Junior Coaches

Your team will have 7-12 players and you will play 6, 7, 8, or 9 on the field during games. You still do not have headers or slide tackles. Some of your players will be athletic and want to play at the high school level and some will not be athletic and only want to play for the fun of the game. Team defense begins to stop the more athletic players from dominating a game that is common at the Cub level.     

Practice

You only have two 60 Minute practices each week so make the most of your time. Plan your practices and keep full team scrimmages to a minimum as each player gets few quality touches. You will have a mix of skill levels that can be difficult to work into some drills. A way of giving each player a challenging drill is to split the team into two skill levels with the more advanced and less advanced working in groups. This allows you to improve everyone's skills and not have some players bored or unable to keep up and not learn the skill well. The early season practices are usually spent on the more basic drills and skills with the later season shifting more time to the advanced skills and more small sided game time. A generic practice might look something like this with the early season time first and a later season practice time in parenthesis:

5 minutes of warm-up: dribble in a small area, a lap around the field, dynamic stretches

10 (5) minutes of foot drills: Tic-tock, sole role, push-pull, toe-tap dance, etc

15 (5) minutes of dribbling drills: Technique dribbles, criss cross, etc

15 (10) minutes of passing drills: One & two touch pairs, active receiving, some kind of rondo: passing square, passing circle,  etc

5 (15) minutes of skills practice: Throw-in, juggling, chest trap, feint moves, first touches etc

10 (20) minutes of a tactics or small sided game: Passing patterns, Give & go, 5v5 w required passing, etc. Avoid full scrimmages as each player gets few touches.

 

Here are some tutorials and drills as examples. The sites have many more drills you can use.

Warm-up  1  2   Foot skills  1   3  4   Dribbling  1  2  3     Passing   1  1a  2  3  4  5

Rondo  1  Trapping  1  2  First touches  1  2  Juggling   1  2  Feint moves  1  2  3 

Defending  1  2  3  4  Passing Patterns  1  2  Positions  1  2  Shooting  1  2  3 

Tactics  1  2  3  Small sided games  1  2  3  4  5  6

Games     Junior Game Rules

Keep the coaching to a minimum and let the players learn by doing. You will have to help some players remember their roles, but less coaching is better than more during games. To help players learn a position it can be helpful to keep them in a position/line for the entire game. This lets the player get comfortable as a forward, midfielder, or back, make some mistakes and learn from them. If the player is moved around to other lines, he has to rethink his role during the game. Rotate the goalie each period or half. If the goalie is also a back during he game she will see how the two interact and improve her understanding of the game.

Emphasize to each child to play their position and learn it well. The more aggressive players will want to dominate a game moving all over the field. If this happens, notice how your less aggressive players learn to stand back and wait for the aggressive child to make the play. Soccer is similar to basketball in that a guard will play in the "paint" and a center will play on the perimeter occasionally. When the center thinks she should be the primary 3-point shooter you have a team problem. It's the same in soccer. Let the players move fluidly on the field while understanding the role they play on/in their assigned line/position. 

Team Formations: There are many opinions on which formation works best for each level. Here are a few links for 9v9:  1   8v8:  1  2  3  7v7:  1  6v6:   1  2