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Our club has started a program called, ‘RecConnect’ to provide a resource for recreational coaches. Five of our club’s premier coaches have ‘adopted’ a 2nd grade boys or girls division. We send out weekly tips and suggestions, make ourselves available to answer questions and attend the games on the weekend. This helps create a stronger link between the rec and premier side of our club and shares the experience of the premier coaches with parents who may not have played or coached before.
I think that giving back to the game in this way is important for coaches that have gained experience through education as well as trial and error.
This week’s question comes from talking to a number of the rec coaches.
They’ve asked about the best formation to use for teams playing 5 v 5
The way I look at formations is first as a vehicle to teach some aspect of the game.
I think we can all agree, I hope, that 5 v 5 is all about developmental. I think there are three ways to organize the players: Box, 1-3-1 and a Diamond.
The video below is one that I made for the coaches on the topic:
In This Episode
When I talk about drills or small-sided games I’m often asked how large the grids should be or how far apart the cones should be. These are variables that depend on so many things. Changing them can dramatically affect your players’ ability to be successful and learn what you want them to learn. Today I look at the various ways you can change an activity depending on what you want to get out of it.
I’ll be taking next week off from the podcast as a take a couple of teams to a Labor Day weekend tournament in Omaha, NE. I’ll be back the following week with an episode on that Friday.
I have been coaching youth soccer for a little while and really enjoy many of your podcasts. I have often found your drills/small games that you have shared to be often very effective at getting ideas across to the players.
One of the things you mentioned in this podcast is the mantra in coaching education that more space means less pressure, and small space means more pressure. What I have experienced is a little different and I am curious about what you think. For inexperienced or weaker players at any age group there is often a conflict between space and success because of the weaker technique. For instances successful possession can be severely limited when players become spaced farther apart than they can effectively pass. When the number of defenders is limited, movement off of the ball can obviously help increase the success of possession. But often in active play, the technique of passing can be so limited as to force players to play in space small enough to where the pressure from a defender is not really effectively avoided. Obviously numbers up can initially provide success, but the exercise still needs to progress to become more game like. Essentially what I am saying, in my mind it is not really space but instead a groups effective (and allowed) passing distance that can reduce pressure. Extending the passing distances actually and practically reduces pressure only if it can be done effectively beyond the movement, pace and aerobic capacity of the opponents without the ball. How can this idea to be more fully appreciated and coached?
I agree with what you’re saying. There is definitely a point of diminishing return when it comes to adding space or distance. More space doesn’t help if the player’s technique doesn’t allow them to take advantage of it.
Numbers up situation is just part of the process. As the player’s ability improves then they should be challenged with even numbers and even outnumbered situations at higher levels.
Just as an FYI, in the USSF F License course they recommend 10 yards for length per player on a team. So for example, when using 1 player (like a 3v1 possession) would be 10 yards, 2v2 20 yards, etc. I’ve used this as a guideline the last two practices and it seems to be working well.