EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FOR GRASSROOTS SOCCER COACHES

Small Sided Games

Small-sided games are games with a small number of players on each side, for example 3 v 3 or 5 v 5. The key point is that because there are fewer players, each player gets more touches of the ball, and there are many additional benefits.

Soccer Coach Weekly recommends the use of small-sided games as a key part of your coaching program, and as a subscriber you can access 128 specially designed games, in a format that you can easily print and take to training. Once the games are set up and running and the players understand the rules, there’s no coaching, and the players take responsibility.

Alternatively you can buy all the games in printed or ebook format here.

An example of a small-sided soccer game used to help players have more touches of the ball in a training session

An example of a small-sided game being used to teach strikers to shoot

The games in the section below will help your players to improve on individual and team skills. They are simple to set up, guarantee more player participation, with more passes attempted, and more goals scored.

defending delaying

Delay

in Defending, Small Sided Games

By pitting individual defenders against two attackers, this session teaches a lone defender to be patient and delay play until he either wins the ball or his team-mate recovers to assist. MORE

Fast attacking

End to end attack

in Attacking, Small Sided Games

In this session strikers are being coached at both ends of the pitch – a striker must press the central defenders at one end, while at the other the strikers must get on the end of good passes to score a goal. It helps to develop teams to play through the thirds with an end product. MORE

Midfield attack

Midfield brains

in Midfield, Small Sided Games

This game develops quick thinking midfielders like Denmark and Spurs star Christian Eriksen. Players like this can set up attacks by reacting quickly to moments of transition in a game, principally moving from defence to attack. MORE

Passing for possession

Passing in threes

in Passing, Small Sided Games

In this game there will be lots of touches of the ball and technique to get passes between players. Movement is also key to what happens in the session. Set up You need a ball and a 16×16-yard area. We’ve used nine players in the session. You will also need bibs and cones. How to... MORE

Play 2v1

Four square

in Attacking, Small Sided Games

If you want your players to outfox the opposition defence by creating goals, this game will provide plenty of opportunities to make clever passes and set up play around the goal area MORE

Creating goal scoring chances

Quick thinkers

in Attacking, Small Sided Games

Youth players will often make a pass into the final third but do not support the pass by running into the penalty area. This session encourages movement to get into dangerous attacking positions. MORE

Pass to release player

Fast break

in Attacking, Small Sided Games

This game improves quick attacking and combination play. The attackers must break forward in order to use the extra player and create a chance to score. MORE

Wingers move fast

The running man

in Attacking, Small Sided Games

Running with the ball isn't just about going in one direction at one speed, players need to turn and accelerate, knock the ball into space and follow it, and pass on the run. MORE

score from crosses

Striker zone

in Shooting, Small Sided Games

This unopposed session gets attackers scoring with balls coming in from the wings. All players get balls played hard and low onto both feet as they attack at either end of the pitch. It includes build up play for a thorough attacking work out. MORE

midfield attackers

Man in the middle

in Attacking, Small Sided Games

The scoring threat often comes from balls played into a central attacker, who must decide whether to turn the defender, hold up the ball or lay off a pass. Here, the central attacker has to make the decision to create a scoring chance. MORE

Pressure opponents

Full team pressure

in Defending, Small Sided Games

If you haven’t got the ball you won’t be able to win, so this game teaches teams how to move together to press the opposition all over the pitch and force a mistake that wins the ball. MORE

Playing out of defence

Foraging forwards

in Small Sided Games, Tactics

This sets up the coming together of two different tactics – it’s build up from the back versus the constant threat of the counterattack from balls played behind the defence. MORE

Defending in small groups

Prepare to defend in small groups

in Defending, Email newsletters, Small Sided Games

If you want to start the new season well and win more games, the importance of defending cannot be stressed enough. Tell your players that without the ball they are not going to have the chance to score, so they need to think about how they are going to get it back first – and that means good defensive play. MORE

Head the ball game

Header react

in Heading, Small Sided Games

This is not only really good heading practice but at the coach’s call it turns into a small-sided game with lots of coaching points: heading technique, concentration, focus and quick passing. Check local rules for heading age groups MORE

High pressing game

High press

in Small Sided Games, Tactics

This game is all about pressing high. It will help both individual roles and team movement when pressing opponents in their own half of the pitch, starting from their defensive third. MORE


Follow us