How to Train a Soccer Striker
Teach Soccer Players How to Score Goals
4 Soccer Games that Can Help
One Touch Soccer
Passing to Space and Soccer Movement
Teach Quick Shots When Near the Soccer Goal
Teach Fast instinctive Soccer Play while Under Pressure

To the Premium Forum,

My nine year old I train her to be a striker, she is a good finisher, after reading SoccerHelp, I encouraged her to hold on the ball much more than before, as a result of her doing that her coaches will take her and let her play last Stopper. Will that undermine her skill development as a striker? If so what can I do as a parent?



Hi JP,

Your daughter is so young that I don't think playing Stopper will hurt her ability to be a Striker. In fact, it will help her learn to steal the ball, how to be physical and not afraid of contact (which is very important), how to attack from the back and come to goal from the midfield or even from the Defensive Third, how to quickly transition to defense, and some other important things.

Keep in mind that most of the letters I get are from Recreational coaches, so a lot of what is on SoccerHelp might not apply to your daughter - look for the ideas that apply. Your daughter sounds like a good athlete who can play at a high level, but, of course, she is only 9. You can't go wrong by focusing on the basics - it is easier to become a great player if the basics are good. My biggest recommendation is to try to get her coach to play the SoccerHelp Practice Games that will teach her to play instinctively, fast, and under pressure in chaotic game conditions. From the start, teach her the better ways to play such as "One Touch" soccer, "Aggressive Soccer Receiving", "Strength on the Ball", Bravery, and "Passing to Space", which will teach "Movement off the Ball". I think a big flaw with U.S. youth soccer is that most kids are taught "Passing to Feet" first, so in their minds a "Good Pass" is a "Pass to Feet" - later it is hard to get them to redefine a "Good Pass" as a "Pass to Space". I think that is why U.S. attacking has lacked creativity - it isn't natural for the players to use Open Space, they have to think about it, instead of doing it instinctively.

Try to avoid using drills to train your daughter. Drills don't involve pressure and aren't Game Realistic. It is better to train players using Practice Games that involve pressure and that teach players to play fast. Players will play as they practice. Practicing slow without pressure does not prepare players to play fast under pressure. So, whatever you do with your daughter, try to do it fast and under pressure. It sounds like you played soccer. Play the Practice Games below with your daughter and you will see what I mean - you will get a good work-out. For "Dribble Across a Square", get some friends to also play - you need at least 4 for that game, but you and your daughter can play the other 3 games. There are detailed instructions at each Game. Give Tips at the end of each game - that is a "Guided Discovery" method of coaching and is a very effective training method based on positive reinforcement. This approach will keep your daughter interested and it is fun. She is more likely to want to practice and to want to play if it is fun. A lot of U.S. good youth players get burned out.

Encourage her coach to play the 4 SoccerHelp Practice Games listed below AND encourage the coach to teach "Passing to Space" instead of "Passing to Feet" AND teach her to play One Touch as her desired way to play AND teach her that when near the goal that a Quick Shot is more important than "Form".

  1. Play "Dribble Across a Square" to develop instinctive reactions and dribbling in traffic and chaotic conditions, and seeing Open Space and breakaways.

  2. Dribble Around Cone & Pass Relay Race" to teach "Aggressive Receiving", "First Touch", and "One Touch" play (one touch play is VERY important).

  3. "Win the 50/50 Ball or Be the First Defender 1v1 Attacking and Defending" to teach 1 v 1 how to beat a defender.

  4. "Shoulder Tackle & Strength on the Ball" to teach how to be strong on the ball.

  5. Teach "Passing to Space" instead of "Passing to Feet" - this teaches Movement off the Ball and the use of space. It allows much more creative attacking.

  6. Teach the advantage of a Toe Poke as a way to shoot when close to the goal in heavy traffic. A Toe Poke is a great way to score when in traffic and close to the goal because it is quick and deceptive because there isn't a back swing.

  7. Teach your daughter that when near the goal (close enough for a short shot), a Quick Shot is more important than "form" and that she can score using any part of her foot - don't worry about "Form", just put it in the net. That is why I think it is important to teach "One Touch" soccer from the first. One Touch is a way of thinking about playing. Will she make mistakes? OF COURSE. But we know that a team that can Pass to Space and play One Touch will beat a team that always plays 2 Touch and Passes to Feet, because One Touch and Passing to Space allows a MUCH faster attack that doesn't give the opponents time to recover. The team that plays faster, more aggressively, and can perform under pressure and in chaotic game conditions by playing instinctively without thinking will usually win � SoccerHelp Practice Games train players to play that way. Think about the great strikers and how quick they are to poke in the ball when they are near the goal and how the best ones use a lot of one-touch shots.

For more soccer attacking tips, see "Scoring More Goals" and "37 Soccer Attacking Tips, Tactics and Strategies".

Here are 4 more Practice Games to try:

  1. "Teaching Forwards to be Opportunistic in the Penalty Box"

  2. "Kick A Crossed Ball Game"

  3. "Run To Ball and Shoot With Side of the Foot"

  4. "Pass To Space, Run With Ball and Shoot Game"

I hope this helps.

Please let me know.

David at SoccerHelp

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