Session Format


Youth Soccer Coaching Manual for an Instructional Soccer Program


Each Instructional Soccer Program session consists of individual coaches directing their own practices within one of a number of “grids” laid out on a game field.  Each grid is approximately 20 yards by 30 yards.  The grids are delineated by flags at each corner and discs and cones to mark the perimeter.  There is a space approximately five yards wide between each grid and a “service aisle” down the middle.  The Club provides additional discs and cones for use within the grid and “pinnies” or vests which may be used to designate different players for drills or scrimmages.

Players are expected to bring their own balls to practice. Coaches are encouraged to provide their own ball to be used for demonstrations. Coaches may also purchase additional discs, cones, balls, an equipment bag, and/or portable goals from local soccer stores or on-line, to supplement those provided by the Club, if needed for drills.

Coaches assigned to the first session of the day should arrive early enough to help set up the grids.  All sessions must start and end on time.  Coaches assigned to the last session of the day should help pick up the equipment at the end of the session.  (Note that there may be certain corner flags associated with the game field that might need to stay in place.)  Sessions must end on time and the field cleared promptly so the parking lots are available for the next group.  Parents and spectators are requested to stay outside the perimeter of the actual full game field.

Coaches of 3-year olds, however, are encouraged to promote direct participation by their parents.  This has two tremendous advantages:  1.) It reassures “reluctant” or “sensitive” children, who are likely being exposed to a “team” sport for the first time, that they are being supported; and, 2.) It significantly increases the amount of one-on-one instruction time by adding a very large number of “assistant coaches.”

A sample of the grid layout follows.

The grid determines the area to which a team is restricted.  The drills and fun games described later in this manual are not necessarily designed to take up the whole space within the grid.  In fact, many of them are most effective, especially for the younger age groups, when they are performed in a more restricted area.   Smaller areas can be established with cones or discs and enforced by parent helpers.

This manual is currently designed to allow coaches to pick and choose those drills and activities they feel are most appropriate for their age groups and practices.  Clubs may select various options in order to design a standardized program of instruction at each level.

© Copyright, John C. Harves