How to Quickly Improve a Weak Soccer Team
Soccer Formations and Styles of Play
Assigning Soccer Positions
Evaluating Your Soccer Players
Most Important Things to Teach a Weak Soccer Team
Most important soccer Practice Games for a weak team

Dear Soccerhelp,

I am a rec coach who has been coaching youth soccer for 4 years, 3 of which I have used Soccerhelp. This year I am coaching U10.

My love for the game is immense, but my knowledge in coaching was quite limited until I began using Soccerhelp. Once I began using your Practice Games, coaching became much easier and the kids began having more fun! I also began to learn different dimmensions of the game I never realized existed.

As a result of what we applied from soccerhelp, our teams have won a total of 86 games, lost 5, and tied 5 over the course of three years (I have coached 2 teams in that time).

Consequently, I am, hands down, the most requested coach in our rec league. My kids sign up year after year, and go on to do very well on other teams.

However, this season the cards have been stacked against us. I have been given probably the weakest team to date while the other teams in our division are benefiting from having the best players.

In essence, as a result of our successes, and seeing how popular I had become around the league, we have become a target (in that the other coaches ...and board members, were tired of losing to our teams), that now we have been given the weakest, slowest, smallest, newest, most timid, and youngest players.

The result of our first game was 6-0 in favor of the other, more size-able, faster, more experienced team. Our teams have never experienced a loss like that. If not for my daughter, a soccerhelp student, and the training that the other children got from the practice games, the score may have been allot more lopsided.

The worst part, however, was seeing the defeat in the children's faces.

We head into game 2, and you bet I have been cramming hard at the SoccerHelp Premium website for our next game on Saturday.

Thanks Soccerhelp,

Coach DF

P.S. If there is any advice or anecdote you can share, it would greatly be appreciated.


Hi Coach DF,

Thanks for the kind letter. I greatly enjoy hearing that SoccerHelp has helped you be a better coach and that it has made coaching soccer more fun for you and your players. You sound like a great coach and a nice coach.

I have helped many coaches who were losing their games, and I have some ideas that I think will help you.

First, let me comment that what your League did to you was unfair. Teams should be fairly balanced - that encourages everyone to become better. Also, if your League doesn�t already have it, your League needs a "no-slaughter" rule where teams are required to pull a player off the field when they get ahead by 5 goals.

Obviously, at practice, you need to continue to work on skills, but that takes time.

Also obviously, what used to work for your other team doesn't work now with your new team -- you will have to do things differently to have a chance to win any games.

Until your team becomes competitive, you need to emphasize 5 things:

  1. A Soccer Formation that gives you the best chance for success

  2. A soccer Style of Play that gives you the best chance for success

  3. Bravery - Play the "Shoulder Tackle & Strength on the Ball" soccer practice game and use our motivational patches.

  4. Winning the Ball and 1v1 - Play the Win the 50/50 Ball or Be the First Defender 1v1 Attacking & Defending soccer practice game

  5. Coaching Rule No. 3 - This is very important. It is easy to teach (takes about 10 minutes) and worth 2 goals per game in U10 Rec.

It is CRITICAL that you carefully use your practice time to focus on the most important things. So, you probably can't do what you have normally done in the past at practice. You will have to teach a Formation, Style of Play and Coaching Rule No. 3. You will ONLY have time to play the Practice Games that produce the fastest improvement.

The only soccer Practice Games you should play for a while are:

  1. "Shoulder Tackle & Strength on the Ball" soccer practice game as a warm-up

  2. Dribble Across a Square soccer practice game as a warm-up -- Twice with the Square 10 of your steps wide to teach Control Dribbling - keep score and give Tips at the end of each game (if you aren't giving "Tips", how to do so is explained at the instructions for the Dribble Across a Square and Dribble Around Cone & Pass Relay Race soccer Practice Games. Then twice more with the square 17 of your steps wide to teach Acceleration into Open Space and Speed Dribbling. Doing it both ways is important.

  3. Dribble Around Cone & Pass Relay Race soccer Practice Game to teach kicking while running, Aggressive Receiving and "weight" on a pass. Keep score and give Tips at the end of each game (if you aren't giving "Tips", how to do so is explained at the instructions for the "Dribble Across a Square" and "Dribble Around Cone & Pass Relay Race" soccer Practice Games.

  4. Win the 50/50 Ball or Be the First Defender 1v1 Attacking & Defending soccer practice game to teach how to win the ball or be the first defender and 1v1 attacking and defending.

Evaluation -- I can help you more if you answer the following questions that will let me evaluate your situation. You can type your answer in bold or blue beside my question:

  1. Tell me how many players you have?

  2. Girls, boys or mixed?

  3. How may play at a time, including the Goalie? (is it 8v8? 9v9? etc.)

  4. What Formation did you use? (Explain the positions your players play. Do you use a Stopper? Do you use a Sweeper?)

  5. What Style of Play did you use? (Did you Push Up or Defend Deep? How far up do your Fullbacks go when your team is atacking? How many playes stay on your half of the field when your Forwards are attacking your opponent�s goal?)

  6. Have you taught Coaching Rule No. 3?

  7. How many good, skilled players do you have?

  8. How many fast and brave but unskilled players (i.e., good athletes who lack soccer skills)?

  9. How many timid players?

  10. What kind of player do you play as Goalkeeper? Is your Goalie a good field player?

  11. Controlling the Center of the Field -- On defense, do you keep your players toward the Center of the field so you are strong in the Center between the 2 goals and encourage your opponent to attack down the sidelines?

  12. When your goal is under attack -- How do your Fullbacks clear the ball? (Do they kick it hard straight ahead, or try to dribble it out?) Do your Fullbacks stay in front of your goal? Where are your Midfielders? (Do they stay a pass out from the ball and shift with the ball from side to side?) Where are your Forwards? (Do they stay a long kick away from the ball and shift with the ball from side to side?)

  13. In your formation, who covers balls in the Corner of your Defensive Third?

  14. How do you assign positions? Is it based on who can best help the team, or do you rotate players to every position?

  15. Practice: How often do you practice? How long? Is there a ball for every player?

  16. Do your Midfielders stay out of both Penalty Boxes?

  17. Do your Fullbacks stay out of the Goal Box?

  18. Have you tried our motivational patches?

You have a great attitude, but here are a few of my favorite motivational quotes from My Favorite Motivational Coaching Quotes

"It's not whether you get knocked down, it's whether you get up." Vince Lombardi

"Confidence is contagious. So is lack of confidence." Vince Lombardi

"Winners never quit and quitters never win." Vince Lombardi

"We didn't lose the game; we just ran out of time." Vince Lombardi

"The greatest accomplishment is not in never falling, but in rising again after you fall." Vince Lombardi

David at SoccerHelp

Copyright, All Rights Reserved