Glastonbury Hartwell Soccer Club; GHSC; Recreation Soccer; Travel Soccer; Youth Soccer; Connecticut; Glastonbury

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Travel Soccer

Coach Handbook


 

Table of Contents

 

GHSC Travel Mission Statement and Developmental Philosophy    6

Travel Program Contacts    7

Concussion Awareness and First Aid    8

Mandated Reporting Law and Responsibilities    8

Scheduling, Referee Information, and Team Budgets    8

Planning Your Team Schedule    8

Referee Information    9

Team Budget    9

Parent Meeting Sample Agenda    10

Player Evaluations    10

CT Cup    10

Club Policies    11

Position Rotation    11

Playing Time    11

Player Sharing    11

Goal Differential    11

US Soccer Policies    11

Heading    11

Development focus within practice sessions    12

The Learning Environment    13

Pre-and Post Game Stretching    16

Small Sided Games    16

Other Club Topics    18

Tactical Training sessions    18

Friendlies    18

Tournaments    18

Seasonal Plans    19

Session Planning    19

Game Day-on the bench    19

Game day Warm Up    20

7v7 Information    21

Key Focuses for U9 and U10    21

Formation 1-3-2-1    22

7v7 Playing Out of the Back    24

9v9 Information    25

Key Focuses for U11 and U12    25

Formation 1-3-3-2    26

9v9- Playing out from the back    28

11v11 Information    29

1-4-4-2 Formation    29

11v11- Playing out from the back    31

Long-Term Player Development    35

A word about Winning    36

GHSC Key Coaching Points- Checklist    36

Short Passing    36

Long Passing    36

Ball Control    37

Turning    38

Running with the Ball    38

Heading    38

Dribbling    39

Defending    39

Shooting    40

Creating Space    40

 

 

Coaches, 

This document is designed to be used by you as a resource to aid your coaching on and off the field throughout the season. The educational content of this document should inform you of the most current developmental needs of the children who you work with. This will hopefully provide you with an understanding of the value the practices can bring to your team. 

 

For more information, make sure you always consult the Travel tab on the GHSC website  as well as the Travel Coaches Corner.  The Coaches Corner has all the seasonal plans, important documents, and suggested reading for our travel coaches.

As a club, we take the recommendations from our US Youth Soccer Player Development Model, English FA, US Soccer and USSF curriculums to fit the needs of our player’s level of ability and understanding of the game. 

 

On behalf of the Travel program, thank you for your continued hard work and support,

Glastonbury Hartwell Soccer Club

 

 “There is no magic formula or short cut to successful player development. Coaching at youth levels is all about working with players to improve performance, not about recruiting players to build teams and win championships. Soccer is a player’s game and players should be considered first when political, administrative and coaching decisions are made.”  


Bobby Howe, former US Soccer Director of Coaching, Portland Timbers & National Team

  1. GHSC Travel Mission Statement and Developmental Philosophy

GHSC Travel Mission Statement

To provide structured and developmentally appropriate coaching for all. The long term development of our players is paramount, with the program focusing on creating competitive, technically sound, tactically aware, physically able and psychologically alert players whilst in a safe, positive and fun environment within the travel level soccer community.

 

  1.  

GHSC Developmental Philosophy

As a club we aim to:

  • Develop well rounded soccer players in an appropriate environment which teaches the GHSC core values.

  • Create an environment for all players to play with expression, creativity and to play the correct way rather than impose restrictions and strict tactics on our players.

  • Focus on the longevity of a players’ development, as opposed to short-term results and performances.

  • Encourage and emphasise the core soccer attributes of technique and ball mastery above physical attributes.

  • Provide a learning environment where all levels of players will enjoy their soccer experience.


 

Style of Play

  • Apply a style of soccer which is based on sound technique and tactical understanding by playing the ‘correct’ way. The ‘correct’ way does not include a kick and run or a win at all cost style. 

  • Our children should be taught to play with the soccer ball in all areas of the field. To play from the back and play through the thirds of the field. From the goalkeeper and defense to the midfield then moved forward by linking up with the strikers. 

  • A possession style with emphasis of comfort on the ball, playing in all directions to retain possession and go forward to attack when possible. 

  • Our players should have a clear decision making process on the ball, where we play with control and thought. A ‘boot’ or kick away should not be cheered as this play is not promoted by our coaches and goes against the club’s style of play.

  • Encourage creativity around the whole team where children are promoted to express themselves without fear of failure. This allows children to try moves/turns and individual skill without the coach scolding or quashing creative play. The players should have the freedom to play and learn from their experiences both positive and negative

 

 

GHSC Goals

 

U9 - U12:

  • Emphasize the importance of individual techniques and ball mastery.

  • Make each player aware of tactical aspects of the game appropriate to their age and ability.

  • Allow each player to experience all positions on the field to aid the individual’s development.

  • Measure success in the development of the individual not team results.

 

U13 - U14/15:

  • Continue the progress of the individual’s technique, ball mastery and team tactical awareness.

  • Implement tactical training aspects of the game.

  • Semi- specialize in player positions at U13 and U14.

  • Measure success in player and team development and not in team results.

  1.  
  2. Travel Program Contacts 

Please use http://www.leagueathletics.com/Page.asp?n=39270&org=glastonburysoccer.org for up-to-date contact information.

Role

Name

Contact Information

Travel Director

Joe Wallace

Program Director

Matt Pecheone

Assistant Program Dir

Scott Halpern

assistantprogdir@glastonburysoccer.org

Referee Assignor

Eric Baughman

Fields and Equipment

Jesse McQuade

Travel Field Assignments

Matt Pecheone

Club Registrars

Jackie Gulbrandsen /

Dan Muscaro

registrar@glastonburysoccer.org

Travel Uniforms

Matt Pecheone

programdir@glastonburysoccer.org


 

 

  1. Concussion Awareness and First Aid

Concussions:

  • All coaches are required to undergo CDC Concussion Training

  • Remember: when in doubt, sit it out

  • 2 page concussion awareness document on GHSC website.

  • Players will not be allowed to return without a healthcare professional’s clearance 

Injuries and First Aid:

  • Please take a common sense approach to any injury. 

  • If a player is hurt- deal with it to the best of your ability.

  • Inform the parent of the injured child.

  • All coaching bags have first aid kit and ice packs. 

  • If you need more please let us know.

 

  1. Mandated Reporting Law and Responsibilities

 

In February of 2018, the  Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act of 2017 went into effect.  The Law has a three-pronged approach:

  1. Any adult interacting with amateur athletes in the program has a duty to report abuse and or suspected abuse within a 12 hour​ period (Connecticut). EVERY adult is a mandatory reporter.

  2. The statute of limitations in CT is extended 30 years after the minor reaches the age of 18.

  3. Limits an athlete under the age of 18 from being alone with an adult who is not their parent.

 

Mechanism for Reporting: ​Everyone listed below MUST be contacted when physical or sexual abuse is suspected

  1. Local Law Enforcement Number 

  2. State Department of Children and Families (DCF) 1-800-842-2288 (TDD: 1-800-624-5518)

  3. President of Hartwell, Greg Manzotti

  4. State Association’s Main Office - Josh Krusewski, Executive Director, executivedirector@cjsa.org

  5. US Soccer Integrity Hotline Number: (312) 528 - 7004

  6. US Center for SafeSport: https://www.safesport.org/report-a-concern

 

  1. Scheduling, Referee Information, and Team Budgets

    1. Planning Your Team Schedule

League Games:

  • The club registers all travel teams with CJSA  

  • CJSA puts teams into appropriate brackets for league games (played on Sundays)  

  • League Schedule will be e-mailed to Coaches and Managers when released

    • It will list 5+ league games you need to play and whether they are home or away

  • When League Schedule comes out – reach out to coaches and set up games (e.g. field and time)

 

Friendly Games:

  • Coaches and Managers work together to decide who will coordinate these

  • Friendly games are usually targeted for Saturdays or “bye” weeks

  • U9 and U10 teams should not schedule Friendly games on their 4v4 Saturdays

  • U11-U14/15 teams should not schedule Friendly games on their tactical training weekends

  • Recommended number of Friendly games

    • U9-U10: 1-2 per season

    • U11-U12: 2-3 per season

    • U13 & U14/15: 3-4 per season

  1. Referee Information

  • Referees play a critical role.  They deserve respect, support and consideration.  

  • Youth referees are often teenagers.

  • Coaches must set an adult example.  

  • Coaches are responsible for their spectator’s conduct. 

  • Address the referee at half time or end of match.  Be respectful and courteous.

  • Spectators are NEVER allowed to address the referee.  

  • Any issues with your referee contact us. 

  • Refs will be collecting passes for all Hartwell games (Friendly & League)

  • Ref Fees:

    • U9-U10 Ref Fees : $30 Center / $20 AR 

    • U11-U12 Ref Fees : $40 Center / $25 AR

    • U13-U15 Ref Fees : $45 Center / $25 AR

    • U11-U14 Ref Fees CT Cup: $50 Center / $30 AR 

  • Home Games must be canceled  (notified Referee Assignor) by Tuesday at 5:00  PM prior or you pay the refs.  

  1. Team Budget

Teams need to create a team budget each season.  While generally the responsibility of the team manager, coaches should be involved in the planning process.

  • Things to consider are:  Referee payments (home games), tournament fees, patches for tournaments, team parties, trophies, coach or player gifts, & admin costs (laminating, copies, etc.)

  • Based on Team Budget, determine and communicate Team Dues to families and collect money.  Guidelines set during registration is max of $75/player per season.  

  • We recommend setting up a bank account for the team.  Many banks offer free checking (e.g. Nutmeg Credit Union, CBT).  

  • Keep good records of money in/money out.

  • Every fall and spring, Hartwell gives each team money for home game ref fees.  Checks will be given out at coaches meeting.  These are the amounts given:

    • U9/10 - $300, U11/12 - $400, and U13/U14/15 - $500

 

  1. Parent Meeting Sample Agenda

  • Welcome back- practice/4v4’s/Tactical & Game schedule

  • FREE Supplemental offering- Friday’s (GK Clinics)

  • Team Expectations – league play, how many friendlies etc

  • Goals for the team/individual - development over results/focus on technical/tactical development etc. 

  • Share:

    • seasonal plans

    • session plans from trainer

    • parent reading list 

  • Try to educate the parents on the clubs philosophy and share as much as you can. 

 

  1. Player Evaluations

  • Evaluation Process done on GHSC forms

  • Communication with parents

    • Early and often

    • Use of emails, phone calls, informal discussions

    • Prepare along the way: keep notes

  • Please sit down with other team coaches and trainer/s.  

  • Communication with players

    • Before and after practices and games

    • Set pre-season goals (Team/Individual)

 

  1. CT Cup

  • CT Cup competition starts at U11.

  • Weekend games must be scheduled for start between 10:00 AM and 3:00 PM for the Fall Competition and between 10:00 AM and 5:00 PM for the Spring Competition.

  • If teams mutually agree, games may be scheduled outside of stated hours but must be played by date specified by cup committee. 

  • Games played on the designated day and between the stated hours DO NOT require agreement of away team.

  • If you are hosting a CT Cup game that weekend, let Matt Pecheone know ASAP so that we can find field(s) and schedule games.

  • More information regarding CT Cup policies and rules can be found on Hartwell website and/or CJSA website.

  1. Club Policies

    1. Position Rotation

All players will “rotate” all positions including the goalkeeper at the U9-12 age group. 

 

In one game, we should not be moving a player from left defense to striker then back to goalkeeper. This causes too much confusion as each position on the field is very different. If you can, keep a player in defense over a game, or the left side of the field (left defense and left midfield). Over the whole season each player will play every position. 

 

U13 and up we semi-specialize and ask players to play a defensive role (defender/defensive midfield), an attacking role (midfield/striker) or goalkeeper. 

 

Plan the player rotations and substitutes before the game, do not do this on the fly! 

 

  1. Playing Time

Hartwell policy is that everyone will play at least 50% of the game. Player’s time is directly connected to practice and participation. If a player regularly misses practice, it will affect playtime. If you are having issues with attendance, let the Program Director or Travel Director know. 

 

  1. Player Sharing

As a club we encourage movement between Blue, White and Red if teams need players. We can share players in league games and friendlies, but NOT in the Cup.  If the age group above needs players feel free to ask the Program Director or age group trainer for recommendations for talented individuals to play up. We are ONE club, not a collection of individual teams, therefore player sharing is not an issue we should be happy to help another team and give more playing time to our players. 

 

  1. Goal Differential 

CJSA and Hartwell have begun monitoring games for this and CJSA doesn’t want teams winning by more than 8 goals. Differentials of 3 to 4, teams should start getting creative by limit touches, move positions, restrictions on finishing (outside box, one touch only, volleys only, passing mandates, etc.)

This in place because having a one-sided result is good for no player development and love for the game. 

 

  1. US Soccer Policies 

    1. Heading 

No heading allowed at practice or games for U11 and under as US Soccer set this mandate January 2016. U12 and older can head in games but should only send limited time heading the ball in practice. 

 

7v7 Build Out Line
The build out line promotes playing the ball out of the back in a less pressured setting. When the goalkeeper has the ball in his or her hands during play from the opponent, the opposing team must move behind the build out line until the ball is put into play.

Once the opposing team is behind the build out line, the goalkeeper can pass, throw or roll the ball into play (punts and drop kicks are not allowed). After the ball is put into play by the goalkeeper, the opposing team can cross the build out line and play resumes as normal.

 

If a goalkeeper punts or drop kicks the ball, an indirect free kick should be awarded to the opposing team from the spot of the offense. If the punt or drop kick occurs within the goal area, the indirect free kick should be taken on the goal area line parallel to the goal line at the nearest point to where the infringement occurred

The build out line will also be used to denote where offside offenses can be called. Players cannot be penalized for an offside offense between the halfway line and the build out line, but players can be penalized for an offside offense between the build out line and goal line.

  1. Development focus within practice sessions 

For the U9-10’s practicing individual skill when alone or in pairs and small groups is strongly recommended. Training sessions should include fun and challenging skill building activities where the emphasis lies on the player’s technique. Playing at this age is still very important, so emphasis should start to move from simply the how (technique) to an appreciation of when, where, with who and against who (tactics). Use the principles of play to teach attacking and defensive topic. These objectives are best achieved through a small sided games-based approach to learning soccer. 

 

At U11 and U12 when players move to 9v9. There is a technical focus with team tactical principles used in small groups.  The sessions should always start to move from simply the how (technique) to an appreciation of when, where, with who and against who (tactics), also continue to add the principles of play into activities. Players should be encouraged and praised for playing on both sides of the ball, attacking with the ball and defending without the ball.

 

At U13-14’s when players move to 11v11 we should be looking at the game from a tactical aspect now, whilst ensuring technical proficiency is demonstrated during the sessions. The sessions should start to move from simply the how (technique) to an appreciation of when, where, with whom and against whom (tactics). Continue to add the principles of play into activities in larger groups. The players will begin to comprehend width and depth, but their execution of it will be inconsistent. This awareness of space is aided by showing the players the triangle and diamond shapes in the game. Players should be encouraged and praised for playing on both sides of the ball, which is attacking and defending. 

 

  1. The Learning Environment

As a coach, you must create an environment that remains welcoming and enjoyable for the developing child.  You want them to feel free to experiment and express themselves without fear of being criticized and punished for their creativity. Many children still see their time at soccer as an opportunity to be sociable with friends and create memories with teammates.

 

Age Group & Stage of Development

U9-U10

FUNdamentals

U11-U12

Learning to train

U13-U14

Training to train

Development Focus

Technical

Technical

Tactical

Tactical

Tactical

Technical

Psychological

Physical

Physical

Physical

Psychological

Psychological

Specialist Training

All positions

All positons

Position Specific

Attacking/Defensive

 

It is important to understand that children can be 2 years both above and below their chronological age in terms of their mental and physical development, as such you may need to adjust your behavior and methods of communication to relate to all the children
 

 

Four Corner Model
 

Technical/Tactical
This corner includes specific content regarding the game of soccer, for example: ball mastery, technique, skill development, game play and attacking and defending principles.

Physical
This corner incorporates physical movement skills which include agility, balance, coordination and speed etc. As players get older the physical challenge should increase accordingly.  

Psychological
This corner covers how players learn to play the game of soccer and cope with the different challenges it creates. Also, socially it covers how players learn life skills through the game. Some include cooperation, communication and friendship are just some of the benefits of joining a team and playing the game.

 

Technical

Tactical

Attacking Principles      Defending Principles

Physical

Psychological

1.Passing
2. Running with the ball
3. Dribbling
4. Turning
5. Shooting
6. Ball Control
7.Heading
8. 1v1 Attacking
9. Shielding the ball
10.Recieving to turn
11.Crossing and finishing
12. 1v1 Defending
-body shape
-5 Downs shut,slow,sit,stay, show.
-Block/Poke tackle
-Preventing to turn 

-Penetration
-Depth (Support)
-Mobility (off the ball runs to unbalance defence)
-Width
-Improvisation (creativity with the ball) 

-Pressure
-Delay
-Cover
-Balance
-Compactness 

1.Strength
2. Endurance
3. Speed
4.Flexibility/Mobility
5. Coordination
6. Balance
7. Agility
8. Basic motor skills
9. Perception and awareness 

Basic
1. Motivation
2. Self Confidence
3. Cooperation
4. Decision making
Advanced
5. Competitiveness
6. Concentration
7. Commitment
8. Self-Control
Social
9. Communication
10. Respect
11. Responsibility
12. Sportsmanship 

Goalkeeping 4 corner model

Technical

Tactical

Physical

Psychological

1.Ball Handling
2. Dealing with crosses
3. Dives and saves
4.Footwork
5. Positioning
6. Shot stopping & blocking 

1. Throws and distribution
2. Support play
3. Controlling tempo


 

1. Agility & reaction
2. Coordination & balance
3. Flexibility
4. Perception & awareness

 

1. Focus/attention
2. Decision/determination
3. Communication 



 

Age Considerations for goal keepers
Under 10 years old: All players should experience playing goal keeper (Hartwell has a policy that all players U12 and younger should rotate as keeper).
Areas of concentration: -four basic ball handling positions
                                          -basic positioning
                                          -basic and safe distribution (throws, rolls, no punts!)
                                          -balance and coordination

11-14/15 year olds: Players should still experiment in goal, at 11v11 U13 and older a fewer number of players serve as goal keepers.
Areas of concentration: - shot handling and diving/controlling the breakaway situation 
                                          - understanding their role as a back-pass option to maintain possession
                                          - ability to communicate and organize their defensive players
                                          - speed/power/footwork/core strength. 

Session Structure
This information is to provide a framework for all future sessions, based on one and a half hours contact time. Your preparation should be done in advance. The club seasonal plan will be used. It is a good base to ensure you cover all parts of the game and development for the player.

 

0 – 5 minutes    Arrival Activities - Whilst you are setting up, the players can be given tasks to do, either with a ball or SAQ activities or a combination of both. This doesn’t need to be supervised! (Juggling, 1v1, passing in pairs, possession keep away, small-sided games)

 

0 – 15 minutes      U9-U11 Foot skills Warm Up- players will have a ball each for the foot skills warm up with dynamic movements included.

 

U12-U14/15 will use FIFA 11+ at each practice and game to prepare the body and mind for soccer, as the players are growing and maturing players will start to get injured with muscular pulls and soreness without a full warm up. 

 

15 – 35 minutes    Technical – This should involve the technical skill/skills needed for the seasonal plan topic. This phase of training involves repetition and is structured to pairs and small groups. 


 

35 - 65 minutes    Focused Practice – This should be a progression to the session topic. This will be with larger numbers in relevant areas of the field. Use the principles of play to cover the tactical side of the game. 

    -Progressions- build up the practice to increase the difficulty and intensity.
-Individual tasks maybe given to stronger or weaker players’.

    -Unopposed to opposed practices, add defenders and competition.

 

65 – 85 minutes    Game Practice – This is where the players can practice the techniques and tactics learnt in the previous phase. This stage should look like the game or have conditions to bring out the topic of the session. For U9-U12’s small sided games are extremely beneficial as the contact time with the ball is much greater than a 7v7/9v9 situation. 

-Try to avoid too much coaching during this part of the session, finish with the last part of the game with NO coaching. 

 

85 – 90 minutes    Cool Down – Jogging, walking and light activity. Static stretching is needed for U12 and older. 

 

  1. Pre-and Post Game Stretching

Prior to a game or activity, players should be gradually exposed to a comprehensive dynamic warm up that prepares the body for exercise (U9-U11, drills that incorporate ball work with dynamic movement are sufficient, U12 and older should use a more formal regimen like FIFA 11+). A comprehensive dynamic warm-up doesn’t take any longer than the more traditional static stretching method, but is proven to be much more focused and effective at both the prevention of injury during, and preparation for, exercise. Further advantages are as follows:


1. It involves continuous movement; it maintains warmth in the body and muscles. Research suggests that many athletes drop their core temperature by 2-3° after traditional sit and stretch routines.

2. It prepares the muscles and joints in a more sport specific manner than static stretching reducing the likelihood of injury.

3. It enhances coordination and motor ability. 

4. Finally, it prepares the mind for the workout ahead (mental preparation). 


*Upon completion of any game or training session children at U12 and older should perform several static stretches to help the body’s recovery process. Static stretching after exercise will help prevent the onset of lactic acid and the subsequent aching feeling it induces. Furthermore, it helps the body retain its flexibility levels which naturally begin to deteriorate at this age.

 

  1. Small Sided Games

All ages can play and benefit from small-sided games, but it has the greatest developmental impact on younger soccer players. As children grow and develop they progress through these stages and subsequently they mature physically, emotionally and mentally. As such, small-sided games are endorsed for children as they provide them with a stair step approach to learning and playing the adult game of soccer. The small-sided game environment allows players the opportunity to gradually learn about and fall in love with soccer. They begin to understand the rules of the game, the tactical concepts involved and teamwork principles at a rate appropriate to their age and development

 

The tables below (from the Manchester United 4v4 pilot scheme & the SFA) evidence this point, highlighting the differences between several different technical aspects of the game witnessed when playing small sided as opposed to larger sided soccer.

 

See tables below

 

 

No of Passes

Scoring attempts

Goals

1 v 1 Encounter

Dribbling opportunities

2 Goal Game

177

44

18

51

39

End zone Game 

160

 

37

56

58

GK Game

149

49

17

92

36

4 Goal Game

106

62

28

52

45

8 v 8 Game

108

20

5

28

16

 

 

Game Size

Average touches per game

Average individual touches per game

Average touches per minute

Attempted
1 v 1’s

Total Goals

Attempted Passes

Total time with the ball out of play (mins)

4 v 4

917

115

2.86

113

33

350

3.2

7 v 7

769

55

1.4

79

11

241

5

11 v 11

489

22

0.74

50

5

180

13.1

 

  1.  
  2. Other Club Topics

    1. Tactical Training sessions 

The club are introducing three tactical sessions this Fall season for our U11-U14/15 teams, the sessions will be scheduled prior to the start of the league season. They will run Friday’s or Saturday’s with one of our professional coaches. All session topics will be game related to enhance our players tactical knowledge and game understanding.  We are aiming to follow US Soccer guidelines of 3:1 practice to game ratio.

  1. Friendlies

The amount of soccer games played by our Hartwell travel teams is an issue. We play too many games. US Soccer recommends 3:1 practice to game ratio. We should be decreasing the number of friendlies on a Saturday to aid the development of our children. Alternatively, we are promoting:

-Extra technical practice

-A tactical session

-Unstructured play or small sided games (4v4’s) 

-A rest day

 

U9-U12 is the key time to develop our children into strong technical soccer players, therefore more time in an environment which allows teaching and learning the better our children will be.  Likewise at U13-14/15’s at 11v11 is the time where tactics become more prominent therefore use this time to work on tactical aspects of the game. Work on corners and set piece, cover the team shape and formations, it’s a good opportunity to work on tactical topics we cannot cover in the three hours of practice during the week.

 

GHSC Recommendations of the number of friendly games per season:
U9-U10: 1-2 per season

U11-U12: 2-3 per season

U13 & U14/15: 3-4 per season

 

  1. Tournaments

We recommend that all Travel teams play one tournament in the Fall, our Hartwell tournament in the Spring plus one other in the late Spring if you decide that’s in the best interests for the team.  The participation in these tournaments by youth teams often creates a “win-at-all cost” attitude and has a negative influence on player development, but at the same time can be fantastic bonding experiences for teams and families.  So we look to balance those pros and cons.


 

  1. Seasonal Plans

The club provide a seasonal plan that looks at the season holistically and is in place to develop the player over the long term. USYS/US Soccer have recommendations which we used and produced our own in alignment to them by making them age and ability appropriate. 

The reason we use them is to allow maximum development of our children by covering each area of the game over a season. We cannot react to game disappointments ie: not scoring, so the next week at practice we do three hours of shooting. Reacting to games is very short sighted and doesn’t help long term player development. 

 

  1. Session Planning

Session planning is a huge part of the role of a coach. If sessions are not planned you will not maximize the time you have with the children, consequently the players will suffer. 

 

A well-planned session which moves quickly from one activity to the other increases to the satisfaction of the players, allows less time horse around, and keeps the children engaged throughout the session. Planning a successful session takes skill, a skill which is developed over time. Please plan each session highlighting key coaching points whilst keeping to ONE topic per session.  

 

You can find a GHSC session plan on the website under travel coaches corner. 

 

Team Practice                    

 

  • Plan your session

  • Focus on individual technique

  • Show progression (simple to complex)

  • Identify ‘key’ coaching points to address. 

  • Relate to the Principles of Play

  • Relate back to the game.

  • Ask the 5 W’s- who? what? why? where? when? 

  • Let them play at least 15 mins at the end.

  1. Game Day-on the bench

The head coach takes responsibility and a leadership role. Give tasks to the assistant/s. Please be on the same page, conflicting and constant messages are confusing for players. Only have one voice on the field use praise, positive feedback and questioning. Positional instruction is a good tool, but try not to direct too much. Be aware of on, off and around the ball. It’s common to get too caught up in the play attacking then you don’t recognize the defense are sat on the edge of your box and are far too deep. Please do not take the decision away from the player on the ball ‘pass, dribble, shoot’. You should not be micromanaging each player, let them play!

 

Interaction on the bench; have an assistant on the bench to coach whilst the players are resting. You can highlight the areas of the individual’s weakness or the position they are playing next. The assistant could also ask for feedback on the game, what can we do better as a team? What is working for us?

 

One assistant should take the lead on substitute timings and position rotation to ensure everyone is getting playing time and players are rotation positions. 

 

Pre-Game team talk

  • Announce the starting line up

  • One or two focuses of the game (example: use width in attack, pressure on the ball.)

  • Be positive and motivate

  • Individual instruction (example: right midfielder stay wide and support the attack & defence)
     

  • Half time team talk

  • Let the players hydrate and self-evaluate for a few minutes

  • Ask questions ‘What are we doing well?’ ‘How can we improve?’ 

  • Filter the answers to pick out one or two key focuses for the second half

  • Individual instruction


 

Post-game team talk 

  • No in depth feedback needed

  • High fives, see you at practice

  • Go through the game feedback; positives and areas of improvement at the start of practice
     

  1. Game day Warm Up

U9-U11

  1. Foot skills/moves and turns- all players have a ball.

  2. 1v1’s- create competition

  3. Passing and possession- pairs leading to 3v1- increase numbers depending on ability. This needs to be game realistic and competitive to emulate the game they are about to play. 

The GK to warm up with an assistant coach (ball handling/throwing/goal kicks/area of play).

 

Please no shooting in a long line, static stretching or 1 ball to 10’s of players! All players need to be active and getting valuable touches on the ball prior to the game. 


U12- U14/15

  1. Dynamic warm up- without a ball, FIFA 11+.

  2. Brief foot skills each players has a ball. 

  3. Passing in groups- vary ball striking surface and length. 

  4. Possession (4v4 plus 2 x2 or 7v7 plus 4 neutrals) create competition- Game realistic 

 

The GK to warm up with an assistant coach or subs (ball handling/throwing/goal kicks/area of play). 

 

Try to create structure so players should know the warm up routine after a couple of weeks, give the players ownership of the warm up. 

  1. 7v7 Information

Players coming into Travel Soccer at U9 should be able to:
-Dribbling with head up
-Passing with correct technique to a team mate
-Receiving- first touch to somewhere new
-Finishing- shooting off the dribble
-Principles of play- I have the ball vs I don’t. (penetration vs pressure)

  1.  
  2. Key Focuses for U9 and U10

Technical

Tactical

Dribbling – fakes and feints to pass, shoot or penetrate 

Penetration from defending half- build out line 

Passing – weight and accuracy of short range   (5-10yards)

Depth- when and how to support the play

Receiving- ground pass-forward, lateral, backward 

Width- reinforcement and development of stretching the field wide 

Shooting- off the dribble and introduce one touch finishing

Length- reinforcement and development of stretching the field (length ways)

Individual defending- poke tackle

Defending- ‘win the ball back’ 

 

Players leaving 7v7 should have the following competencies:
-Dribbling- purposeful using fakes and feints to penetrate
-Passing- improved weight and accuracy of pass in short to medium range
-Receiving- to move forward or keep possession on the first touch
-Shooting- correct surface selection (lace vs inside) related to shooting range
-Attacking principles- Penetration, depth and some idea of width
-Defending principles- Pressure, cover with some idea of balance.

 

  1. Formation 1-3-2-1



 

  
 







 

Roles and Responsibilities 

Goalkeeper

1. Protect the goal
2.Distribute wide and quickly (first line of attack)

3. Communicate and organize

 

Wide Defenders 

1. Defend- pressure, cover, balance

2. Distribute- play out from the back

3. Attack- join the play on your side of the field 



 

 








 

Defensive Shape- stay compact                 Attacking Shape- LD/RD join attack










 

Corner Kicks- LD/RD take                         Thrown ins- LD/RD take 










 

    

    

  1. 7v7 Playing Out of the Back












 

Goal kicks: The goal keeper should take all goal kicks from the center of the 6 yard box, that way the player can plat to the left or the right of the field. GK should play wide and quickly to not allow the defending team to get organized.  We are aiming to possess the ball and play out from the back (start the attack) and not to punt the ball aimlessly to the opposition team and lose possession but gain yards. 

 

Option 1- play to a wide defender at the side of the box away from danger (RD or LD). Play with a roll or throw if the ball is in the GK’s hands. 

 

Option 2 - play to the wide to the central defender (CD). Play with a throw if the ball is in the GK’s hands.

 

  • Play quickly

  • Accurate rolls and throws over kicking.

  • Vary the goal kicks throughout the game.

  • Movement of the players to a receive a pass is vital.

  • GK should use the full box if the ball is in their hands.

  • Play smart and with thought. 



 

  1. 9v9 Information

Players entering 9v9 should have the following competencies:
-Dribbling- purposeful using fakes and feints to penetrate
-Passing- improved weight and accuracy of pass in short to medium range
-Receiving- to move forward or keep possession on the first touch
-Shooting- correct surface selection (lace vs inside) related to shooting range
-Attacking principles- Penetration, depth and some idea of width
-Defending principles- Pressure, cover with some idea of balance

 

  1. Key Focuses for U11 and U12

Technical

Tactical

Defending:
-Angle, speed and distance of approach
-Footwork and body shape
-Tackling

Defending:
-Pressure and delay, where and why?

-Cover and balance, who and where?

-Compactness, when, where and why? 

Attacking:

-Accuracy and pace of passing
-Receiving, reading visual cues
-Finishing, power vs accuracy 

Attacking:

-Penetration, when and how? 

-Support: depth, when and where?
                  width, when and why? 

 

Players leaving 9v9 should have the following competencies:
-Recognize and respond to visual cues to begin tactical adjustment ie switch the ball
-Ability to pass short and medium distances and change the speed of play
-Develop attacking and defensive partnerships with teammates in front, behind and by the side.
-Attacking principles- individual and team movement to create space
-Defending principles- apply pressure in team units. 





 

  1. Formation 1-3-3-2


     








 

Roles and Responsibilities 

Goalkeeper

1. Protect the goal
2.Distribute wide and quickly (first line of attack)

3. Communicate and organize 

 

Wide Defenders 

1. Defend- pressure, cover, balance

2. Distribute- play out from the back

3. Attack- join the play on your side of the field 



 

Wide Midfielders     

1. Support- both attack and defend

2. Stretch the field- use width

3. Penetrate with passing, dribbling and shooting

 

 






 

Defensive Shape- stay compact                         Attacking Shape- spread out

 








 

Corner Kicks- LD/RD take                         Throw ins- LD/RD take 













 

  1. 9v9- Playing out from the back












 

Goal kicks and GK options: The goal keeper should take all goal kicks from the center of the 6 yard box, that way the player can plat to the left or the right of the field. GK should play wide and quickly to not allow the defending team to get organized.  We are aiming to possess the ball and play out from the back (start the attack) and not to punt the ball aimlessly to the opposition team and lose possession but gain yards. 

 

Option 1- play to a wide defender at the side of the box away from danger (RD or LD). Play with a roll or throw if the ball is in the GK’s hands. 

 

Option 2 - play to the wide to the midfielder (RM or LM). Play with a throw if the ball is in the GK’s hands. 

 

Option 3 - would be to kick the ball into space in a wide area for the LM or RM.

Key points:

  • Play quickly

  • Accurate rolls and throws over kicking.

  • Vary the goal kicks throughout the game.

  • Movement of the players to a receive a pass is vital.

  • GK should use the full box if the ball is in their hands.

  • Play smart and with thought. 


 

  1. 11v11 Information

    1. 1-4-4-2 Formation

The club recommend the formation at U13 and older. The 4-4-2 would refer to the arrangement of one goalkeeper, four defenders, four midfielders and two strikers. 

 

A 4-4-2 formation offers or allows for the flexibility for the team in both attack and defense. In attack or possession of the ball, the left and right midfielders would operate as wingers to push up and join the strikers. Furthermore, of the two central midfielders, one or both can also push to join the attack and fall or drop back to assist the defense in case of a break or counter attack by the opposition. 

 

As for defending or without possession of the ball, one striker would assist in dropping down to the midfield to contest possession while the other striker holds high at half way. The midfielders assist the containing of the opposition’s attacks by tracking back. 

 

There is balance thorough the team as there are tactically cover for all positions.  In theory, the whole field would be covered by the players employed under such a formation since each player is dedicated to an individual role. The 4-4-2 allows width and depth on the soccer field.

 

Key points:

  • The number of angles of support to receive from a teammate is countless.

  • Allows width to play from the back

  • Wide players push forward to support striker

  • Wide defenders push up, support and overlap the attack on your side of the field.

  • One striker, stay high to allow an outlet forward and provide depth.




Roles and Responsibilities 

Goalkeeper

1. Protect the goal
2.Distribute wide and quickly

3. Communicate and organize

 

Wide Defenders 

1. Defend- pressure, cover, balance

2. Distribute- play out from the back

3. Support the attack- combine/overlap

4. Don’t allow crosses into our box


 

Wide Midfielders 

1. Support- both attack and defend

2. Stretch the field- use width

3. Supply and score

4. Beat defenders 1v1


 

Attacking Midfielder

1. Supply and score 

2. Support the strikers

3. Press the ball when lost 

4. Commit defenders- penetrating passes/dribbling. 


 

There are a million and one different formations out there, but we suggest you keep things simple and consistent. The more times you switch formation and player roles the more confusion you will have. Over complex tactics or instructions would cause miscommunications or problems in execution especially in youth soccer.

 

Please spend some time going over the formation with your players and the roles and responsibilities each position has. I encourage you to keep the practice environment consistent to the game environment.

 

For example: you are working on defending in practice, have 3 (defenders) v attack so you can defend pressure, cover and balance like in a game situation (7v7). Likewise, if the practice topic is shooting and attacking set your four midfielders with two strikers to emulate the formation on game day (11v11). 

 

  1. 11v11- Playing out from the back
























 

Goal kicks and GK options: The goal keeper should take all goal kicks from the center of the 6 yard box, that way the player can plat to the left or the right of the field. GK should play wide and quickly to not allow the defending team to get organized.  We are aiming to possess the ball and play out from the back (start the attack) and not to punt the ball aimlessly to the opposition team and lose possession but gain yards. 

 

Option 1- play to a wide central defender at the side of the box away from danger. Play with a roll or throw if the ball is in the GK’s hands. 

Option 2- play centrally in the space created by the CM’s.

Option 3- play to the wide defenders (RD/LD). Play with a throw or kick if the ball is in the GK’s hands. 

Option 4- would be to kick the ball towards a striker moving into wide space away from their marker. 

Key points:

  • Play quickly

  • Accurate rolls and throws over kicking.

  • Vary the goal kicks throughout the game.

  • Movement of the players to a receive a pass is vital.

  • GK should use the full box if the ball is in their hands.

  • Play smart and with thought















 

Set piece information 

Goal kicks:

The goal keeper takes the kick quickly to a wide defender at the side of the box away from danger (1.CD in example). Option 2.is to play to the open midfielder (DM) Option 3 would be to find a longer pass wide to the RD.  Option 4 is to pass the ball into space towards the strikers (ST) to react to. 

 

Key points:

  • Play quickly

  • Play wide away from danger

  • Vary the goal kicks throughout the game.

  • Movement of the players to create space or receive
    a pass


 


 


Corner Kicks: The wide midfielder on whichever side will take the corner. As players of this age may struggle to reach the box, we recommend a short corner if that is the case. 

 

Option 1 shows the LM passing to the LD then does an overlap around LD to receive a pass to cross the ball from a closer distance.
 

Option 2 is a short corner to the LD and then LD dribbles in the box to cross to the middle. 

 

Option 3 is a direct long cross to the middle.

Key points:

  • Play smart to fit the team/players ability

  • Have set practiced corner kicks ready 

  • Have players identified to take the corners

  • Vary the corners throughout the game

  • Movement of the players to create space or receive
    a pass












Throw-ins: All throw-ins are taken by the wide defender on the side the ball went out of play. The aim of the throw in is to maintain possession of the ball not gain yards up the field. Therefore the thrower may throw in any direction to a player who can keep the ball. Do not just throw the ball towards the goal aimlessly to gain yards. By having the wide defender all the way up the field gives us numbers up on the wide areas and encourages players to have freedom to go forward.
 

Key points:

  • Keep possession of the ball

  • Movement of the players to create space or receive the throw





 

Free Kicks:
Area 1. The free kick should be played short and smart. Restart the play and build another attack.

Area 2. The angle is too narrow to shoot, the ball should be crossed aiming for the far (back) post.

Area 3. This is a perfect angle to shoot. Take a direct shot or play a quick short free kick to then shoot.

Area 4. This is a great shooting opportunity. Take a direct shot or play a quick short free kick to give you a better shooting angle past the wall.                         

Key points:

  • Play smart to fit the team/players ability

  • Have set practiced free kicks ready

  • Identify players to take the free kicks

  • Vary the type of free kick throughout the game

  • Movement of the players to create space or react to the shot. 

  • Always follow up the shot and put pressure on the goalkeeper. 

 

  1. Long-Term Player Development

The development of soccer players is a continuum that overlaps age groups. The following are the top 10 objectives in the development of a soccer player:

 

1.Develop the child’s love of the game.

2. Keep winning and losing in proper perspective.

3. Be sensitive to each player’s development needs.

4. Educate the players to the technical, tactical, physical and psychological demands of the game for their level of play.

5. Implement rules and equipment modifications according to the players’ age group.

6. Allow players to experience all positions.

7. Players need to have fun and receive positive feedback.

8. Training should be conducted in the spirit of enjoyment and learning.

9. Provide the appropriate number of training sessions and matches per the player’s stage
of development.

10. Strive to help each player reach their full potential.

As a team sport, soccer is a late specialization sport. A multi-sport experience provides a solid base to long-term development as a soccer player. From 6 to 12 years of age, children should have opportunities to be in different sports. Concentrating on one sport is inappropriate in terms of physical and game- sense development. As a club, many of our players play multiple sports, this is a positive thing for us as a club and you as a coach. There is so much crossover between sports and having well rounded athletes can only benefit us on the soccer field. 

  1. A word about Winning

A lot of the world’s leading research on youth and talent development cites an over emphasis on winning as the most fundamental component associated with dropout from sport. When young children play soccer their primary areas of focus revolve around intrinsic rewards and their level of action; personal involvement and their ability to create and refine friendships whilst learning new skills. They are not overtly concerned with winning or becoming the game’s MVP. As such, creating an environment where these objectives can be achieved should be the main goal of every coach in our program. It is reasonable to contend that should you follow the suggested player development procedures, winning would follow as a natural bi product of your team acquiring the required skills, knowledge and understanding to play the game effectively. 

 

SUCCESS = PLAYER DEVELOPMENT

 

  1. GHSC Key Coaching Points- Checklist

This document breaks down each technique and skill that will help you every day in practice and games.

For technical videos, see the link below:

 

https://leagueathletics.com/Page.asp?n=41455&org=pop.glastonburysoccer.org

 

  1. Short Passing

Look at the ball, target and then back at the ball

Non-kicking foot level and alongside the ball

Kicking foot is turned out and the ankle kept firm

Strike the ball with the inside of the foot, about halfway up the ball

Follow through with your kick

When using the outside of the foot, the non-kicking foot should be further away from the ball and the ankle of the kicking foot held firm

Body position should be upright with the knee and head over the ball

 

  1. Long Passing

Lofted 

Ball – target – ball

Approach to the ball can be straight or slightly angled

Non-kicking foot to the side and slightly behind the ball

Strike the ball with the top part of the foot (instep or laces)

Strike the ball through the middle, bottom part of the ball to get height

Follow through with your kick for accuracy

Body position should be fairly upright with the head steady (No need to lean back)

 

Swerve

Ball – target – ball

Angled approach to the ball

Non-kicking foot away from and slightly back from the ball

Strike the ball with either the outside (base of the little toe) or inside (base of the big toe) of the foot

Wrap the foot round the ball (long contact)

 

Driven

Ball – target – ball

Straight or slightly angled approach to the ball

Non-kicking foot alongside the ball

Strike the ball with the laces (instep) through the middle of the ball

Straight follow through with an exaggerated knee lift

 

Chip

Ball – target – ball

Straight on approach to the ball

“Stab” the foot sharply at the bottom of the ball

No follow through

 

General Key Coaching Points – Accuracy, pace, timing of release, disguise

Checklist for effective passing

-Ball behind the last defender

-Ball to the feet of the furthest forward

-Ball past at least one defender

-Pass square to keep possession

-Pass back to keep possession

  1. Ball Control

Watch the ball as it arrives

Quick glance over your shoulder

Get into line

Decide which surface to use

Relax on contact with the ball to cushion into playing distance or wedge into space

 

  1. Turning

Inside hook

Non-kicking foot outside and away from the ball

Kicking foot wraps around the front of the ball to change direction

Accelerate away

 

Outside hook

Non-kicking foot alongside the ball and slightly ahead

Kicking foot around the front of the ball and play it with the outside of the foot to change direction

Accelerate away

 

Drag back

Non- kicking foot alongside the ball

Kicking foot goes on top of the ball and drags the ball back with the sole of the foot

Try to play the ball with the outside of the same foot

Accelerate away

 

Cruyff turn

Fake to strike or cross the ball – arm out for balance

Kicking foot goes around the front of the ball

Ball is played back behind the standing leg with the base of the big toe

Accelerate away

 

  1. Running with the Ball

Big first touch into space

Accelerate after the ball

Play the ball with the instep of the front foot (every 4 or 5 paces)

Assess the situation continually- decision at the end of the run – Pass, shot or turn

  1. Heading

Watch the ball

Head the ball with the upper forehead (natural hairline)

Defensive – head the lower part of the ball, aim for height and distance

Use power from legs, hips, shoulders and neck

 

Attacking – head upper part of the ball

Off ground, head at the highest possible point

Use arms for leverage but take care 

  1. Dribbling

Have a positive attitude

Slow in, fast out

Try to unbalance your opponent

 

Matthews – inside and outside of the same foot

Double touch – inside of one foot across the body to inside of other foot and back across

Step-over – step around the front of the ball with a big step from inside to out, take the ball away with outside of the opposite foot

  1. Defending

1 V 1

Make up ground as the ball is travelling

Slow down last few paces

Feet shoulder width apart, knees bent, sideways on to attacker

Weight on balls of feet

Arms out for balance

Try to seize the initiative (feints for the ball)

Don’t go to ground

 

2 V 1

Your job is to delay the attack

Move feet quickly

Keep between the ball and the goal

Try to force the shot/pass from least dangerous area

 

2 V 1+1 (recovering)

First defender should be communicating

Recovering defender should take the shortest route back to goal

If possible, win the ball on the way back

If not, adopt cover position as soon as possible

 

2 V 2

First defender pressures the ball (as 1 v 1)

Try to show attacker where you want him to go

Second defender provides communication

Second defender provides cover goal-side (angle & distance) 

 

3 V 3 or 4 V 4

First defender pressures the ball

Second defender provides cover

Third (and/or fourth) provide balance away from the ball (arc shape – see the number on the back of the shirt in front of you)

  1. Shooting

Observe the position of the goalkeeper

When shooting from an angle, try to shoot across the keeper to the far post

Be alert for rebounds

A shot is just a pass into the goal, so the key factors for shooting are the same as the Key Factors for passing

  1. Creating Space

As an individual

Move the defender away from the area you want to use

Move back into the space you have left at speed

Look over your shoulder as pass comes in

If you have space, receive on the back foot

If defender is tight, receive on foot furthest from defender

 

As a team

Spread out wide from side to side and end to end

Rotation of players through central areas