shadow play
Teaching positions to young soccer players (U-9, U-10, U-11) part 2
By: Chico Borja, NSCAA National Staff Coach
This is Part 2 in a two-part series. Part 1 deals with the theory behind teaching young players to play in specific positions on the field. (from the NSCAA Coaching Newsletter – September 17th, 2003)
Warm-up: Full Field – 16 players
1. In 2’s with 1 ball:
a) pass and move
b) Pass to other players and move
2. In 3’s: pass and move plus trail (Pass Back)
3. In 4’s: Pass and move, Trail and Switch
Training: 4v4 (60 x 40 field) – 2 fields
1. 4v4 game – 4 teams – Rotate teams
2.Teach how-to techniques on passing, trailing and switching (body position, feel of the pass, where to strike the football)
Technical: Full Field — Walk-through
1. Teach positions on the field with dry-erase boards to explain the different positions, and use cones to show where the positions are on the field.
2. The coach directs movement of the team while standing on the opposite field. Under the direction of the coach, the team moves forward and backward. They learn to shift from side to side. The team moves as a whole unit including the keeper.
3. The coach teaches the team to position themselves defensively and offensively according to the ball, which he is holding as he moves around the field.
Game Condition: Shadow Play – 7v7 + GK – 2 Teams
1. The goalkeeper starts the drill. Players move the ball diagonally toward the forward line finishing with a shot on goal (switch teams).
2. Introduce It’s Closed As the ball is moving forward the coach yells it’s closed thus creating a chance for the forwards or midfielders to trail the ball back to the supporting player which reverses the field through the center players (midfielder, sweeper, stopper and keeper) and to the other side and finishing with a shot on goal. You can yell it’s closed a couple of times during the drill or as needed.
3. Introduce defensive players, one per zone, and add accordingly. Defenders are passive at first.
4. Shadow play with 2 full teams. One team defends passively. Switch teams. Offensive team has success.
Game Related: 7v7 + GK
1. Full field, no restrictions.
Part 1: teaching positions to young soccer players


2 responses to “Positional Play for Young Teams II”

  1. Footie4Life says:

    More time needs to be spent on the dry erase board and watching video. I know that most clubs do not have a room for this, but a lot of them do and yet don’t utilize them. You cannot spend a ton of time in a classroom with kids of this age, but a few minutes will get the job done. Putting in a few minute video of teams switching the point of attack would be extremely helpful as well.

  2. Kwah says:

    I like the use of the term “it’s closed”…I think we underestimate young players’ abilities to understand very simple tactics. I have been pleasantly surprised at how early you can teach players simple tactics.

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