How to Teach Aggressive Soccer Play to Rec Players

Hello SoccerHelp,

I've got two situations I need advice on. I have been a member on and off and also purchase patches from you. For the past two years I have bought into the 3-2-2-3, and 3-2-3-2 formations, but this year was VERY problematic.

  1. What do you do when too many U-12 girls are afraid of the ball in recreational soccer? As the season progressed, I moved my big, plodding players up and kept my speedy, somewhat aggressive players back on defense. This helped prevent goals, but then we had little offense. My daughter is the only player on the team who can create shots for herself and others. Too many others over-dribble, dribble too far in front of themselves, or simply cannot win 1v1 battles. What do you do with a girl who is nice as all-get-out but refuses to be aggressive, run fast, and attack the ball? We just finished our "Soccer Saturday," and we had one girl who we just HAD to limit her playing time because when she was in is was like 10v11. I work on your drills and games, but am frustrated when I have to hide too many players. Help!
  2. I have a U-14 team with great potential next year, but they refuse to do headers, knock the ball down in front of themselves, etc. And, I have never seen a group of girls let so many balls bounce over their heads and then have to race the attacking team for possession. How are U-14 girls still afraid of the ball? Do we stay with a 3-2-2-3, or 3-2-3-2 or do we try something else? I need to think ahead to next year.

--Coach Jeff

Hi Jeff,

  1. Stick with a 3-2-3-2 (2 Stoppers) or, if you have a player who is a GREAT Stopper, a 3-1-3-3 (one Stopper), OR if you have to hide 2 players, play a 3-1-4-2 and you can hide 2 at LMF and RMF, and still have 2 good center midfielders.
  2. Jeff, read "Defending Deep Basics" on Premium -- put your slow players at Fullback and Defend Deep. You can't put your slow players at Forward.
  3. On Premium, read "Aggressive Play - How To Teach" ; a lot of the key is to really compliment aggressive, hustling play in front of the entire team. I did it by giving Red Patches ONLY for aggressive, hustling play. I gave these at the end of the game in front of the entire team and parents.
  4. Play the "Shoulder Tackle and Strength on the Ball" game on Premium.
  5. Here are other recommendations (these are worth 2 or 3 goals per game):

    1. Play the "Dribble Across A Square" game 3 times to start each practice (this is critical)
    2. Read "How To Teach Dribbling" on Premium
    3. Play the "Dribble Around A Cone and Pass" game a lot (this is a fantastic game)
    4. Teach Coaching Rule # 3 (worth a goal per game)
    5. Read "Stopper Importance" on Premium and switch to a formation that uses a Stopper (worth 1 or 2 goals per game)
    6. Read "Defending Deep Basics" on Premium, especially # 1 thru 7, and from that teach: # 1, 2, 3 ,4 ,5 and 6. ("First Defender/Second Defender" and "Shift and Sag" are critical)
    7. Read "Kick-Offs and Recommended Kick-Off" and just kick it deep to the corner -- you don't have time to worry about fancy kick-offs.
    8. Read "Corner Kick Tips" and "Goal Kick Tips"
    9. Go to "Throw-Ins Navigation Page" to "How To Teach Throw-Ins" and teach an Advanced Throw-Ins. Use the " Throw-Ins Teaching Game" to teach this.

Don't worry about teaching your girls headers, that isn't critical.

Okay Jeff, here's the deal: Let me know how the above helps you. That's how we get feedback. Use what I recommend from Premium and you will see a BIG difference. We've helped hundreds of coaches and if you do what I recommend, you will see results. Jeff, if you follow these recommendations, you will see results, but if you don't, you won't. Have you been playing the Dribble Across game at practice?

Good Luck!!!