball. Tell each MF to NOT cross the center of the field.

Tell everyone that Teamwork means everyone MUST do his job and trust his teammates to do their jobs.

Tell your Forward that when the ball is in your Defensive Third (the third of the field near your goal) he must shift with the ball and stay a LONG KICK away from the ball so he is in position to win the cleared balls that will be kicked straight ahead. He can stay at the halfway line or even beyond it if an opposing player is deeper.

Tell your FB's to just kick it hard and NOT worry about if someone is there to win the ball (it isn't their job to be sure a teammate is there -- their job is only to kick it hard, it's the MF's and Forwards jobs to win the cleared balls).

On your attack, tell your Forward to get into scoring position and the MF's to kick the ball toward him (not "pass" it, just kick it, and tell the F he must fight hard to win it).

A mistake many coaches make is trying to teach "passing to feet". Instead, teach "passing to space" and that the teammates must be there and win the ball. Try the "pass To Space, Run and Shoot" game.

If you haven't already, teach "Coaching Rule No. 3" (see Coaching Rules), it's worth 2 goals per game.

Please let me know how this works.

David SoccerHelp