Tips for Soccer Moms and dads Rotating soccer ball
Progressions and Player Development
by Daniel Frankl, Ph.D.
To be able to choose an appropriate coaching style and suitable skill progressions that address special needs, the coach must have a broad knowledge base about the child and her/his learning, as well as be familiar with the game of soccer. The following phases of player development may be used as presented, or may be further broken into sub-phases.

PHASE

GRADE(S)

(Ages)

GENERAL OBJECTIVES

LEARNING EXPERIENCES



INFORMAL I



INFORMAL II

k - 1

(5-6)

2 - 3

(7-8)

Fun & development of basic motor and soccer skills (e.g., getting used to the ball and its manipulation with hands and feet. Become familiar with the grid concept through lead-up games (using modified equipment and space). Slow controlled movemen with personal ball in open space, around cones, between two lines or targets. Fundamentals of trapping and shooting to target. Small court games 2 X 2 up to 5 X 5 players per team (practice goal-keeping skills but do not use goalie in games).

FUNDAMENTAL I

FUNDAMENTAL II

4 - 5

(9-11)

6 - 7

(12-13)

Fun & refinement of basic skills, and introduction to the fundamentals of team work. Development of health-related fitness components as a special emphasis. Safety & control using modified equipment. Fast controlled movement with ball and opposing player. All players take part in defensive and offensive coordinated team play. Medium size courts and goals with 7 X 7 up to 9 X 9 players per team--including goalie.


FORMAL



FORMAL

8 -10

(14-16)

11 -12

(17-18)

Fun & mastery of advanced skills and game tactics. Position playing and experimentation with offensive & defensive formations. Special emphasis on handling pressure and sports-personship Under pressure ball control & team play. Strategic knowledge & understanding of soccer. Health-and skills-related fitness, and 11 x 11 full-size court tournament play.
Back to top

Note that "fun" is a key general objective starting at the Informal Phase 1 through Formal Phase 2. Kicking a soccer ball down a field should never become serious enough to compel a youngster to intentionally hurt another player in order to gain some game related advantage. The whole league experience becomes a total disaster if the supervising adults allow themselves and the kids to walk away from the field angry with the other team.
The goalie position in the game of soccer is a very important one. In games between players aged 6-9 years, the goalie's performance often determines the game's outcome. At this level, however, more often than not, a game's outcome is determined by a poor as opposed to a stellar goalie performance. Thus, the pressure on a six or seven year old playing the goalie position is very high. Understanding, sensitive, and supportive teammates, parents and coaches may contribute to a more positive goalkeeping experience. Still, the goalie position cannot turn into a more active one, that includes a reasonable amount of opportunities for quality responses. Thus, the goalie position is a stressful role that provides a scarce amount of active participation. I therefore recommend to incorporate goalie skills in practice but to eliminate the position from competition until the age of 11 or 12. Playing without goalies will also sharply increase the total number of goals scored per game. Five to seven-year- old players have little recollection of the won/lost games in a season. Yet, they remember and are proud of goals they scored!
Home || Tips for Soccer || About Author || Coaching Philosophy
Player Development || Fundamentals || Setting Goals || Practice Plans
Leadup Games || Getting Ready || Endurance || Flexibility || Nutrition
Safety Tips || Related Links || SITE INDEX

Last Modified: Sep. 08, 2001