Mini Coaches

Your team will have 8 players and you will play 4 on two fields during games. There are no headers, slide tackles, or goalies at this level. Throw-ins are introduced at the Mini level. The players still move in a "mob" and the most aggressive players will score most of the goals. You may have players who prefer to watch or look for flowers more than playing soccer. You have about 30 seconds to get an idea to the children before they lose focus so be concise and simple. Do NOT try to do drills - let the kids play games that teach skills.    

Practice

You only have one or two 40 minute practices each week so make the most of your time. Plan your practices and have many water breaks. If you stay on a skill too long or have the kids stand in line you will lose their attention very quickly. Don't expect the players to perform complex movements. Have them active with a ball at their feet playing games that teach them how to handle the ball. It helps to involve parents for some skills. Your spring practices can be more complex if you don't have too many new players. A generic practice might look something like this:

5 minutes of warm-up: dribble in a small area and a dribble lap around the field - to get them mentally ready for practice

2 minutes of foot skills: Tic-tock, sole role, push-pull, Toe tap, Drop and kick juggle, etc

2 minutes of dribbling skills: Technique dribbles, etc

20 minutes of games: Kick the coach, Beehive, Target practice, etc. Play one game for 5-10 minutes and move to another with a water break in between as you set up the cones.

10 minutes of scrimmage 3v3 or 4v4. Uneven teams are easy to make even by putting the less aggressive extra player on the weaker team.

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

Warm-up  1   Foot skills  1   Dribbling  1  2  3  4   Throw-in  1

Juggling   1   Shooting  1  2   Practice Games  1  2  3  4  5

Games     Mini Game Rules

Games are split between two fields. Play your most aggressive against the most aggressive of the opposing team and the less aggressive on the second field. Regardless of how many players both teams have, split them in to two equal sides and play at most 4v4. It's bettter to play a 3v3 and a 2v2 game than 5v5. The jerseys are reversable so if you need to shift a player or two to the other team that is fine. Your primary jobs during a game are to keep time and to make sure no one is grabbing or actively pushing/kicking the other players. If a player becomes aggressive towards another player, stop play and kindly address the issue with the child. Award the other team a free kick. Any ball that goes out of play on an end line goes to the team whose goal is on that end line. The other team moves to the midfield line until the ball is kicked in. The defending team must stay out of the goal box unless the ball is in the box (no goalies or "puppy guarding"). This ensures that the players play in the field and get as many touches as possible. Throw-ins are awarded to the opposite team that caused the ball to go out-of-bounds. Cheer for both teams and have fun!