Soccer Coaching Blog | Professional Soccer Coaching Advice

Dealing with the ‘younger’ players in your squad

dave clarkeI was explaining my ‘youth’ policy for my younger teams at a dinner party last week when one of the other guests on my table said: “But your players are all the same age!”

What another coach would understand, but this guest didn’t, is that within an age bracket, say U10s, there can be up to a year difference between some of the players.

And that makes a huge difference in youth teams. some players will grow quicker than others and be taller and struggle to cope with coordination, while the younger ones find they are brushed off the ball easily.

You should try and give each one of your players targets to meet during the season and also give them as much time playing matches as the older ones in your squad. By helping them to develop you may just find a gem that you didn’t realise you had – and a lot of coaches never discover that the players they leave on the bench every week could make a difference to their teams.

You could give players targets at each session or match, like “I will try to head every ball that comes to me at head height”, or “instead of dribbling into the box every time I will cross the ball”. You must make a note of this at the end of the session or match and talk to your player about it.

It is not unlike the top teams who have to bring young players through to the first team. At Chelsea Carlo Ancelotti is keen to bring youth through and that is hard when you have such a strong first team. However Ancelotti reckons he has found a star player through his youth experiments. “In six months we have found a fantastic young player in Josh McEachran. Others from the academy are close to playing for us. We hope to find more.”

 Soccer Skills and Drills


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