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General Skills - By Age Group

Coaches:  You should address each type of skill every session.  For example your warm-up can focus on fitness and coordination by having kids run, chase, play tag, stretch, hop over hurdles, hop from hoop to hoop.  Then move to a fun technical game like knock-out or kick the coach.  Then do a sharing psychological game where kids have to work together to accomplish a goal.  Finally always finish with live play at goals to work on tactics.


Under-6 - Practice length 30-45 minutes

Technique: dribbling; shooting

Psychology: sharing; fair play; parental involvement; “how to play”; emotional management


Fitness: balance; running; jumping; introduce the idea of how to warm-up; movement education

Tactics: where is the field; which goal to kick at

Under-8 - practice length 45-60 minutes

Technique: ball lifting and juggling; block tackle; receiving ground balls with the inside and sole of the foot; shoot with inside of the foot; toe pass and shot; introduce the push pass and throw-in

Psychology: working in pairs; sportsmanship; parental involvement; “how to play”; emotional management


Fitness: agility; eye/foot and eye/hand coordination; introduce the idea of cool-down; movement education


Tactics: being exposed to all positions; 1 v 1 attack; introduce the names of positions

Under-10 - practice length 60-75 minutes

Technique: running with the ball; passing; instep drive; receiving ground balls with the instep and outside of foot; receiving bouncing balls with the instep (cushion) and sole- inside-outside of foot (wedge); throw-in; fakes in dribbling; introduce heading and crossing. For goalkeepers ready stance; how to hold a ball after a save; W grip; catching shots at the keeper; punting and introduction to goal kicks and throwing


Psychology: working in-groups of 3, 4 or 5; stay focused for one entire half; sensitivity; how to win or lose gracefully; sportsmanship; parental involvement; “how to play”; communication; emotional management


Fitness: endurance; range of motion-flexibility; proper warm-up and cool-down are mandatory now


Tactics: 1 v 1 defending; roles of attacker and defender; 2 v 1 attacking; man-to-man defense; introduction to set plays

Under-12 - practice length 60-75 minutes

Technique: feints with the ball; receiving ground, bouncing and air balls with the heel, shins, thigh, abdomen, chest and head; heading to score goals and for clearances-standing and jumping; chipping to score; outside of foot pass; bending shots; crossing to near post and penalty spot space; heel pass; kicking and receiving with inside of the instep; introduce half volley and volley shooting; introduce slide tackle. For goalkeepers footwork; bowling; low dives and forward diving; angle play; near post play; saving penalty kicks; introduce parrying and boxing


Psychology: teamwork; confidence; desire; mental rehearsal; intrinsic motivation; handling distress; how to learn from each match; sportsmanship; parental involvement; emotional management


Fitness: speed; strength; aerobic exercise


Tactics: 2 v 1 defending; 2 v 2 attacking and defending; roles of 2nd defender, attacker and defender; combination passing; verbal and visual communication for all positions; commanding the goalmouth for the goalkeeper; half-time analysis; corner kick plays-defending and attacking; kick-off play; wall pass; beginning to identify potential roles for players-goalkeeper, defender, midfielder and/or forward; introduce the principles of defense

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