Soccer Skills:

Coaching U12 Soccer

Focusing on the Fundamentals of Soccer

Tactical

Finally! Tactics become a part of the game as players enter the mental state to understand spatial relationships and more complex topics. You will be able to see the immediate lightbulb go off in players as they are able execute upon topics and concepts directly after introduction. With that understanding of time and space on the field, you can also introduce player positions on the field with success and the expectation that players will be able to maintain personal control to perform their role.

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Fitness

Players begin to ease into the fitness side of soccer by understanding their pace to be able to conserve energy when necessary and when they must go all out. It is really important that coaches continue to monitor player fitness on the field and make substitutions accordingly. Since players will feel “let down” by asking to be substituted, a coach needs to be vigilant for player fatigue. It is appropriate to dedicate some portion of your practice time to fitness, but the best coaches will keep a pace during the paces of practice to integrate fitness into the practice progressions.
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Technical

Soccer players at U12 should have a solid foundation of soccer skills. You can begin to build on that foundation by introducing more complex ball skills, passing, and moves to beat the defender. The foundational ball skills are always a focus for players, but even moreso as you layer on top the tactical concepts for the individual and the team. These topics must be addressed jointly to maximize player and team performance.

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Psychological

The psychology of a U12 player really comes into focus as players head into puberty. Body changes result in a differing world view of themselves and a stronger sense and yearning for independence. Many times there will be a struggle between a player’s “righteousness” and a coach’s want to “help” the player. These can be perceived in different ways with the best of intentions – be patient as the player is learning to assert themselves in the world.

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Team Management

The team management really changes at this age in three significant ways. First, their increased independence from their parents allows you to treat the players as “little people” instead of kids. Holding players responsible for conduct, player performance and attendance all shifts from parents to players. Secondly, the cognitive development allow you to introduce more complex topics and really begin to focus on tactics as a part of the game. Finally, their bodies are very capable of fitness development and – while not a total focus – should be assessed within the scope of practice to ensure players are ready to work hard come match time.

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Soccer Skills

Find Fun Soccer Drills that Will Challenge your Players

Soccer Coaching Blog
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Area of Soccer:
Team Management

Winning Over Player Development? [Basketball Video]

Yes, a basketball video – because the content is completely in parallel to soccer. Besides, sometimes we have to change our view to improve our vision. Stan VanGundy from the Miami Heat discussed the importance of skill development in our youngest players. No matter the sport, the principle remains the same: at our youth stage, […]

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Area of Soccer:
Fitness

Off Season Conditioning for Any Soccer Team

Henry David Thoreau once said, “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” As a coach, this quote readily dissects the work you do with your team after the season is over.  For your team to truly be competitive, you must work with your athletes year round. Soccer fitness, playing, and even team-building are important aspects […]

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Area of Soccer:
Team Management

Managing Volunteer Turnover (Part I in a 2 part series)

Volunteer turnover is a problem in almost every youth sports organization.  Most youth sports leagues are 501 (c) 3 non- profit organizations and rely heavily on volunteers to handle most mission critical tasks ranging from registration, communication, team building, board members and the list goes on. At Blue Sombrero, we work with thousands of youth […]

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Area of Soccer:
Team Management

How to Know if Your Soccer Players “Get it”

As coaches, the only way we can develop players from stage to stage is if we can build on what they’ve learned. No matter if it is tactics or technical – we have to be sure before we move on. As we rush to put on our training sessions and move through our ‘session plan’, […]

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Area of Soccer:
Psychological

Mental Toughness in Soccer: Interview with Simon Hartley

The concept of “Mental Toughness” is a tried and true rallying call for most teams. Every coach wants players who are ‘mentally tough’, but really what does that mean? I had the opportunity to interview Simon Hartley, our resident Soccer Psychology Advisor, about this hot topic. Simon provided his thoughts in an earlier article about “What […]

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Area of Soccer:
Tactical

Soccer Formations: The options – 4-4-2

From the 19th Century, when Defense was virtually unheard of, to the superpowers of the modern game, formations and the shape of your team can and does determine the outcome of a Game, any Game, including yours. This article builds on the soccer formations overview article. Of course, when choosing the formation and shape of […]

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Area of Soccer:
Psychological

What Does Mental Toughness Look Like?

Many coaches talk about mental toughness, but do we really know what true mental toughness looks like? Simon Hartley, Soccer Psychology Adviser to Soccer Classroom, tackles this topic.

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Area of Soccer:
Psychological

Are you Soccer Tough? [mjpurpleaces]

It always cracks me up when I attend recreational youth soccer matches and hear parents yelling to five and six year old kids to “put on their game faces.” Don’t these well-intended parents know that these kids have no idea what a “game face” is on the field? I came across an excellent article from […]

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Area of Soccer:
Tactical

Soccer Formations – An overview

“Football is a simple game made complicated by people who should know better.” – Bill Shankly Formations, part of soccer tactics, are a description of how the players on the pitch are positioned. These formations are altered as and when teams are more defensive or offensive and are used at every level of the game […]

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Area of Soccer:
Team Management

How to Effectively Scout a Soccer Team – The Opposition

The first part of our “ How to effectively scout a soccer team “ edition saw us look at the benefits of what a good scouting system can offer you as well as looking at certain areas within scouting, specifically team shape. The second part covered practical tips for scouting an opponent. This week we […]

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