Week 4 is in the books. Coaching with small-sided games.

The clinic developed from the pre season coaches meeting, and this slide of information.

There are many positives to using small-sided games in practice. US Soccer reformatted to small-sided games for young players as they realized the benefits attributed to less numbers on the field – Info right here.
Some of the benefits to small-sided games:
Players are playing the game, in one format or another.
More touches on the ball.
More mistakes.
More goals to be scored.
*Players are in ‘control’ of the game – even if they don’t realize it.
**Coach can learn a lot about the team and about themselves.
***Playing the game is fun, waiting in line for their turn is not.
****They are being exposed to game rules, as you can implement all or some of the regular game rules.

From the information slide, you will see 100 different game combinations to challenge your players.
The coaches at the clinic on Sunday experienced several of those games and how they can be tailored to address whatever they wanted to work on:

Example 1. Wanting to work on attacking with the ball with dribbling or passing – add more goals, have less defenders.
(Image shows 2 wide goals to target, which spreads the defenders and makes scoring easier, with even numbers this still works)

Example 2. Wanting to work on defending – remove goals, have even numbers.
(Image shows 5v5, including the GK, blue team only has one goal to attack with a GK whereas the defenders have 3 goals to score in [would be team mates in a game] so they have an incentive when they win the ball)

Wanting to work on ‘keeping shape’ – provide reasons for the players to do so – don’t put lines of cones out as they aren’t on the field when you play and it creates ‘barriers’ that players won’t cross. Even if you give them ‘2 zones’ or squares, or however you want to split it, players do not have those barriers on the field. What happens if the ball is just out of reach, but in the next square? Do they leave it? Consider where players move on the field? Everywhere? Especially the pro’s – Messi, all over the field – he was never told to stay in a zone on the field. Other players may have a stricter tactical role, but with youth, consider having the team move together and you can show that in a small-sided game with multiple goals to emphasize the width of the team shape or depth if the game has a different arrangement.

Check out the ****’s forum here¬†for some additional insight!!