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U10/U12 - 'Learning to Train'


U10 - 7v7       U11/U12 - 9v9
Goalkeepers - YES                
Throw-ins - YES            
Offside - YES                
7v7 Game Time: 2x25 mins

9v9 Game Time: 2x30 mins


Things to consider:

As coaches, we need remember that kids play for fun. During the transition into U11 soccer, many of our players start to play competitive forms of the game. We still value creating an environment which is fun, challenging, where failure is accepted but not expected. We praise hard work, effort and attitude over talent, skill and ability. We promote a growth mindset. When children fear failure, they fear opportunity. We encourage calculated risk taking, failing is okay as long as the intentions behind the action were right.


Small-sided games (SSG’s) that scale down the adult game to an appropriate size will maximize touches for the individual player and keep the game exciting. Imposing full field games on youth players too early will frustrate and hinder their development.  Players go through stages of development. As coaches we need to know the stages and recognize where our players are on the continuum.

Developmental focus: ‘Learning to Train’

1) Technical - 45% – Challenge the players to maneuver the ball individually, focus should be on ball mastery skills as well as passing/receiving/heading. Allow the kids as much time with their individual ball
2) Social - 20% – Make it fun, enjoyable and continue to develop the ‘love-affair’ environment for the players
3) Tactical - 15% – Requirement. Enforce position specific training and formations/ways to play is needed
4) Physical - 10% -  Keep the players moving, active and engaged as much  as possible
5) Psychological - 10% – A  requirement – continue to challenge players to think/mentally engage with soccer related concepts

U10/U12: The Dawn of Team Tactics (The Player, the ball, and his Supporting Group)

As players improve their technique and passing range, their tactical vision expands accordingly. Players should be able to successfully pass the ball 10-30 yards consistently. Players are beginning to chip the ball and can lift and cross the ball over short distances. They are still unable to handle the passing and crossing demands of the 11-a-side game and are still struggling to deal with the bounce, speed and height of trajectory of long passes.

Teams are not yet able to keep possession for long periods. The ball changes possession often and goes out-of-bounds frequently. During this ‘Learning the Train’ phase, teams will adopt ‘A Contemporary playing style’ (See in my Personal Coaching Philosophy page)


Tom's Recommendations:


1.     Train two/three times per week with an introduction to ‘Specialist Positions’

2.     Complete 3-4 evaluations per player/ per season

*The above information combines theories and ideologies of the NSCAA Player Development Plan & LTAD* 

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