Coaching, Player Development


Are you trying to find a method to the madness? We know many of you are!
Remember, this is recreational soccer. Not the world cup and all players will play.

Subbing looks like this:
2nd grade – 6′ and 13′ of each half, making the game into 6ths (including kick off for each half).
3rd grade – 8′ and 16′ of each half, again making 6ths
4-8th grade are all ‘me too’.

Why, scheduled for 2nd and 3rd grade?

We want equal playing time. Plenty of subbing times for the younger side of the game means more playing opportunities and not just subbing at half time. Most coaches are new to the experience and ‘coaching’ the game can be difficult enough let alone figuring out playing time.
Scheduled means you can make a plan.
Make a plan? Yes. Recreational soccer with SFYS is about experience, learning, and fun.

You have sixths to plan for to get every player equal time.
Here is an example template for teams with 13-9 players on a 7v7 roster. We have also added a 2nd grade team example (Thank you Vadim!)
The templates do not give exact playing time, due to the difficulty of dividing playing time by playing opportunities with number of players. However, you can assign your players a number and follow the rotation to make it super simple. This is a great task for your assistant coach or team manager and helps you to follow the even playing time for all players. One week you may have Player 1 playing the whole time, then just rotate to have player 2 next week and so on.

We also know that parents will appreciate this playing time balance for their players and helps make your life easy on the sideline!

Common questions about subbing the GK. How? Why? When?
Do you have a second GK outfit? Mainly just gloves, but you can include another shirt or pinnie. Then, at the subbing time, your new GK is ready to swap with the current GK.
You can decide if you want to rotate every half or in every quarter. We like the quarter because it can be quick short periods in goal so if they concede goals it is possible they won’t concede a lot, or they may not face any shots and think GK is the best position ever! Ultimately, including the GK position as part of your rotation makes it a part of the game and prevents the fear of the position.

Positioning on the substitutions.
You will see in the 2nd Grade Jaguar Cubs example that some players could stay in the same position, such as the GK. This is ultimately your decision. There are times that players will stay on the field for 2 or 3 sixths (depending on your numbers for rotation).
Keeping players in the same position – Helps you keep an element of composure in the team. Unlike a hockey line change, having playing in a comfortable position for more than one rotation can help keep your team with an element of idea of what is going on!
Changing on each rotation – Any remaining forwards on the field could become defenders, and vice versa. Rotation = playing time and playing experience. Super valuable to all players involved!

Subbing on ‘me too’.
Could you talk with the other coach before the game about a plan, if you have one? Do they have one you could follow with?
We have ‘me too’ because it helps to keep a rhythm to the game without stoppages every throw-in for another substitution. Whilst we have no true guidelines on this, like with 2nd and 3rd grade subbing times, you can absolutely use the same framework to create rotation and equal playing time.

You could give players an entire half to play, and then make changes at half time only. You could, but thats 20-35 minutes of sitting a half.

Giving your players fair playing time is essential for their development, their experience, and their fun. Even if they miss practice (they cannot get themselves to practice 99% of the time so don’t take it out on the player). Players need to play to get better and to learn the game. If you are following the recommended weekly plans then you are on the way to giving them plenty of playing time, but following a structured substitution rotation can really help you too.

If you have a structure that you use already and want to share, please email Lee –

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