Some soccer positions require different skills, abilities, and personality traits than other soccer positions. Trying to figure out the best soccer positions for your players isn’t only about winning, it is also about putting young players in a soccer position they enjoy and where they can be successful.
There are different opinions about when is the best time to start teaching soccer positions. Soccer positions provide players with an organizational structure to help them understand the game and teamwork. Frankly, I don’t see the benefit of encouraging “herd ball” or bunching up – I think that even at U6 it is a good idea to teach the “concept” that there are attackers and defenders and that players should stay spread out when attacking and always be shifting with the ball whether on offense or defense. If you check the Bunching Up, Spread Out To Attack, Create Space Soccer Drill and read the Testimonials there from U8 coaches you will see how much difference it makes if your players stay spread out on offense. I think it is like anything else - why allow bad habits to develop that you will have a hard time breaking later on? Starting at U-8, you should teach your players the concepts of “Positions” (i.e., that there are “Forwards”, “Midfielders, “Fullbacks” and a “Goalie”), “Support” (i.e., “First Defender/Second Defender” and “First Attacker/Second Attacker/Third Attacker”), to “Shift & Sag”, not to bunch up, staying spread out when on offense and becoming more compact on defense, support and movement off the ball. These concepts are easily taught and, in essence, teach teamwork. They can make a huge difference in your team’s play.
The concepts of “Positions”, “Support” and “Shift & Sag” teach teamwork and, when combined with a “Formation” and “Style of Play”, they provide the organization for your team’s play, and collectively are called your “System of Play”.
Teaching soccer positions to young players involves a lot more than randomly assigning each player a position. As beginning coaches soon learn, players cannot stand still when they are on the field; if they could, it would be easy. How to teach positions is one of the most difficult tasks a new coach faces. It is complicated by the fact that a team must both attack and defend, and that players are constantly moving. Teaching positions is even more difficult for Rec coaches who have players with varying skill, experience, athletic ability and motivation, and who only practice once or twice per week. The key to success is to use a teaching method that is simple, easy to teach and really works. That is what SoccerHelp Premium provides. Start first with the basics. They can be quickly and easily taught by beginning coaches. Then, you can move on to more advanced concepts. Most of these concepts can best be taught through demonstrations on the field during practice or before a game, at which time it is helpful to show your players where the “Center” is, which line is the “Halfway Line”, the “Penalty Box”, and the “Center Circle”.
Copyright David Huddleston, All Rights Reserved
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