U12 Soccer Success Story
Average Soccer Team Started Slow
Practice Games Taught Basic Soccer Skills
Finished Second in Soccer Tournament
Recommendations for Next Soccer Season

Hi SoccerHelp,

I've been a fan of soccerhelp.com for a few years now, using it with both regular season teams and all-star teams. This past fall I had a regular season U12G team comprised of 4 girls with real talent, 4 average girls and 4 girls who had limited knowledge, skill and very limited physical ability. I stuck with the soccerhelp.com practice games, repeating the basics over and over, including Dribble Across a Square, Dribble Around a Cone and Pass, Passing Pairs, and games that emphasized the 1st Defender, 2nd Defender concept. Our season was dismal, 2 wins and 6 losses, most of them blow-out losses. Nevertheless, with fun practice games and patches, the girls had a great season and continued to have fun. It all finally came together for them, and they played themselves into the end-of-season tournament championship game, taking second place. I credit the tried and true practice games and patches I found at soccerhelp.com.


Coach Jill


Hi Jill,

What a great story! Thanks for sharing it. You sound like a great coach.

It's really gratifying when it finally comes together for a team like it did for yours. I'm sure there were times when you wondered if you were doing the right thing. Occasionally I hear from a coach who gives up and goes back to line drills and yelling at his or her players after a few losses, but most of the time if a coach keeps playing the Practice Games and uses a formation and Style of Play that gives his or her team a chance to be successful, their team will start to win. The Practice Games work because they teach players how to perform basic skills fast and under pressure, and because they are efficient. Because players have more fun, practice attendance is usually good and because the Practice Games are efficient, each player is getting a lot of "touches" on the ball at every practice. The SoccerHelp Practice Games are 2 or 3 times more efficient than line drills, so you achieve 2 or 3 times as much in each practice, and it usually starts to pay off after 6 or 7 practices. I often get letters like yours and I think they prove the system works, because it is normally very hard to turn a losing Rec team into a winning team.

Here are a few ideas for you for next season:

  1. Keep playing "Dribble across a Square" as a warm-up. Play it twice with the square 10 steps wide and then twice more with the square 17 steps wide. Use the larger square to teach acceleration into Open Space (which is teaching how to "breakaway").
  2. Try a "Guided Discovery" method of coaching where you give "Tips" at the end of every game. Examples of how to do this are at the "Dribble Around Cone & Pass Relay Race" game.
  3. When you play "Dribble Around Cone & Pass Relay Race", focus on "Aggressive Receiving" and "One Touch". When you play that game, the pairs that are Aggressive Receivers and One Touch, will usually win. That is where giving "Tips" at the end of each game works so well. All you have to ask is, "Who wants to win?" and tell them that if they will be Aggressive Receivers and not allow any passes to get by, they might be able to win. And the next game, show them how they can go faster if the receiver will "one-touch" the ball into open space and run to it (demonstrate how much faster that is that "2-touch").
  4. Play "Shoulder Tackle & Strength on the Ball".
  5. Play "Win the 50/50 Ball or be the First Defender 1v1 Attacking & Defending"
  6. Play "2 Team Keepaway" for a GREAT 2 minute workout and to teach how to play fast in chaotic conditions, talking, teamwork and more.
  7. Don't play "Passing Pairs". That game is a good way to teach proper passing technique, but that is all it's good for. The problem with it is that the players aren't running. It is much better to teach them to pass while running and to be an "Aggressive Receiver". "Dribble Around Cone & Pass Relay Race" is much more Game Realistic.

I think your team will be good next season and predict you will win over 50% of your games and maybe 70%. I wouldn�t be surprised if you are 5-3 or 6-2 with the same players.

Please let me know and let me know which games you feel help your team the most.

Thanks for writing and for being our customer.

David at SoccerHelp