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Coaching Soccer 101

Soccer Basics

Part 1 - The Game Within the Game

The easiest way to coach soccer is to think about the "GAME WITHIN THE GAME". At any given moment during a match, find the soccer ball, and there will be a small sided game.
In a 11V11 YOUTH match, the small sided game is usually 3v3 or 4v4.
In a MICRO SOCCER match, there will be a 1v1 or a 2v2 small sided "game within the game".

Images of 11v11 soccer diagram.

Here is an example of what a regular 11 V11 game might look like. Player #7 has the soccer ball. Notice the players in the area of the soccer ball.

Images of 11v11 soccer diagram.

On Offense, players 10,3,2 are all one pass away and can directly change the game Since this is a youth game, players 9,6,8,1 are more than one pass away and probably will not impact the game at this moment.

On Defense, 6,9,5,10 are in the small sided game.

Images of 11v11 soccer diagram.

If player number 7 passes the ball to player # 3, we have a new small sided game.

PART 2 - Individual ROLES of soccer players

Note: words in RED are the actual soccer terms. Words in " " are layman's terms

Understanding the individual roles of soccer players will help the coach to identify areas the team can work on.

Images of 4v4 game.

OFFENSE/ATTACKING PRINCIPLES

FIRST Attacker (#3) is the player with the soccer ball
.
Role or "JOB" is to
penetrate or "push the soccer ball forward"
This happens three ways. Shoot, pass, dribble. A shot would be the first option. If player cannot pass,dribble or shoot,
keep possesion.

2ND Attacker the next closest player(s) to the 1st attacker

Role
is to Support or "HELP". The player helps out his teammate by spreading out and being in a good position for a pass and/or makes a run for a pass. Also makes sure one defender cannot cover two attackers.

3RD Attackers role is to unbalance or "make the field big"
Note: most youth coaches will not have to focus on 3RD attackers.

Images of 4v4 game.

DEFENSE/DEFENDING PRINCIPLES

FIRST Defender (#10) is the player
marking the 1ST attacker
#10's role or "JOB" is to
PRESSURE the first attacker or stop the 1st attacker from being able to penetrate. The "three "D's" of defense are as follows:
  • The player should communicate with teammates " I GOT BALL" and pressures quickly but not too quick where the 1st attacker can go around.This is called "delay" or slowing the player down.
  • As #10 gets closer to # 3, his/her steps shorten, body lower, feet and body at an angle. This is called deny. Stopping any further penetration.
  • The last D is "destroy". Win the soccer ball. But that is only when the player knows there is a teammate behind in good position.
2ND Defenders (#5) is in the area of the ball and their role is COVER.
Backup first defender while being in position to become 1st defender if #7 gets the ball. Proper angle and distance is important
When the 2ND Defender is in position he/she communicates with 1st defender " I GOT YOUR BACK". Now the 1st defender can get more agresssive and instead of deny, the 1st defender can try to win the ball.

3RD Defenders role is to Balance. Proper spacing to make it difficult for offense to penetrate.
Note: most youth coaches will not have to focus 3RD Defenders