The Do's and Don'ts in Youth Soccer

The Do’s and Don’ts for Youth Soccer

By Richard Moller (UEFA A-License Holder)

How we should structure youth soccer to provide maximum benefit and a Success in practice: Keep it small

Youth soccer’s bad habits

By now we know that ages 8-12 are an ideal time for developing technique and coordination, and many European countries have made solid progress toward developing training models based on this fact quite some time ago. Here in the US many coaches let adult strategies distract them from true real abilities. 

The important concept here is all-around training: Technique and a “feel” for the ball, agility, and ability to react and adapt to various game situations are all typical goals for this phase of youth training. Practice should be “playful” and sensitive to differences in individual abilities. 

To teach basic concepts, practice sessions must be youth-appropriate, of course, but that is not enough: Matches also must be suited to the unique abilities and experiences of children. A training book is not much use to youth coaches if it requires players to overspecialize in match play, no matter how clever its practice suggestions. The relationship between practice and match play must be clear to everyone. The objectives in one area should be clearly related to objectives in the other. This is the only way to teach basic soccer effectively. 

From the study:

Comparison of average lacticacid levels of 8-10-year-olds in 9 vs. 9 and 7 vs. 7: Average level is 3.6 mmol/l lactate

In the 9 vs 9 match, the more talented players and the central midfield players work much harder than defenders and attackers. 

Part B: The wrong game for 6-10-year-olds coming soon