Soccer problem solving using changing pitch dimensions

The 4v4 system is about solving problems, the players respond to the area you have marked out for them, all the elements of a real game are there for them to understand. However, sometimes the correct pitch layout is not enough, your team has a problem but you are not creating a situation to solve it. This is where changing the pitch dimensions helps.
Enlarging the soccer brain

To get your soccer coaching point across you may need to make the elements different. Your team is struggling to cope with the matches they play, they are losing and however much you drill and train, on match day they are not progressing. On the other hand, another team is finding the correct 4v4 pitch too easy and needs a greater challenge. Changing the elements means the coach can use the existing structure to get his message across more clearly.

Solving the soccer problem

Learning is the key to the soccer coaching sessions you’re running, otherwise you’re wasting your time and your team’s time. This is the mental side of the game. Showing the players how to solve the problem adds to their soccer brain.

The elements force the play

Changing the dimensions of the field is a quick fix to a lot of problems. Making the field larger gives the attackers and midfielders more space to show off their soccer skills. If a team is not scoring, increase the size of the pitch until they learn how to pass and shoot and score. Gradually reduce the pitch to the normal size and they will have learned what they have to do to score. Making the field smaller helps the defending team by reducing the amount of space they have to cover.

Turning defence into attack

Look at the example illustrated. The team is not taking advantage when they win the ball to turn defence into attack. Using a long narrow layout with small goals funnels the players into fast, direct attack through the middle of the pitch.

Attacking small goals needs swift passing to break the defenders down and create opportunities to score. You are encouraging fast passing soccer (football) which is the essence of 4v4. If your team can do it during your soccer coaching drill sessions, watch them go in matches.


rapid break from defence to attack

Take advantage of turnovers quickly, to create fast passing football which is the essence of 4v4 Use the following soccer drill layout: a long narrow field, 55m by 11m for 10 year olds, with a small goal at each end.

Soccer (football) drill rules: No goalkeepers. Restart, dribble or pass in from in front of own goal. If teams cannot bring the ball out initially, have one of the defenders start out in a poor position, which creates a 4v3 for a short period, or start the play 10 yards out from goal.

Tips for a fast soccer drill

Forget off-sides – leave that to another soccer coaching session – they get in the way of what you are trying to coach here. Throw-ins, corners all get in the way. Have helpers placed around the pitch to keep the game going by throwing balls in when one goes out. It makes for a fast soccer training drill and one the players will think is great fun while it enlarges their brains and soccer skills.

Click here for more 4v4 soccer coaching tips.

Click here to get a copy of 64 Small-Sided Soccer Games by Michael Beale, Chelsea FC academy coach.

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