Town Youth Commission sponsors Spring and Fall non-competitive soccer.   

   Dear Volunteer Coaches,

The GYSC thanks each each of you for providing a safe and healthy environment for over 200 recreational players this fall.

The are four things that detract from a fun soccer experience: lines, laps, lectures and when a coach or parent looses their temper. Try to avoid these four pitfalls at all costs.

LINES - Lines lead to boredom and misbehavior. Long lines where one child takes a turn at a time prevent skill development. Avoid any and all lines. We want players actively engaged at all times.

LAPS - If you have children complete laps, be sure to have them take their ball with them to practice dribbling. They will get in shape by running in the games and drills, laps are unnecessary and do not build skill.

LECTURES - We realize mini-lectures are a part of life. But, let's make them short and focused. Pull players together to demonstrate a skill and then allow them to practice while the coaches ensure correct performance.

LOOSING YOUR HEAD - Our goal is to have players learn about the game of soccer while developing some skill. The score is not important. I repeat the score is not important. The coaches and parents should be a role model of sportmanship for their children. Keep things in perspective! It's a recreational league, not the World Cup.

If you coaches try to stay away from these pitfalls, we are sure that you, your team and the parents will have a fun and enjoyable soccer season.  Good Luck!

The following is a brief overview of what you as coaches should be teaching our youngsters at each level. Please remember that as a coach you are training children who may only desire to play recreational soccer as well as those that aspire to be high-level players. It is paramount to be aware and knowledgeable so both can achieve their goals.  

Yours in soccer,

Darren Schaperjahn


Age Specific Coaching Manual





 “Player development is a patient and long-term process. While some countries continue to benefit from a free play environment, the majority of modern industrial societies have turned to small-sided  games and formal coaching programs to combat the demise of the gifted and creative players. As this coaching has become more organized and targeted toward younger players, sometimes as young as three, we have witnessed a damaging and demoralizing push to accelerate learning towards positions and team tactics at the expense of technique, tactical insight and player-enjoyment. This situation is most evident at the grassroots and travel level, but finds culprits anywhere money can be made. Serious youth soccer coaches should understand the “typical” range of abilities for each age group while appreciating that the potential range of skills and understanding can be quite broad.”


Dr. Tom Turner, Director of Coaching and Player Development

                         Ohio Youth Soccer Association North


U5 and U6


The developmental phase of U5 and U6 is crucial. The development of motor skills at the starting point has a big influence on the final result at older ages. The most important skill taught at this level should be dribbling. The ability to dribble is critical because it is the foundation of other fundamental skills of soccer i.e. receiving, passing, and shooting. Emphasis should be placed on dribbling at each training session and match. Game 3v3


            Motor development

            Ball and body awareness

            Spatial awareness (directionality within the “mob”)

            Changing speed and direction within a variety of playing situations

                        Dribbling forward unopposed

                        Changing speed and direction

                        Shielding the ball from opponents

                        Dribbling past an opponent

                        Dribbling to get out of pressure

                        Soft first touch

                        No kicking allowed except when shooting on goal




U7 and U8

U7 and U8 coaches should begin to introduce passing and receiving to their players. Dribbling should continue to be a major part of each training session. Game 4v4


            Motor development

            Ball and body awareness

            Spatial awareness (staying out of the “mob”)

            Dribbling Skills

            Passing and receiving

            Ball recovery (winning the ball back)

            Individual transition to attack and defense









U9 and U10

U9 and U10 coaches should begin to teach small group transition from attack to defense. Support, possession, ball circulation, and changing the rhythm of play are now important. Combination play should also be introduced. Game 6v6


            Physical and motor development

            Spatial awareness (creating width and depth)

Practice ideas:

4v4 or 6v6 with restrictions: width and depth, rhythm, mobility, support and combination play (wall pass/take over), defending.

Technique in a tactical context vs. technique for technique sake

Competition in training

Possession games: 3v3+2, 4v2, 5v2, 4v1, 5v1

Spatial Awareness games: 3v3 to targets, 2v2 to targets, 2v2+1 to targets

Ball Circulation (speed of play): 4v4+2 (4-goal game or possession only),


Individual Attacking and Defending games: 1v1 ladder/trenches or 2v2


U11 and U12


U11 and U12 coaches should be incorporating all of the same principles as the U9 and U10 coaches with emphasis changing from small group transition to large group transition. Tactics are becoming more important at this level. Game 8v8


            Dribbling skills

            Passing and receiving

            Heading skills (new topic)

            Individual Defending

            Large group transition from attack to defense

            Support and ball circulation/possession

            Changing the rhythm of play

            Combination play: wall pass, take-over, overlap

            Spatial awareness: Playing in three lines

                        Formations: 3-3-1, 2-3-2, 3-2-2, 2-3-2

                                    Use formations to train specific aspect of game.






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