Youth Development Academy - 6 year old players

Soccer for 6 Year Old Players – Fall Season 2014

During the upcoming fall season of 2014, all Scottsdale Soccer Recreational Program games for 6 year old players will be 4 v 4 (with no GKs).  This is in line with the Arizona Youth Soccer Association (AYSA) recommendation for what is best for player development. 

Program Outline:

·     Each team will have a roster size of 10 - 12 players.

·     On game day, the coach shall split the roster into 2 teams who will play simultaneous games on adjacent fields.  If required, substitutes can interchange between games.

·     Each game will consist of 2 matches of 2 x 10 minutes halves.  Teams will then switch opponents for another 2 x 10 minute half match.

·     The field of play will be 40 yards long and 30 yards wide.  The goals are 6 feet wide by 3 feet high.

·     Coaches can coach both games or utilize an assistant coach to help.  A maximum of 2 coaches are permitted on the player / coach sideline (situated in between both fields).  All other spectators must be on the outside of the fields.

·     There are no goalkeepers.  As such, players may not stand and block the mouth of the goal during play; rather they should be encouraged to guard players on the other team.  Players should only enter the goal box to get the ball while actively defending against an offensive player.

·     A roster size of 10 -1 2 will allow coaches to partake in 4 v 4 scrimmages during practice to help simulate game day situations and teach within a small-sided game.

Benefits of Small-Sided Games:

Small-sided games are extremely beneficial for youth soccer players.  Anecdotal evidence and research studies show that youngsters derive greater pleasure from playing soccer in smaller teams and with adapted rules.  As well as being involved in the game more often, players learn more quickly and make more decisions during the course of a game.  As the ball is never far away, greater concentration is required on their part.

This all means that they gain a better understanding of the game than they would when playing on bigger fields.  The fact that there are less players on the field and on each team also means that players receive more attention and have more chances to score goals, which is what children play the game for.  Players are exposed to more attack and defensive situations, increasing their enjoyment and the pace at which they learn.

The key principles of 11 v 11 soccer:  such as width, depth, balance, penetration, etc . . . can all be taught playing small-sided games.  When playing on a smaller field, the levels of energy expended due to continuous involvement, quick movements and sharp changes in direction mean small-sided games are also excellent for improved balance, agility and conditioning.

To sum up, young players touch the ball a lot more often in small-sided games.  They play more passes and find themselves in one-on-one situations.  The repetition of situations in which they have to make decisions helps them to learn and view the game positively.  Active participation also increases their enjoyment, making it easier for them to understand the game and, above all, giving them the freedom to express themselves on the ball.






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