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AYSO Region 153 Tucson Arizona

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Winning Team
Strategies to Challenge Your Players More

Give weaker players a chance:  This is a great opportunity to let your team know that you want everyone to have a chance to score during the season.  Put your slower or less skilled players up front.  Or perhaps your goalie or defenders up front, if in a higher division.  Perhaps instruct that only players that have not scored in the season may score.  This is a great way to get all the players on your team focused on setting up and helping those players.

U8:  Lets score:  The score at this age does not loom large on our radar screen in terms of identifying blowouts.  Per the reasons you do not have goal keepers, the objective is for the kids to be able to develop some soccer skills and get the ball in the net.  Although the referee knows the score, and will enter it on the game card, it is important that coaches, parents and players do not discuss the score.  Even better if they pay no attention to the score.  It is important they notice and mention the great plays, the great fun and how many chances to score a goal everyone had.  It is important to try to let a team score that is having difficulty getting the ball into the net.  Both teams should walk away feeling like they had some great goals.  If the opposing team is having difficulty scoring try these tactics:
  • No Goal Tending:  Make sure your players are not goal tending, providing a chance for the other team to score.  If you have a player that consistently tends the goal, tell the player you want him to stay on the scoring half of the field only.
  • Distract your key player:  Call your key player over to the sideline for some "play strategy consultation" while the other team scores.  If the player seems concerned that the other team scored while he was distracted, just mention that the score doesn't matter, only playing well matters, and talking at the sideline will help him with play.  Mix it up with different players.  
  • No pass interference:  Another tactic can be borrowed from YMCA basketball.  To encourage young players to have an attitude of wanting to pass and developing some skills early, adopt a no-interference and no-interception rule for passing. 
  • Passing Game:  Require your players to complete several successful passes before the team may attempt a goal.
  • Open Countering Opportunities:  Require that only half the team may move upfield and may not move backfield, preventing a "full court press" offense or defense.  This allows the other team to have more players on the specific play, whether defending or attacking.
  • Balance that is twice as hard:  Manage the goal differential for the two separate mini-games.  It is not important what the sum of the goals are from the two mini-games.   
All Divisions
Introduce some new plays:  Got a play that you haven't tried in practice?  Expect some foul-ups as you have your team work on the play?  This would be a good time for some "instructional foul-ups".  Try an offside trap.  Require your players to try a Cruyft turn.  Make them do give-and-gos.

Work on difficult scoring skills:  Tell your team you want them to work on difficult scoring skills.  This might include scoring from a distance - no shots from inside the penalty area.  Or only using their "off foot".  This will challenge your players to develop their skill more and keep the game interesting.  Perhaps require passing with only their off foot.  

Work on passing:  Tell your team that you want to develop team play and passing skills.  Only allow a shot after 5 passes, or more if needed.  Do a "4 corner" drill -- the ball has to go into the 4 corners of the defender's area first, before any shots on goal.

Practice key game strategies:  
  • Focus on earning corner kicks.  Allow them to score only off a corner kick.
  • Require scoring off a cross with a single touch.
  • Require using their off-foot

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AYSO Region 153

120 S Houghton #138 
Tucson, Arizona 85748

Email Us: [email protected]
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