Player Development Objectives for the U9/U10 Age Group

(based on Components of the Game as identified by US & MA Youth Soccer for the U9/U10 Age Group*)

Technique:

  • Ability to pass with accuracy and weight using the inside and outside of the foot (emphasis on quality push pass)
  • Ability to execute instep drive
  • Ability to receive ground balls with the instep and outside of foot (body behind the ball)
  • Ability to receive bouncing balls with the instep (cushion) and the sole, inside and outside of foot (wedge),
  • Ability to complete fakes in dribbling (A fake is done with the feet. The goal of a fake is to get the opponent off balance (wrong footed) or going in the direction opposite of where the player in possession of the ball really plans to go.)
  • Ability to turn with the ball
  • Introduce heading and crossing.
  • For goalkeepers: ready stance, getting the feet set, how to hold a ball after a save, diamond grip, catching shots at the keeper, punting, recovery from down to the ground and up to set position and footwork exercises. Also introduce goal kicks and throwing.

Psychology:

  • Awareness of how to win or lose gracefully, fair play, parental involvement, how to play, communication and emotional management.
  • Increase player responsibility.

Fitness:

  • Endurance
  • Range of motion/flexibility
  • Rhythm exercises and running mechanics.
  • Note: any fitness activities must be done with the ball.
  • Introduce body resistance exercises and the idea of cool down.

Tactics:

  • 1v1 defending – does player know when to defend (quick transition upon losing possession)
  • 1v1 defending – does player know how to defend 1v1
  • Role of 1st attacker and defender, 2v1 attacking,
  • Concept of get goal-side
  • Concept of maintaining small group shape in pairs and threes (emphasize support on both attack and defense),
  • Participating/engaged (purposeful action) both on the ball and when supporting a teammate with the ball
  • Understanding basic principles of attacking
  • Understand of basic principles of set plays

 

These players will demonstrate increased self-responsibility, so they should be given, to a reasonable extent, partial responsibility for their preparation at training sessions and matches. They are very capable of assuming this responsibility when adults step aside and let it happen. Now they can initiate play on their own, which leads to learning through self-discovery and self-expression. They do enjoy and benefit from competition, so all training activities should have objectives and/or a method of scoring. They will intentionally play in groups, although individualism is still the core of their game. Use cooperative games and activities in training sessions to further instill a team mentality.

US Youth Soccer Player Development Model – October, 2013 – Available on the ASC Website.

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