Discovery Phase U5s to U9s Principles

  • Discovering one’s (im)possibilities through trial and error
  • Natural development: ‘learn FOOTBALL by playing football’
  • No ‘coaching’ but organising fun football exercises
  • Replicating the ‘street/park football’ environment of the past
  • Emphasis on building a love of the game.

As a coach make sure session is well run, organised and prepared. Build a team of confident players able to cooperate towards the same goal.

Confident player = is conscious with a ball under pressure of opponents/time.

Easiest way is to choose a skill or combination of skills from the development pyramid below.

For U5/6’s and U/7’s two weekly training sessions of 45 minutes and one game during the weekend is the maximum safe workload, while for U/8’s and U/9’s the length of the sessions can be increased to 60 minutes.

  • Ball mastery

A lot of touches on the ball per time in challenging environment – limit space, limit time, ensure looking around, split attention, add speed, change sizes of balls-tennis, rugby etc.

  • Receiving and passing

Form of passing drills or games in a restricted space, space awareness, do not stop the incoming ball, move it into space, manage both while moving, jogging, sprinting

  • 1v1

Games 1v1 on 2,3,4 goals, targets to hit, to score you need to dribble through, don’t let one game go for too long other kids will be just watching and not playing, don’t be afraid to use “organized” chaos (play multiple 1v1s at the same time on the same goals)

  • Speed

Speed with/without the ball, speed of certain parts of body, agility ladder, races, relays with/without the ball, speed in a straight line, speed while reacting on movement of opponent, “mirror” exercises.

  • Finishing

How do you win a game? By scoring goals. Allow learning on that skill, types of kick, combine more skills move-pass-move-receive-shoot, alone, 2v1, 3v2 etc.

  • Group play

Small sided games, don’t do big numbers (9v9 in U6, kids won’t understand), training games 3v3 and 4v4 max, team who is not playing has to achieve 5 juggles to enter the game or etc. Play on more goals at once, more teams .

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