(U-8 & up)

These "Rules" Are Easy To Teach & Will Immediately Improve Your Team's Play

Stating important concepts as simple "rules" is a useful way to teach young players, since most have been taught to "follow the rules". The following aren't real rules, they are just my "rules". You may want to teach your players some of these:

  1. "Don't get thrown over" (When the other team has a throw-in). (During the game, be specific when giving instructions. For example, "John, move back 10 steps so you don't get thrown over"). See No. 3 below for the next step.
  2. "Don't get goal kicked or punted over" (by the other team). (Be specific if giving instruction. For example, "John, run back to the halfway line"). See No. 3 below for the next step.
  3. "On the other team's goal kicks, punts, throw-ins & free kicks, mark up behind an opponent & then step in front & steal the ball, or, if the ball goes past you, box out the opponent and win the ball". (A progression from 1 & 2 above). (An exception to this would be the other team's freekicks near your goal, where if there is room you want have your players stay away from your goal so you create an "offside trap" which will keep the other team away from your goal and make it harder for them to score on a header or off a rebound).
  4. "Where will the other team score from?" Answer: "In front of our goal." (See "Where....From?" in Dictionary of Soccer Terms, Concepts & RulesTM).
  5. "If the other team has the ball & you are the closest, you must be the "First Defender" & slow down their attack & try to block any shots. Teach your players the meaning of ther terms "First Defenter" & "Second Defender". Demonstrate how the Second Defender suppports the First Defender).
  6. "If the other team has the ball & you are second closest, you must be the "Second Defender" & back up the First Defender & stay between the ball & the goal. (Stay 5-7 steps behind the First Defender).
  7. "If you have a pass, take it. Only dribble if you don't have a pass or if you can dribble & score".
  8. "Don't pass or dribble across the front of our goal".
  9. "Why isn't your pass staying on the ground?" Answer: "You are contacting it too low. Strike the ball half way up & follow through".
  10. "No straight legs. Knees should always be bent" (I can't think of a single instance when a player should have straight legs).
  11. "When waiting for a pass, stay on your toes & move as soon as you see which way the ball is going". (A quick first step is very important).
  12. "You should always be shifting with the ball". (When the ball moves, so should you).
  13. "When our goal is under attack, the CMF (Center Mid-Fielder) or a Defensive MF should cover the Penalty Box Arc". (See "Formations" in Chapter 1 of Coaching Recreational Soccer Ages 5-15, Simplified and the Dictionary).
  14. "If the referee leaves his arm up after a foul, is it a direct or indirect kick?" Answer: "An indirect kick".
  15. "Forwards, when you are pushed up & waiting for a pass, stay 2 steps behind the Last Defender so you won't accidentally be called offside".
  16. "When our LF (Left Forward) or RF (Right Forward) is dribbling toward goal, the CF (Center Forward) & the other F (the far Forward) should run with him & stay a pass away & 3 - 4 steps behind the ball. The CF should run toward the "near post" & the far F toward the "far post". As we attack, the far Forward should stay about 5 steps past the far post and be alert for balls coming through. (See "Attacking Plan", "Cross The Ball", "Formations" & "Third Man Running" in the Dictionary).
  17. "Which way can you run faster - - forward or backward? The answer: forward. This is why you should stay behind a ball that is going to be crossed & why you should not get so close to the goal that rebounds go behind you". (See "Rebounds" in the Dictionary for more details).
  18. "Don't try to dribble through the Last Defenders, it won't work. Instead, kick a "through ball", do a "give & go" or "pass to yourself" (i.e., "pop & run"). (A "through ball" is a pass into the open space between the other team's fullbacks & their goalkeeper. It is not a pass to a specific person. The idea is to "send it through" but not kick it so hard that it goes to the Goalkeeper, or, you can kick a through ball to the corner. You will turn over the ball some, but soon your forwards will learn to be ready for through balls. These create scoring opportunities & even if you lose the ball you can push up & try to steal it back on the other team's half of the field. After a while, your team will pick up on the idea of sending "Diagonal Through Balls" as well as "Straight Through Balls").
  19. "If you are playing on the left side (LF, LMF, or LFB) or on the right side (RF, RMF or RFB), don't cross the center of the field". (LMF is Left Mid-Fielder, RFB is Right Fullback, etc.).
  20. "We must mark any attackers who are in front of our goal & in scoring range, staying "goalside" & slightly "ballside" (i.e., 1/2 step closer to the ball than the attacker). Mark them tight if they are close to our goal (e.g., stay within 1 or 2 steps) & looser if they are farther away. Don't give them a clean shot and stay on your feet & don't jump at them or they will fake you & get a clean shot".
  21. "Shoot high if outside the Penalty Box (i.e., toward the top of the goal) and low if inside the Penalty Box (i.e., on the ground & toward the corner)."
  22. "If you have a clear shot, take it."
NOTE: See the Section titled "Scoring More Goals" for 25 Attacking Tips.