Understanding the capabilities of the U6 player, we know that players at this age group have:
- No sense of direction
- No sense of boundaries
- No soccer vision – they are only aware of their most immediate surroundings
Given those characteristics, does it make any sense to try and setup your players on the field? We don’t think so either.
We also read articles online and speak with coaches who are looking to “hide” a player on the field. We think this goes against the very spirit of the game and notion of player development. Unfortunately, we lose our minds as coaches trying to win instead of being patient advocates turning players onto the game and developing them over a season. A player’s abilities at age five and six are no indication of the player he will become over many seasons of development. Stay patient…your U6 Tiger team isn’t going to change the world if it is 6-0, 3-3 or 0-6.
The goal is to help develop creatively thinking soccer players. Instead of giving positions out on the field – after all teams should be playing small sided games of 3v3 or 4v4 – encourage your players to “find new (or open) space” on the field where they can help and support their teammates. By allowing players this challenge, we’ve removed the rigid and inflexible positions, which are surely detrimental to the player’s enjoyment and growth in the game.
By allowing for natural movement on and off the ball, players begin to see the game and will move into support positions in order to get the ball. These lessons will serve the young player well into his soccer career as he better understands angles, runs and support.
If you come into the season realizing that you’re wasting your time trying to develop positions on the field, you’ll be far ahead of the game!