How to Teach Soccer Players To Not Bunch Up

10 Ways to Stop Bunching Up, and to Get Players to Spread Out When on Offense, and to Train Players to Stay in Position

10 ideas are below that have been tried by lots of coaches and work -

  1. "Stop Holding Hands" - A great tip from Coach Mark - When his players bunch up, he tells them to "Stop holding hands". Coaches say this works for both boys and girls.
  2. "Stay Away, Stay Away, Stay Away" idea from Coach Troy - a Team Chant… The Coach says "When your teammate has the ball what do you do?" And the team replies: "Stay Away, Stay Away, Stay Away" - again and again.
  3. “Bunching Penalty” idea to get players to Spread Out on Offense - "I show the kids what 5 big steps looks like (or how many steps you choose). Then I tell them if they are on attack and 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, and the other team gets the ball. Generally, I only have to call it once. (from Ken who is a great coach). More about this is at
  4. “Bunching Up, Spread Out To Attack, Create Space Practice Game”. Coach Bob said "We ran it in practice on Thursday and we saw immediate results. It is a winner!" - This is too long to post but if you are a Premium subscriber, check it out here.
  5. On Offense - Teach your players to stay a short pass away from the player with the ball.
  6. On Offense - Teach your players that when a teammate with the ball is dribbling toward them, they MUST move away from the ball in order to create space for the ballhandler and to create a passing option. See

    Save $5 on SoccerHelp Premium - SoccerHelp Premium has 1,500 pages & 5,000 links for easy navigation. You can use the Coupon 5offpremium to subscribe to Premium for $10 for 30 days, $20 for 120 days, or $35 for a year. We do NOT automatically renew subscriptions. 15,000 Coaches have subscribed. 5-day money back guarantee. 400 Testimonials Sign up at

  7. "Stay at Home" Idea to Teach Young Players to Stay in Position – “I told them where their 'Home' was, and showed them the big circle they could play in while in that position. They played SOOOO much better! The only thing I focused on during the game was to remind them where their 'Home' was, and to stay in their 'circle.' It was great - I'd call out 'go Home, Alexandra!' and she'd immediately drop back to where she was supposed to be.” Thanks to Coach Kim. See for more about how to teach positions.
  8. For Players U10 & Up - Use the Premium “Handball Soccer” Drill to teach spacing & movement off the ball. It is faster than normal scrimmaging and will let you focus on spacing and movement.
  9. To Stop Bunching Up on Defense teach “First Defender/Second Defender”
  10. “Support” means different things on Offense and Defense. See