How Smaller, Slower Soccer Teams Can Win
3-1-1 Soccer Formation for 6v6
Choosing the soccer formation that gives your team the best chance of being successful
2 Easy-to-Teach Soccer Tips Worth 6 Goals per Game
Take Quick Soccer Throw-ins to Get Fast Breaks
Take Fast Soccer Goal Kicks and Punts

The following was posted on the Premium Forum:

Hi SoccerHelp,

Let me tell you what I did to get to a record of 2-0 so far against MUCH more talented and physical teams.

First, I have to play a 6v6 as well including a goalie. I have 4 girls who are strong. Two of my best girls (my daughter and another girl who just turned 6) are playing up with girls who are a full year+ older. The other 5 of my girls are either physically VERY weak, weak in talent or both. For one, it is her first season. One has serious behavioral problems. One who doesn't want to play and 2 who are smaller than most 4yos.

The first game I tried playing a 2-1-2 and it was almost a complete disaster. I had to sub the stopper 5 times. Most of the game was played on MY HALF OF THE FIELD. Fortunately, I saw that the other team was pushing their fullbacks all the way up, so I put one forward in back of them and barely won 5-4 all due to fast breaks.

Next game I did something different. Teaching them "first defender and second defender", "getting rid of the ball during throw-ins and kicks after goalie saves QUICKLY", "NEVER GETTING KICKED OR THROWN OVER", as well as "shifting and sagging", kept my girls fresher than the other team. Since my girls are weaker than most teams, I am having to really work on skills while still being competitive.

Anyway, I decided to run a 3-1-1. I defended deep with both the LFB and RFB. I made my stopper only run to the middle of the defending 3rd and all the way up to assist on the attack with the lone forward who I made NEVER to cross the midfield line. If the ball was in the attacking 3rd, I pushed the CFB up to midfield to get the ball back up if my forward and stopper lost the attack.

Here is the MOST important point. I CONCEDED THE WINGS and stayed EXTREMELY strong in the Center where most goals are scored. I never had my stopper or CFB chase to the wings. I let my RFB and LFB defend deep, just slowing the attack while the CFB recovered for double teams. Subsequently, my girls were not NEARLY as tired as the other team which was playing a 2-3 with pushed up FBs. In fact, we played 95% of the game in their half of the field and only had 5 shots on our goal. We were leading 9-1, so I took my goalie out to play in the field during the second quarter and put in whoever wanted to play goalie.

I hid my weak players by putting them at RFB and LFB and kept my strongest at CFB. I would rotate the weak players out into those positions until we got up so much in score, then I let them play wherever.

The final score was 9-3.

Here are the important points:

  1. Concede the wings, stay strong in the Center (the girls will be MUCH less tired)

  2. Hide weak players at LFB and RFB (sub other weak players there also)

  3. Get rid of the ball during throw-ins and goalie recoveries (goal kicks and punts or throws) FAST! This alone was worth 3 goals. I truly believe that at young ages, getting rid of the ball QUICKLY during throw-ins and goalie saves (goal kicks and punts or throws) is definitely worth 2-3 goals. We had fast breaks on almost ALL throw-ins in the opponents half of the field. (NOTE FROM DAVID: This is a great tip! Taking a throw-in fast before the opposing team has time to "recover" to defensive positions can let you have fast breaks, Also, taking your Goal Kicks fast is a big help because your opponents won�t have time to �mark-up�, and you will be able to clear the ball or maybe even get a fast break.)

  4. NEVER GET KICKED OR THROWN OVER! This was responsible for 3 of our goals as my forward, stopper, and pushed up CFB quickly backpedaled and intercepted the goalie kicks. (NOTE FROM DAVID: This is "Coaching Rule No. 3". It�s easy to teach. How to teach it is explained at No. 2 of Quick Team Improvement Program.)

  5. Get your goalies to practice 30 minutes before or stay 30 minutes after and train them.

David, remember when we talked about if the 3-1-1 experiment would work? Well it did, marvelously.

Coach F, U7 G


Hi Coach F.,

Your letter is inspirational and proves that each coach needs to use the Formation AND Style of Play (Defending Deep, Pushing Up, giving up the wings, etc) that works best for his or her team.

I had pasted the letter from Coach Donna into my previous post that described how she obtained similar results by playing a 1-1-1-2. Look at the things in common:

  1. She had a player Defending Deep
  2. She Shifted and Sagged
  3. Her players were smaller and slower BUT more skilled due to playing the Practice Games (to the point that parents from other teams asked if their kids can come to her practices)
  4. Her formation is Strong in the "Center of the Field" (as is yours).
  5. She thought carefully about where her players could be successful and help the team.

By the way, when you say the "Middle", you really mean the "Center" (where the Center Mid, Center Fullback, etc. play). I had to train myself to use "Center" but I did because I was confusing my players by saying "Middle" one time and "Center" the next. A simple way to remember is that the Middle is where the "Middle Third" is, and the "Center" is where the CFB, CMF and CF play.

I agree about Coaching Rule # 3 (don't get thrown over or kicked over) - it's worth 2 or 3 goals per game and it teaches players how to mark up so they can win the ball.

Good job!!!

Coach F., you are an excellent coach and you will become a great coach and I'm proud that you're a Member of SoccerHelp and that you have been able to use my ideas. As Vince Lombardi said: "The measure of a coach is what you do with what you have." When you can win games with a smaller, slower team because you motivated your players and taught them to play better and due to teamwork and good coaching, you are a good coach. In addition, you're having fun. It's something to be proud of and you are building confidence and self-esteem... you are teaching your players that they can overcome obstacles and win if they work as a team, do their best and don't give up.

David at SoccerHelp