Coaching Soccer 101

Beehive Soccer

PLayer Safety

Watch six and seven year olds play a 6v6 soccer game. Find the soccer ball, and there you will find a “beehive” of soccer players. Why are all these players swarming the soccer ball? They want to kick it! Boot it! Touch it. Anything to make their parents cheer. But the problem is there are nine other players on the field trying to do the same thing.

In a 6v6 game they have a one in ten chance of touching the soccer ball at any given moment of the game. And they might not even touch the ball at all if they are not as aggressive as the other players.

So the real question becomes, why not put kids in an environment which they can kick or touch the soccer ball more. Seems to make sense but in hundreds of communities across the nation, beehive soccer is being played.

Modified soccer can be the solution. Yes, there are a lot of “modified” soccer programs out there. The national soccer associations have been promoting modified soccer for years. They tout more touches, easier and clearer decisions, and ability to play both sides of the ball. These are just a few of the examples of the reason why to play modified soccer. The state programs have followed suit and the “micro” philosophy has trickled down to a lot of soccer clubs by virtue of them wanting to be able to compete against the clubs that bought into the micro concept early.

But there are still a lot of grass root organizations that feel it is a step backwards to start playing 3v3 soccer. They have been programmed for many years that their league starts off playing at 6 v 6. And if they hang with it, they can work up to the ultimate goal of playing 11 v 11. So to play 3v3 seems like a major step backwards to a lot coaches and parents alike. Other excuses include the lack of field space and the challenge of recruiting more coaches.

So what is the solution? Keep up the good work. We have definitely made progress. Common sense tells us players will get more touches playing 3v3 or 4v4 soccer. The players will get more attention from coaches with a smaller coach to player ratio. Keep answering questions. Show the leagues that they do not need more field space. We also need to answer the challenge of recruiting more coaches. This is actually an opportunity. The “modified soccer level” is the perfect time to recruit coaches. Smaller team sizes, goals of making sure the kids have a fun soccer experience along with terrific training, and the chance to grow as your child grows are just a few good reasons to volunteer.

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