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Training your team using 4v4 coaching methods

When I look back over my coaching career, I can see the stage where I gave up the traditional methods of coaching soccer and took up 4v4. I started coaching winners…

When I started out training junior football teams a decade ago, using drills where lines of boys ran through cones was the thinking man’s way to coach football. I took a team right through from under-4s to under-11s training that way. We did OK. Won some, lost some and by under 11 we were a strong top end of the table team but never quite good enough to win anything.

When my second son was four, I read about Dutch Vision and the 4v4 style of training. I devoured all the information on it and used it that season to train these under-4s. And it worked. We have outpassed every other team every season since then, and now at under-11 they are one win away from claiming top spot in their league.

The traditional route

  • Soccer training drills where players are dribbling through cones is not a soccer-like activity. Long lines of pushing, shoving, giggling children does not help with concentration or help you keep control.
  • These type of soccer drills put the spotlight on poorer players because everyone is watching and they cannot put the effort in due to embarrassment.
  • Better players learn little by running through stationary objects. It doesn’t develop their soccer instincts.
  • Disruptive players have a field day while the coach is concentrating on individuals.

The 4v4 route

  • Using 5v2 or 4v4 in training gives poorer players more of the ball and lets better players control the game. Both sets of players can raise their game and learn from these small sided games.
  • Quick one-touch football is more like soccer than lining up and dribbling cones and shooting at goal. It develops soccer skills and makes the players into a team.
  • More like a proper match with proper soccer-like action.
  • Movement and passing skills are taken onto the pitch from the 4v4 training ground.

What is 4v4?
Based on the central ideas behind Dutch Vision, 4v4 is a coaching system dramatically different from most other systems. Created by the Dutch Soccer Association, its success is evident in the number of world class players produced by such a small country.

using 4v4 coaching methods

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