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U7-U9 - The Fundamentals


U7/U8 - 4v4
Goalkeepers - NO               
Throw-ins – NO         
Offside - NO             
Game Time: 4x8 mins

U9 - 7v7
Goalkeepers - YES                      
Throw-ins - YES          
Offside - YES              
Game Time: 2x25 mins


Things to consider:

As coaches, we need remember that kids play for fun. When it stops being fun, they hide away and development becomes stagnant.  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: ‘The FUNdamentals’

1) Technical - 60% – 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 - 15% – Make it fun, enjoyable and continue to develop the ‘love-affair’ environment for the players
3) Physical - 15% -  Keep the players moving, active and engaged as much  as possible
4) Tactical - 5% – Limited requirement. No specific talk of positions, introduction to formations and ways to play is needed
5) Psychological - 5% – A requirement –  start to challenge players to think/mentally engage with soccer related concepts

U7/U9: Blossoming individual technique (The Player, His Ball, and His Partner)


Players in this age group must be able to control, dribble and pass short passes consistently before they are ready to start solving tactical problems. For example, the player on the ball is beginning to make decisions on when to pass, when to dribble, and when to shoot. The player without the ball begins to think about his position and movement in relation to the ball and opponent. To simplify, players are technically within the 4v4 game range (although game is 7v7) Tactically, the players are learning to cope with the 2v2 game.  It’s important to make a distinction here that U9/U10 players are not really playing 7v7, the game is broken down into smaller 3v3/4v4s within the 7v7 environment we have created for them.


Tom's Recommendations:


1.     Train twice per week (Attack to Defend) with a duration of 45-60mins (Per Practice)

2.     Fill out 2 evaluation forms per player, per year!

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

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