Tag Archives: coaching

Kicking Technique

Teaching Young Kids Proper Soccer Kicking Technique

One of our readers asked for drills and tips on teaching his kids to kick properly (and not with the toes), so we thought we’d post here for everyone’s benefit. 

One of our favorite drills to practice proper shooting is the trap and shoot drill. We recommend drills where the ball is moving, because that is what the players will encounter most during the game. The important part is to teach the technique and then get the kids a lot of repetition. The basics of the technique are the following:

  • approach the ball from a slight angle, not straight on
  • plant the non-kicking foot slightly to the side of the ball
  • lock your ankle before striking the ball
  • lean forward over the ball before striking it and follow through to regain your balance after the ball was kicked.

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Choosing Formations

Tips On Choosing The Right Formation For Your Team

And why diamonds are a soccer player’s best friend


A formation is simply the way you wish to organize your players on the field during a game. Here we provide some suggestions on formations we have used in the past in the following three competition formats: 4v4, 7v7, and 11v11.

Before we get into the details, let’s take a moment to explain what the numbers in the formations mean. Numbers associated with formations (e.g., 4-4-2) explain how many players you will play in each functional line (let’s call them functional lines), from back to front. In the 4-4-2 example, you would have 4 defenders, 4 midfielders, and 2 forwards.

Sometimes formations may have more than three lines (e.g., 4-1-2-1-2), so starting from the back you would line up 4 defenders, 1 defensive midfielder, 2 regular midfielders, 1 attacking midfielder, and 2 forwards. The goalkeepers are never counted in these numbers, it is assumed that there is exactly one per team if the competition format allows for goalkeepers.

The following advice is meant for recreational players who are still developing and is actually the complete opposite of the advice we would give to teams who are in very competitive leagues.

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Goalie by cantanima

3 Things To Tell A Goalkeeper On Gameday

Most teams in recreational leagues, or even travel leagues at young ages, will not have a designated goalkeeper. Chances are that each player on your team will play at least one half during a season as a goalie, and those who really loved playing the position will want to do it for a second time if there are more halves in the season than players on your team. Therefore it is unlikely that you will spend any considerable amount of time at your practice sessions on goalkeeping drills.

Below, we offer some tips that are easy for you to communicate, and easy for the players in goal to understand, and that do not need much practice to make your goalkeepers effective. What I have done in the past is that I decided before my weekly practice who my two goalies will be at the next game and then I let them split time in goal during shooting drills at the end of that practice and again during the warmups before the game. Both, at practice, and during the warmups, I reminded them of these three things.

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Soccer Kids Battling for Ball

3 Tips On How To Stay True to the “It’s About Development, Not Winning” Philosophy On Gameday

They just scored to take a 1-0 lead late in the second half. I know exactly why they scored, I saw it coming before they scored, and I know that they are likely going to continue to threaten our goal for the next 5 minutes for the same reason. I refuse to fix the issue the easy way. Two minutes later the score is 2-0. My players’ fighting spirit has been broken. A minute later it is 3-0, and 2 minutes after that the game is over. We got blown out by a team we are equal to in every aspect of the game. What a great teaching opportunity.

This is the exact scenario I faced recently with my U-9 boys team. Even before we went down 1-0 I could see that one of my less athletic players was mismatched against a player who was not lacking in any aspect of the game. Sitting on the bench at that moment I had one player capable of stopping this future Messi, and playing in one of the wide positions already on the field I had another equally capable player. But it was my less athletic player’s turn to play in that position.

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Coaching Young Soccer Players

5 Tips for Coaching Young Soccer Players

Hint: It doesn’t have to be like herding cats

It is not unusual for a youth soccer coach to come prepared for a very productive practice, or with a great game plan, only to throw the entire plan away when the kids seem to do whatever they want, and not at all what the coach is asking them to do. First of all, when (not if) this happens it does not mean you are a bad coach or that you do not have control of your team. It is just natural for kids to act up a bit, especially when surrounded by their peers.

Coaching young players sure can be challenging, especially in recreational leagues where players join more for the social aspect of the game than the game itself. Here we offer 5 concrete tips that have helped us prevent, or at least minimize, players losing attention.
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