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Clarke County Soccer League

Guidelines and Techniques

Effective Coaching Techniques

CCSL is invested in developing players and coaches. The following techniques have been shared by other certified coaches, including coaches at the Challenger Coach Clinic.

  • Ask lots and lots of questions to reinforce ideas, keep them listening and involved.  As we opened the clinic, the kids were all grouped together chatting and the coach walked up… He said “When I’m talking, you’re what?” Kids answered “listening” and he suddenly had their undivided attention. When setting up cones for a drill or game, the guys were always asking/not telling. What kind of touches do we want to use?  Kids answer “small”. Right, small, why? Kids answer “to keep control of the ball”…. We are going to work on Feints, what is a feint? Kids answer (or maybe they don’t know, so Coach answers or assistant coach answers) – a move to trick the defender and make them think you are going one way when you are going another. So, I’ll put a cone here, this cone is???  Kids answer “a defender”, etc…. constant interaction between coach and team – no lectures, a full conversation.

  • Don’t be afraid to stop a drill or scrimmage to bring home a point/explain something. First have a phrase your players know means stop whatever you are doing – Freeze – whistle blow, whatever. Don’t point out mistakes – give the player another chance to look at the situation and ask them “what could you have done differently?” Even reposition the players and let them see the situation again and make a better choice. Make sure that you occasionally stop play to praise a good move/decision, as well.

  • Positive reward system. The Challenger coaches use “World cup points”… You earn points for nailing a skill or drill, or anything really. You’d be surprised what the kids would do for a couple of “World cup points” ☺  At the end of the session, a simple “who can collect the most cones?” had the kids scattering to get the most and help with post-practice clean up.

U6 Coach Guidelines at a Glance

FUN is your top priority. The game guidelines below are given to help create consistency across teams and for education purposes.

  • Play 3 vs. 3, each player should get at least 50% playing time

  • Use size 3 ball

  • No goalie

  • No referee, use coach or parent and encourage “do-overs”

  • 4 quarters, 8 minutes each, do NOT switch sides at half time

  • No penalties, fouls or offsides called at this level

  • Use kick-in, not throw-in, goal and corner kicks per FIFA

  • Keep defenders at midfield to allow goal kicks to get into play

  • No slide tackles and discourage keeping score

  • Opposing players and coaches will shake hands after the match

U8 Coach Guidelines at a Glance

The U8 level introduces our young players to their first taste of structured soccer with a referee. At this level, players should begin to understand the value of team play, but having fun is still the priority.

  • Play 4 vs. 4, each player should get at least 50% playing time (5 vs. 5 is appropriate if rosters are
    overloaded & both coaches agree and notify the referee)

  • Use size 3 ball

  • No goalie (or defender camped out in front of the goal, teach defense not goal-guarding)

  • Center referee only. Infringements should be explained to offender.

  • 4 quarters, 12 minutes each, switch sides at half time

  • Use throw-ins, allow one retake during games (referee/coach should demonstrate proper technique)

  • Teach offense and defense; focus on passing and playing in pairs/as a team

  • No offsides penalties

  • Goal and corner kicks per FIFA

  • No slide tackles and discourage keeping score

  • Opposing players and coaches will shake hands after the match

U10 Coach Guidelines at a Glance

This is the first level that a goalie is used and players are more team conscious. They should learn to anticipate and not just react at this level.

  • Play 7 vs. 7 (6 field players plus goalkeeper)

  • Use size 4 ball

  • Center referee required, 2 assistant referees/linesman will be provided whenever possible (not required)

  • Two 25-minute halves, no overtime

  • No offsides penalties, build-out lines will be in effect, to include no punting

  • Goal and corner kicks per FIFA

  • Heading is NOT permitted

  • No slide tackles

  • Opposing players and coaches will shake hands after the match

  • Coaches draft players before each season and keep players they've previously coached so teams stay together

  • The season culminates with a friendly round-robin tournament where a champion and runner-up are crowned

U12 Coach Guidelines at a Glance

  1. Play 9 vs. 9 (8 field players plus goalkeeper)

  2. Use size 4 ball

  3. Center referee and 2 assistant refs (ARs)

  4. Two 30-minute halves, no overtime

  5. Offsides penalty will be called

  6. Heading permitted

  7. Discourage slide tackles

  8. Kicks and penalties per FIFA

  9. Opposing players and coaches will shake hands after the match

  10. Coaches draft players before each season and keep players they've previously coached so teams stay together

  11. The season culminates with a friendly round-robin tournament where a champion and runner-up are crowned

Clarke County Soccer League

P.O. Box 720 
Berryville, Virginia 22611
Email : commissioner@clarkesoccer.org
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