How to Teach Soccer Players Not to Bunch Up
A new soccer game that will teach soccer players to spread out instead of Bunching Up
3 Ideas to Teach Players to Spread Out
Soccer Coaching Success Story
Changed soccer formation improved defense

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(Below is an email I received from Coach Bob, my recommendations, a link to a new game to teach players to Spread Out instead of Bunching Up, and the email I received 3 weeks later that describes Bob's success).

Hello SoccerHelp,

I enjoy your website and I use the information often. I could use some help with my U8 indoor team. I have 16 girls and boys playing indoor soccer at the Pittsburgh Indoor Sports Arena. We played our first game today and we lost 3-1. I know I have strong players all over the field, but we looked confused in the soccer formation I used. We used a 1-2-2-2. The kids only had one practice together, but I ended up with 6 players who ran all over the field and that left 1 player back to help the keeper. We got beat 3 times in front of the goal because of this.

How can I teach the kids to stay in position better? Also any secrets on how to manage subbing for 18 kids when we play 8v8? Any tips and help for this would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Coach Bob, Premium Member


Hi Bob,

Thanks for being a Premium Member.

There are 4 ideas I like:

  1. Read
  2. One approach that works is to try our patch reward program or use some other type of rewards to reward the behavior you want (in this case, listening to the coach). See for my favorite Motivational Reward System.
  3. I would change my formation to a 2-3-2 or a 2-1-2-2 and tell the 2 Fullbacks to stay in front of my goal - at least that would make it hard for opponents to score.
  4. I've created a new Premium soccer practice game that I think will help young teams that have a problem with players Bunching Up. Please let me know if it helps and if you have any ideas for improving it - that is how I develop games that work - coaches test them and let me know what they think and any ideas for improving them. Here is a link to the new game: Bunching Up Spread Out Practice Game . The name of the new soccer practice game is "Bunching Up, Spread Out To Attack, Create Space Game".

Please let me know what you do and how it works. That is how I continue to improve SoccerHelp Premium.

David at SoccerHelp


(I received this email 3 weeks after I sent my recommendations)

Hi David,

I have to tell you that thanks to you I have been able to turn my teams around the past two years into winners. The U8 indoor team I emailed you about 3 weeks ago has now won its last 2 games using the 2-3-2 formation. We scored 4 goals in each game and did not give up any goals. We could have scored more goals today, but we are good sports and did not want to run up the score. We worked on things to improve during the game.

The new bunching up practice game has already helped us to spread out more. We ran it in practice on Thursday and we saw immediate results. It is a winner!

Thanks for all of your great advice!!!

Coach Bob, Pittsburgh, Premium Member

David at SoccerHelp