Even though some of the players already went through the U4 program, most of them are still at the beginning of their soccer career. The kids are full of energy, easily distracted and soccer is not really a serious game for them yet. There is not much feeling for teamwork and the ball seems like a giant magnet. The main focus for this age group is on technical skills. It’s all about becoming friends with the ball. Skills are very quickly learned and exercises should pretty much all be with the ball. However, at this age we will also spend a couple of minutes on developing motor skills. The ball to player ratio should mainly be 1 to 1 or 1 to 2. ‘Go away from your teammate with the ball’, ‘spread out’, ‘win the ball back’, ‘go forward’ and ‘shoot’ are the constantly returning tactical instructions. Team work will improve during this stage and small sided games will slowly start to look like real soccer games. The rapid improvement of skills at this age is very rewarding for players, coaches and parents.
· Understand basic concept of soccer and the soccer rules
· Become friends with the ball
· Improve basic technical skills; dribbling, passing, receiving, shooting at the goal
· Improve basic tactical skills; position in 4v4, spreading out in ball possession, winning ball back quickly, spreading out again
· Improve basic motor skills and movement
· Have fun!
· Small sided games; 2v2, 3v3, 4v4
· Technique; dribbling, passing, receiving, shooting, 1v1 duels
1. When you arrive at practice immediately set up a field with two goals and have your players start to play a game right away. Get them in a soccer mode!
2. After about 10 minutes start with your practice session. Follow the lesson plan as closely as possible.
3. End practice with a game. Play either 4v4 or 5v5 (with substitutes of necessary), but don’t make the games any larger. It is useless to have a pile of twelve six year old kids on top of each other. You can also set up two games of 3v3. Just make sure the play a lot.
Four versus Four is the ideal game format for this age group and ideal teaching tool in practice. The 4v4 game guarantees that players touch the ball often and are constantly faced with the three main soccer moments; attacking, defending and transition.
Play Four versus Four in a diamond shape; one defender, two wide midfielders and a deep forward. This shape ensures width and depth in all directions. 4v4 is the smallest simplification of the 11v11 game. Don’t expect too much during the game regarding formation and tactics, especially not at U4. At this age the players will be all over the place. And that’s fine! Only at the beginning of the game talk briefly about the 4v4 formation. That’s it. During the game your instructions don’t have to go beyond; ‘win the ball back’, ‘go forward’, ‘spread out’ and ‘don’t steal the ball from your teammate’. Let the kids play. Don’t’ be a joystick coach. Keep the game going and; everyone attacks and everyone defends!
1. Field Size; length between 30yards,width 20 yards.
2. Goal size; between 6 and 8 feet wide, and 3 to 5 feet high.
3. Playing time;4x10minutes. Equal playing time.
4. Ball size 3.
5. No goalie.
6. No offside.
7. When the defending team kicks the ball over the goal line it’s a corner kick.The attacking team takes the corner kick from the corner of the field on the side from the goal where the ball went out of play.
8. When the attacking team kicks the ball over the end line it is a goal kick. The goal kick (pass or dribble) can be taken from any position on the goal line.
9. When the ball goes over the sideline the ball will be brought back into play with a kick or dribble from the sideline. No throw in, but kick in. Enforce this rule. The sideline is an opponent too.
10.The game starts off with a kick off, but when a goal is scored the game is restarted from the goal line. The coach is allowed to restart the game with rolling a ball back into the field.
11. After a foul is made (handball, pulling, tripping) a free kick can be awarded. The players of the defending team must take 4 yards distance. The coach can roll the ball back into play.
12.No penalty kicks.
When the ball is out of bounds, the ball has to be put on the side line before restarting the game. Once the ball is on the side line, the player can either pass or dribble the ball back into play.
1. Make sure your players arrive at the field at least 15 minutes before kickoff.
2. Divide your team up in an AWAY and a HOME team as quickly as possible.
3. Your AWAY team travels, with a coach, to the home field of your opponent for that day.
4. The HOME team will stay with one coach on your home field to play against the AWAY team of your opponent for the day.
5. At the half hour mark one team will switch fields to make sure the kids don’t play against the same team the whole hour.
6. When a game is lopsided, make sure to form new teams. We want all our games to be as competitive as possible.
7. Makes sure you always play 4v4. Only if it is very cold we could opt to change the game into 5v5. You will be notified about this.
8. Make sure all children get equal playing time.
9. The coaches are also the ‘referees’. Try to stick to the rules as much as possible, but make sure the game is flowing. But try to keep the players on the field. Out is out.
10. Make sure everyone is having fun!
Opening Day or ‘Jersey Day’ -according to the kids- is a great opportunity for you as a coach to set the tone for the upcoming season, to get to know your players and their parents and to make clear what they can expect this season during practice sessions and in games. Here a short guide line for you to follow;
During your parent meeting have your assistant run a game with your players.
* Introduce yourself and your assistants.
* Goals; FUN, become better soccer players, become soccer fans and hopefully win some soccer games.
* Practice and game times (early is on time, on time is late, and late is never…)
* Inform parents about the parking situation. Don’t park on the grass or illegal; you will get a ticket!
* What to wear at practice and during games (shin guards are mandatory and go under the socks).
* DSC is against snacks after practice. Handing out a snack after every physical activity sends the wrong message. Physical activity does not automatically mean you get a treat… After a game go with a healthy snack. Pieces of apple, grapes, peeled clementine in a sandwich bag, carrot sticks with raisins for example. Also, kids don’t need sports drinks like Gatorade. Water is good enough.
* Parents’ behavior on the sidelines; no coaching from the sideline! This only distracts and confuses the kids. Be positive and cheer for everyone, also for the opponent. Be positive in the car on the way home. Parents should really only ask this question; “Did you have fun?”
* ‘Like’ Delaware Soccer Club on Facebook for last minute cancelation of practice/games due to weather.
* Quick overview of the 4v4 game; 4v4 rules, substitutions, equal playing time.
* Other info you think is important to share.
A. Name Game; Put your players in a circle. Use one ball. Coach passes first ball to a player. This player tells the group his/her first name and what school he/she goes to. Loud and clear, please! When the player is done introducing him/herself the ball he/she passes the ball to another player, and so forth.
B. Dribbling Game; 1 ball per player, in 10y x 10y grid the players dribble around. Use commands such as; Stop! Go! Turn! Fast! Slow! And so forth.
C. Game Time; Play a 4v4 game and go over the rules of the game.
D. Closing. Bring your players in; tell them about the upcoming practice session and do a team cheer to finish the session.