(Following is a letter from a Premium Member and my reply)
I recently became a Premium Member.
I am coaching a U12G team in a 7v7 league intended for "Competitive" Teams. We have a mix of Travel and Classic players, as are most of the other teams. I have ten players on the roster who come from four different teams. Another challenge is that we are not given any practice times. Since we aren't preparing to be an outdoor team, I am in favor of using the walls to our advantage.
We all play 8v8 during the spring and fall outdoor seasons and generally use a 2-3-2 formation.
The field is 175 ft x 82 ft.
My impression is that our players are smaller, but faster and quicker, than most of the other teams.
What formation would you recommend and what should be my points of emphasis for those positions?
Jeff, U12G coach, Premium Member
Thanks for being a Member. See the January 8, 2009 Newsletter - it's about Indoor.
Smaller but quicker is good, since quickness is more important than size.
Here are my thoughts:
- Use the walls only if that helps -- in other words, if your players have never used the walls, I would let them play their normal way rather than risk throwing off their timing. I've tried to get players to use the walls who weren't used to doing that and it didn't work -- it caused hesitation and they didn't use the walls correctly because they hadn't practiced it.
- On a field as long as yours you will definitely need midfielders.
- If your players are quicker and faster than the opponent and have stamina, I would consider either a 2-2-2 or a 2-3-1.
- If you have a good Center Midfielder who can win the ball and help attack I would play a 2-3-1 and tell the:
- Forward to stay Pushed Up ALL THE TIME (don't come closer to your goal than the Halfway line). This will keep 1 or 2 of the opposing FBs off your side. This player MUST have patience and discipline and be ready and in position for breakaways (shift from side to side with the ball when your goal is under attack).
- RMF and LMF to stop the halfway line when you attack so they are in position to stop counterattacks and to win cleared balls. IF either of them is "onball" that player can come into the attack, but the other one stays in the Center Circle to stop counterattacks down the Center.
- Far FB (the FB farthest from the ball) to ALWAYS stay in front of the goal and tell the Near FB (FB nearest the ball) to avoid getting pulled too far to the side -- tell the RMF and LMF that it's their job to come back to pressure balls in the corner. The Near MF should pressure the ball in the corner and the Far MF should come to about where the Penalty Box Arc would be to stop crosses into that area.
- Tell your FBs to stay put of your Goalie's way and tell your Goalie to be aggressive about telling her teammates to get out of her way and to push them aside if needed.
- Encourage one touch shots when near the goal-- you rarely have time for a 2-touch shot, play is too fast.
- Buy knee pads and elbow pads for your Goalie to wear and encourage her to be aggressive about getting down on the floor to grab loose balls -- this is critical - it can save several goals. See below for my best tip about how to choose an Indoor Goalie. A great, quick, brave, aggressive Goalie is HUGELY important in indoor because the Goal is so small and shots are from close range -- you may need a different Goalie than the one you would use outdoors.
- Read all the Indoor Soccer Tips on Premium from SoccerHelp AND the Indoor Soccer Tips from Coaches on Premium -- there are about 20 pages of them. Here is my Best Tip:
BEST TIP: The best outdoor goalie may not be the best indoor goalie. An indoor goalie doesn't need a strong leg; the most important quality is quick hands. Your goalie is HUGELY important in indoor. I suggest putting the player with the quickest or second quickest hands in goal, even if it is one of your top field players. A way to test this is to stand about 5 steps away and throw the ball at them. You will soon be able to tell whose reflexes are best. However, I wouldn't make anyone play goal who doesn't want to. If you have an active goalie, let her come out with the attack if you are safely ahead or behind. In Indoor Soccer, it is surprisingly hard to score even if the goalie is out of the goal.
If you have a great Goalie who also can dribble, you might even let her come out of goal and dribble down field (which will pull defenders), then kick the ball and hustle back.
I hope this helps. Please let me know and let me know how you do and if you have any tips to share as a result of your experiences.
Thanks for writing. I hope you have great fun.
David at SoccerHelp