Improve Your Soccer Team Play
Tips for Soccer Coaches of Recreational Soccer Teams
Soccer Positions, Formations, Drills, Practice Games and Styles of Play

If your team isn't playing well, and you want to try some things that can quickly cause a big improvement, teach the following 9 things at your next few practices. (This may take 2 or 3 practices and if you aren't in a rush, spread it over 4 or 5 practices. Don't stop playing the Practice Games, especially Dribble Across a Square as a warm-up, and Dribble Around Cone & Pass Relay Race). This Premium article is 16 pages long:

  1. Before practice, read "Assigning Positions" in SoccerHelp Premium.

  2. Teach Coaching Rule #3, (How to teach Coaching Rule No. 3, which can be worth 2 or 3 goals per game).

  3. a. Teach the concept of "First Defender/ Second Defender" (The concept of "First Defender/Second Defender")

    3b. How To Teach First Defender/Second Defender and a Basic Zone Defense. If your team is young or inexperienced with a Zone Defense (assuming you play a zone, and most Rec teams should), spend 10 minutes demonstrating how First Defender/Second Defender and a basic Zone Defense works. (How to teach "First Defender/Second Defender" and a basic zone defense).

  4. Teach the concept of "Shift & Sag"> (How to teach "Shift & Sag" which is team movement to maintain a compact, effective defense)

  5. Teach the concepts of "First Attacker/Second Attacker/Third Attacker". These concepts teach offensive support and teamwork. How to teach them is explained.

  6. Teach your Fullbacks ("FB's") how to clear the ball. This is explained.

  7. If you have a Rec team with slow FB's, consider having your FB's "Defend Deep" instead of "Pushing Up". This is explained.

  8. The simplest, easiest thing you can do that can make a big difference is to change to a "Formation" and "Style of Play" that gives your team the best chance of being successful. This is explained.

  9. At the end of practice, have a brief meeting with players & parents (or by e-mail) & tell them that soccer is a team sport & it is important for everyone to do 4 things: (1) Come to practice on time, (2) Come to games 25 minutes early so the team can warm up together, the Coach can go over things such as "Shifting" and "First Defender", and the Coach can assign positions, (3) That players MUST hustle & fight for the ball or the other team will probably win (encourage hustle & toughness by praising those who hustle & play tough and consider giving rewards such as "bravery patches" for bravery and tough play), and (4) Tell all the parents that you are teaching a new Formation and a new Style of Play and that it is VERY IMPORTANT that they not coach or yell instructions from the sidelines because it will confuse the players and harm the team. Tell them that if they want to help you will be delighted if they come to practice and assist (the more assistants the better). It is critical to have the parents support.