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Iowa Soccer's Training and Game Recommendations

 

The Back Player:  U06/08 Small-sided games

Implementation of the small-sided game is a progressive step designed to make our system of play developmentally appropriate. However, due to the decreased field size and number of players, it is conceivable that some coaches may take this opportunity to apply the simplest, most direct strategies for winning and negate the developmental benefits of playing small-sided games.
 
To be sure, any coach could place a player permanently protecting the home goal, thus creating a very direct and negative approach to the game. In such an approach, the creativity, fluidity and fun of the game are lost.
 
Therefore, the back player should not be limited to his/her own half of the field; instead the back player should be given freedom to move with the play and transition between attacking and defensive positions as dictated by the game. Coaches should consider the negative psychological impact on those players given the sole task of stopping the opposition scoring. How fun can it be standing there all alone, while their teammates are having a blast trying to score at the other end of the field? The basic strategy for all players should be that when their team loses possession everyone funnels back to defend.
 
The Iowa Soccer Association encourages coaches to provide a structure that allows for players to be creative, make decisions and move fluidly throughout the field. Young players will develop best by providing an open style of play in which they are allowed to learn.
 
In short, no player should be permanently positioned as a defender or "goalkeeper", in front of their own goal in the U6 and U8 small-sided games.

 

Playing Direct:  U10 Small-Sided Games

Implementation of the small-sided game is a progressive step designed to make our system of play developmentally appropriate. However, due to the decreased field size and number of players, it is conceivable that some coaches may take this opportunity to apply the simplest, most direct strategies for winning and negate the developmental benefits of playing small-sided games.

To be sure, any coach could place a player permanently in front of the opposition’s goal and tell the goalkeeper to kick it long every time, thus creating a very direct and negative approach to the game. In such an approach, the creativity, fluidity and fun of the game are lost.

Therefore, the goalkeeper should not be limited to kicking the ball and should be encouraged to roll the ball out, play short, and keep possession. The forwards should be given freedom to move with the play and transition between attacking and defensive positions as dictated by the game.

The Iowa Soccer Association encourages coaches to provide a structure that allows for players to be creative, make decisions and move fluidly throughout the field. Young players will develop best by providing an open style of play in which they are allowed to learn.

In short, coaches should not permanently place a player in front of the opposition’s goal or encourage their goalkeeper to predominantly kick the ball long in the U10 small-sided games.

 

How to Treat the Advanced Player at the Youth and Recreational Levels

Inherently, at the youth and recreational levels of soccer (and especially at the U8/U10 level) coaches come upon players who are at varying levels of advancement and talent. The more advanced player, naturally experiences a greater level of success, whether that be scoring goals or being able to possess the ball for sustained periods of time by dribbling. Oftentimes, coaches feel they must restrain or place limits on the advanced player to placate other players or team parents. The coach will either lessen the playing time of the player or instruct him that he must pass instead of dribbling or scoring. These actions punish the player for experiencing success, discourage him from enjoying his skills, and stunt his development as a player. The advanced player should be given the same freedoms and opportunities as his cohorts, including equal playing time and no restrictions.

 

Training Session Duration

The most effective training sessions are those that replicate the length of the game. By replicating game level intensity during a practice session players will be able to perform at a higher level during a game situation.

If your practice session is much longer then the time period of a game the level of intensity drops and this becomes apparent in your game day performance.

Under 10 age group players are also psychologically unable to maintain focus for extended periods. Therefore, for training sessions to be effective, the psychological characteristics of players must be taken into consideration.

Iowa Soccer recommended training session duration:
  • U06 45 minutes
  • U08 45-60 minutes
  • U10 60 minutes
  • U12 75 minutes
  • U14 90 minutes
  • U16 90 minutes
  • U18 90-105 minutes
 
 

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