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Welcome to Coaches Corner!

Welcome to the GBYSL Coaches’ Corner.  We post tips, training sessions, activities, videos, or some other soccer based items for you to utilize.  Our goal is to provide educational information to compliment you in your coaching environments.  We will try to target multiple age groups throughout the weeks.  Enjoy the postings and we will see you out on the fields!
Also please visit the recreational coach information tab for activities per age division. 

Dribbling Session

Dribbling Lesson from National Youth License Mike Cullina


 1. Red light, Green light 


1. Stop & go per command. 

2. Teach a penetration move. 

3. Add yellow light 



1. On green light – go. Encourage free movement throughout grid. On red light – stop as quickly as possible. 

2. Show move(s) (e.g. step-over, faint) 

3. On yellow light, have player perform move (change direction) and explode into open space (change speed). 



Use different surfaces of foot 

Maintain vision of field 

Body in athletic position (low center of gravity, etc.) 

Change of direction 

Change of speed 



1v1 to line 

* Field – 15 x 12 yd. 

(length) x (width) 


45-60 second games 

Stop on line to score 

Winner moves up, loser stays (loser on top field goes all the way to bottom 

If tied, Rock, paper, scissors. 



Set up opponent 

Make move 

Finish move (cut off defender’s recovery) 


2v2 to line 

* Field – 15 x 24 yd. 


Play is initiated with pass from one team to other. 

To score, dribble through end line. 

Players switch teammates. 



Face defenders 

Dribble at defenders 

See space behind defenders (no cover) 


4. 4v4-1 

4v4-1 through gates 


* Field – 35 x 25 yd. 


Each team defends two 6-yard gates placed on the end line, five yards from touchline. 

To score, dribble through gate. 

One player on team without ball takes a knee so the team defends with three. When team wins possession, said player becomes live and a player from opposing team takes a knee. 


Last Play Big- 5v5- 8v8 depending on #s

-Normal soccer rules



Spatial awareness 

Dribble at defenders 

Teammates stay out of the 


Match Condition Finishing Activities


  • 1v1 Battles
    • 25 yards from goal
    • Teams start shoulder to shoulder faced or back to server, laying on stomach/back, one knee up, etc
    • Last person to touch it before it goes in gets the point
    • Play first team to 6 and then switch the way they start


  • 3v3 or 4v4 + Bumpers
    • Bumpers keep the ball in play, don’t have to pass to team that played it to them (depends on skill)
    • 18 yd box or smaller
    • 1 min games – keep score then switch teams


  • 30-second Game
    • One attacking group and one defending group go for 2 min then switch
    • 1v0, 1v1, 2v1, 2v2 (each round is 30 seconds)
    • Attackers & defenders cannot leave until previous player(s) gets across the line (22-25 yds out)
    • Most goals wins


  • 9-Ball
    • Play 6v3 or 5v2 depending on numbers (Put 3 soccer balls on the left corner and 3 on the right corner of the 18 box, then 3 soccer balls on the top of the arc on the 18 box.
    • May need to adjust the size of the box to be smaller than one 18?
    • Play separate games – a winner after each round


Coaching Points

Follow through towards target

Head down

Ankle locked- strike the center of the ball

Power vs. Finesse

Low to corners away from GK

Be confident and try different surfaces

Match Related Finishing Activites


  • Back where it came from
    • 18 yards from goal, or 12 yards for youngers
    • Run laterally around a cone
    • One touch finish off diagonal pass
    • 2 min games – keep score, then switch sides
    • Keep same server through 2 min round, then rotate
  • Pressure Finishing
    • Dribble through flags, must shoot before opposing team returns to their line after shooting.
    • Play first team to five wins – switch sides & play again
  • Lightning/Shoot become the Keeper
    • You shoot then become the keeper
    • If you get scored on or miss over the crossbar, you’re out
    • If you hit the crossbar, everyone is back in
    • Last one standing – wins 
  • Alaska
    • Top of the 18 box or closer if you need for youngers.  3 lines (see setup below).  X dribbles to Y who stops the ball Z shoots.  X and Y must immediately follow, if they don’t its minus 1.


X.X.X.                                YYY




    • 4 minute game
    • Scoring = (-1) miss wide or don’t follow; (-3) miss over the crossbar; (+1) goal
    • Must be a one touch shot or one touch off the rebound
    • Positive score is good, compete against your record

Coaching Points

  1. Follow through towards target
  2. Head down
  3. Ankle locked- strike the center of the ball
  4. Power vs. Finesse
  5. Low to corners away from GK
  6. Be confident and try different surfaces

Passing/ Possession Session

The session can be adjusted to fit your team.  You can add more defenders or adjust the spaces to make it more difficult.  This has been done with 8 year olds all the way through high school age players.  

Coaching points are toe up/ankle locked on trap and pass for most accuracy, good soft touch in front, firm pass, head up vision, change of speed after pass, and try different surfaces, and add deception. 


·       1}Chain Tag (Break off into our groups) Fun game to get started

 Link arms with a partner. One person chases another when they hook arms on a side the outside person runs and the chaser chases them now 

Passing Square

    • 20x20 grid with one ball in the two lines on the left side 
    • Pass across the grid diagonal
    • Can play 2 touch 1 touch 3 touch
    • If you hit a ball or get hit then 2 im a stars
    • Then do a competition you call out the touches and how many passes connected before hitting something
    • Make sure they are using toe up ankle down for trap and pass along with awareness/vision


 Hot Potato

    • Two 15x15 grid with 5 yard gap between grids. Grid size depends on level
    • Two teams with 5/6 yellows in one grid and 5/6 reds in the other grid
    • Coach serves the ball into the yellow grid. The red send two defenders over. The yellow try to get 5 passes then send I to the red grid for a point. The red try and win it then passes back to their grid. If the ball goes out it goes the coach plays to the team that would be in possession
    • You can add more defenders to make the game more challenging or make the grid smaller
    • It’s a high intensity activity, so be aware they may not be able to go very long. Great for building fitness

Possession 4v4 Plus 2 Neutrals or 4v4 plus 4 neutrals (Depends on numbers) If you have more you can make it 6v6 plus 2

    • 20x20 yard field, Size depends on ability may need to adjust
    • Players are split into two teams
    • Count passes depending on group set the number like 5 passes is a point
    • If there is a neutral team on the outside switch them in after 2 min.
    • Play 2 games so it could be 6-8 minutes break do coaching points then play again
    • Have balls ready to play in to keep it going 
    • Keep score and give a fun penalty at the end


  • 4v4 or 5v5
    • Free play
    • Play with goal kicks & kick-ins

Dribbling Session U-7-U-9


“Messi Time” Dribble in grid with commands (See Coaching Points).  2 points and you must do 5 step-ups or foundations to get back in.

o    Try right and left feet

o    Body parts

o    Work on FREEZE in Ready Position (foot on ball)

o    Foundation (back and forth between big toes)

o    Step-ups (touch ball with bottom of foot)

Teach some turns 

§  Pull back

§  Outside cut/inside cut

§  360s inside or outside?

Teach some moves

§  Fake step right or left. So hop one way go the other

§  Fake shot then go

§  Scissor-Under the ball then around

§  Step over-Around the front of the ball

§  A harder move if they will get it-, inside outside

Sharks and Minnows

o    For 10 players have 2 sharks

o    Ball kicked out then complete foundation or step-ups

o    If sharks kick your ball out, you become shark too.

o    Last 2 kids win and become new sharks.

Knockout  (All players Dribble in box and try and kick other players balls out.  If out they must do 10 foundations then come back in.) Similar to Sharks and Minows, but a little variation with focusing on more awareness while dribbling. 


Steal the Bacon

o    Players are split into two teams and numbered.

o    Coach rolls ball into grid and calls a player number. If too hard then just have the first person in each line go.

o    The two opposing players will try to come in and take the ball back to their line. 

o    The opposing player can steal the “bacon” and take it back to his/her team’s side.

o    Can add pug goals to shoot in after winning the ball instead of bring back to their side


·       3v3/4v4/5v5

·       Free play – Points for MOVES!

·       Play with goal kicks & kick-ins


·       Get in athletice position

·       Eyes Up

·       Big Bubble, No Troubles (Find the space)

·       Explode out of the move, change of pace as dribbling

·       12 Surfaces of the Feet


University of Nevada Soccer Staff

Posting #7 9/9/2013

Indiana Youth Soccer Lesson Plans- http://www.soccerindiana.org/education/lessonplans.aspx

Striking The Ball Practice Plan Videos for Younger Players

Striking The Ball (Warm Up)- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fg9oAumW8Yw

Striking The Ball (Stage 1)- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=apMYiKvo23U

Striking The Ball (Stage 1 Variation)- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JMokpLS_94w

Striking The Ball (Stage 2)- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SZHngy4ISFA

Striking The Ball (Stage 3)- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=grp44EmX1TE

Striking The Ball (Stage 4 Final Game)- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p-S13Qbfu8Y

Coaching Points-

Athletic balanced position with your knees bent and head over the ball

Plant foot next to the ball and pointed where you want the ball to go

Ankle locked toe up on inside of foot ball striking

Ankle locked toe down when using the laces to strike a ball

As you get better try outside and iside of  the foot bends which is done by hitting the ball on the outside or inside using the same form as above.

This is another website with videos and practice plans that can be used for all ages to train your kids.  I hope this helps and that you use this resource to get a lot more ideas.


University of Nevada Soccer Staff

Post #6 8/28/2013

Here is the link to many more excting session that Massachusetts Youth Soccer has in their curriculum for all ages.  Its a great resource for all coaches.  We all need more activities and this is a great place to get some. Here is the link http://www.mayouthsoccer.org/coaching/practice_plans_u12.aspx


-University of Nevada Soccer Staff

Passing and Receiving U-12 by Massachusetts Youth Soccer

Technical Warm up

Coaching Pts.

6 Surfaces: Outside, Inside, Laces (Instep) to push the ball away, Bottom (Sole) to drag the ball back, push with the Toe, Heel the ball back to turn.. "Outside, Inside, Laces, Sole, Toe, Heel"! Speak to the ball.

Keep the soccer ball close and under control

Activity 1


Coaching Pts.

Pass and Move:

Split players into groups of 2,3 or 4 (color-coded). Each group has a ball, inter-passing within their group. All groups are in the same grid playing through each other. (30x40 yard grid)

Time: 15 minutes


? Toe up (inside) or down & turned in (outside)

? Placement of non-kicking foot and good balance

? Surface of the Foot and Surface of the Ball to strike


? Keep feet moving before ball arrives and go to it

? Keep ankle of receiving foot locked and body behind ball

? Eye on ball at instant of reception

Coach: Have the players

? Talk and ask for the pass

? Signal that he/she wants the pass

? Check to or away from the pass

? Get in good supporting distance and angles

Group Passing

? Supportive body position

? Players in good supporting positions. Options close and far

? Speed of play

Activity 2


4v2 Knock the Ball:

In an area, players in possession of the ball will try to knock the ball down for a point. If the defenders intercept the ball, or tackles it and gains possession, then the player who lost the ball goes in the middle.

Coach: You can play this game with a 4v1.

Time: 20 minutes

Activity 3


Coaching Pts.

3v3 or 4v4 to Four Small Goals:

In a determined area with two small 1.5 yard cone goals on each of the end lines, near each corner. Each team defends and attacks two goals.

? Possess the ball to look for an opportunity to score

? Players in good supporting positions

? Decision making: safety versus risk

? Communication

? Good team shape

Time: 20 minutes



Coaching Pts.

4v4, 5v5, or 6v6

Play with goalkeeper and a formation:

? 4v4: 3-1 v 2v2 (no Goalkeeper)

? 5v5: Gk-3-1 v Gk-2-2

? 6v6: Gk-3-2 v Gk-2-1-2

Reinforce all the coaching points from all the activities

Time: 20 minutes


Activities to reduce heart rate, static stretching & review session. Time: 5-10 Minutes

Team Meetings- Coaching Philosophy

I know everyone is getting ready for the season and having team meetings to prepare for the season.  Here are some useful ideas for you coaching philosophy and for the environment you want to create for the players to become the best they can and for them to become life long learners in the sport.  I truly believe a positive and fun environment will help to create the best team and enable the players to perform at their best.  I hope this helps with your team meetings.  Below are some informational videos from two highly respected coaches.


University of Nevada Soccer Staff

Phil Jackson Positive Coaching

Positive Coaching by Phil Jackson You are a role model to the kids and you need to set the example as a coach or parent. What are you modeling for your players and kids? Are you respecting the other team, parents, and officials. The kids need to also have fun and enjoy playing. They should come home energized after practice. 70% of players drop out by 13. That is a problem!! We need to keep the love of the game going. Make sure your environment as a coach, player or parent is a positive and fun environment for the kids to learn. They will stay longer in the sport, player harder for you and become better.

Joe Torre Coaching Philosophy

Joe Torre Coaching Philosophy T-rain- Have a plan and be prepared for every session and game. Every second they should be working on a skill. Like dribbling to water doing moves. E-nergy- Have a positive fun positive energy that kids want to come to practice and are energized at the end of the session. Raise them up when their feeling down. A-dmiration- Admire and respect players, referees and opposing coaches and you will get it in return. C-atalogue- Keep record of your sessions/write them down. Write what worked and what didn't. Take notes on Individuals and for the team at games and training. Have a few goals for the season. H-onesty- Be honest with your parents and players. It's not always what they want to hear, but what they need to hear and come up with a plan for them. People will respect you for it.

Posting 1-4 Summary (8/6/2013)

Hello Coaches,

As you scroll down, Postings 1-4 will provide you with a FULL POSSESSION SESSION for your team.


  • Posting 4 - Warm-up
  • Posting 2 - 3v1
  • Posting 1 - Pluses & Minuses
  • Posting 3 - #s Down
  • Posting 4 - Final Game

We feel this provides a high quality environment from simple to complex and can be easily set-up/run.  Try this session a few times in the upcoming season and your possession and speed of play will grow.

Have fun with it!

-University of Nevada Soccer Staff

Posting 4 (8/6/2013)

Possession Warm-Up Activity to set rhythm of play called " 1 touch, 2 touch, 3 touch".  This activity is great for U-12 & up.


  • In Pairs with one ball, stand 5 yards apart.
  • Coach will call out "1 touch", then "2 touch", then "3 touch"...2 touch, 3 touch, 1 touch (basically go in a random order mixin it up).
  • Key is for players to remain 5 yards apart at all times while the ball and players are shifting and moving the ball.
  • Go for about 30 seconds a round.
  • Note during the "2 touch" sequence they CANNOT stop the ball on their first touch.  Plus on the "3 touch" sequence they must do a MOVE as their '2nd touch'.

Coaching Points:

  • Weight and Accuracy of Pass (playing to a particular foot?)
  • Adding Disguise and Different Surfaces of their feet
  • Checking their shoulder BEFORE the ball gets to them
  • Changing their angle after EVERY pass
  • Combinations and Dynamic Off Ball movement
  • Interchanging positions within their pair and next level would be another pair!


  • Play 6v6 to four small goals or 2 big goals.
  • Can only score from the attacking 1/2 of the field (so they can't just shoot from long distance - must possess and get into that half).
  • Scoring - YOU CAN ONLY WIN BY ONE GOAL!  That means once a team scores, they need to keep possession of the ball away from the other team until that team can equalize.
  • End by removing all restrictions and play normal rules emphasizing the possession component.

Posting 3 (7/25/2013)

Possession Activity called “Keeping Ball #s DOWN”.  This activity is great for U-12 & up.  This Small Sided Stage Activity would be done right after the "Pluses & Minuses" Actvity in a session.  It focuses on shifting the defense one way and playing the other while moving off the ball in support and keeping possession.  Quick speed of play and disguise are essential.

ENJOY! - University of Nevada Soccer Staff

5v6     2 groups of 6+ 20x30
* 4 passes is a point X O O X
* 1 attacking player must   X   O
kneel while team is in possession!   O X   X
(+) 2 attacking players kneel    O X O
(+) Target Players          
Possession Themes:
* Simple & Sure Passes
* Field Vision  
* Composure  
*Simple: No or low pressure to teammate
*Vision: look at least twice - prior to receive
  & after 1st touch.    
Where is DANGER? - Numbers DOWN
Where is your HERO? - Numbers UP!
*Composure: DON'T PANIC
* Move to create space for others.
* Double Pass creates gaps.
* Take defense ONE way - GO OTHER WAY!
* Interchange if possible

Posting 2 (7/17/2013):

Possession Activity called “3v1 Diagonal”.  This activity is great for U-12 & up.  This Small Sided Stage Activity would be done right before the "Pluses & Minuses" Actvity in a session.  It focuses on dynamic mobility off the ball in support and keeping possession.

Thought - in a simple 3v1, are the players moving in a predictable manner or are they dynamic by adding diagonal runs, wall passes, overlaps, takeovers, double passes, etc...  A GREAT activity to introduce dynamic off ball movement.

Click on the video below to see the activity in action!

ENJOY! - University of Nevada Soccer Staff



Posting 1 (7/1/2013):

Possession Activity called “Pluses & Minuses”.  This activity is great for U-12 & up.  It focuses on finding numbers up in possession, keeping shape, and speed of play.


Description –

·         Two groups of 6.

·         20yd x 18yd grid broken into four equal zones.

·         Players are placed in 2v1s in the diagonal corners (see diagram).

·         4 passes is a point.

·         No more than 3 passes in a row in the same zone.

·         Players must STAY in their zone.


Progression – An attacking player can join another zone on or off the ball, but must be replaced by a teammate to keep same general shape.




2 groups of 6+




* 4 passes is a point.





* No more than 3 passes in zone










(+) Attacker can join zone





but must be replaced