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This guide will help you to coach the best soccer drills for U10s. You will need to know what to coach and how you coach it which will give your players the development blocks they need to be able to play at their best in matches and games. 

What do Players Understand at this Level?

Youth players at the U10 age will have played the game for two or three years so will have an understanding of the ideas you are developing. Some ideas will be new and you will have to allow time for them to take that on board. . Fun is still very important at this age but other factors come in that make it fun like technique and tactics.  At this age, they should play  7v7 in matches with technique, ball skills the main development plus tactics, and position awareness although they shouldn't be pushed into a position just yet as they are still growing and learning their best position.

How Long Should a Training Session be?

You should be working on training for around 1 hour 30 minutes and play matches for 25 minutes each half at this age group. For training sessions use a warm-up, two drills, and a small-sided game. Thinks about water breaks and rest breaks when you will talk to your players – Warm up for 15 minutes then use drills for around 40 minutes before a game at the end when you look for your coaching points.

At the start of the session do a quick check for water bottle, jacket if the weather is cold, shinpads and CLEAN boots! It is important they are packing their own snacks and water and that they are cleaning their own boots.

Targets at U10

Ball control and technical skills

  1. Technique – control the ball using different parts of  both feet and include changes of direction
  2. Defending and attacking in 1v1 games 
  3. Decision-making in all areas of the pitch – dribble or pass, go right or left, mark the right player.

Technical skills

  1. Speed of play using skills like dribbling and one or two touch passing
  2. Making the right choice when trying to beat a player – skills like feint
  3. General all-round skills like with ABCs

Game Craft

  1. Being in control of body movements at speed and able to keep possession by themselves or passing the ball

What the U10 Age Group Should Know

Here are four phases in a pattern of play:

  1. PHASE 1 – IN POSSESSION: Keeping the ball is vital if teams want to score goals. 
  2. PHASE 2 – LOSS OF POSSESSION: Now the players must quickly recover to get behind the ball, try win it back quickly and prevent the opposition from scoring. . 
  3. PHASE 3 – OUT OF POSSESSION: The team must fall back into a defensive shape pressing all over the pitch. 
  4. PHASE 4 - WIN POSSESSION BACK: Your team must try to take advantage of players out of position the minute they lose possession of the ball.

How should a Player Develop by the End of the Season?

This is what your player should be able to do before they go on to U11:

Skill

  1. Keeping possession with passing, receiving and individual skills
  2. Good passing with focus on direction of pass, weight of pass and passing decisions
  3. Defend in 1v1 and overload situations

Technique

  1. Run or dribble the ball when the game allows them to
  2. Individual skills to keep possession
  3. Use more than one part of the body to receive and control the ball 

Challenges

  1. Use one or two touch play
  2. Create and exploit space
  3. Win 1v1s in attacking and defending situations

Coaching Tips for Using Soccer Drills

Get Parents Onside

  • Meet with parents prior to the season and tell them how you want them to behave during training and games – any problems to sort out after training
  • Explain the development steps for this season and that not every player can be striker!
  • What do the parents want out of the season?
  • You need admin help and help setting up goals et

Talking to Explain Coaching Points

Some things take longer than others to talk about or explain – you need some time to talk about the last match you played and the next match you play. Spend as little time as possible on this and use the coaching time in drills and games to get coaching points across. You can use drills that work when you have to stop it to talk over a coaching point but try not to do this very often.

Mistakes

Mistakes help you to coach so don't get annoyed when they happen. Allow time for self correction but if a player is constantly making the same mistake take them to one side and explain. If it is team tactics talk to the group.

Bad Behaviour

Don't allow bad behaviour. Either use your club officials or make the player sit out depending on how severe it is. If players get away with bad behaviour it will eventually ruin your season.

Importance of Questions at Training and Matches

Questions help you and your players to understand each other and give you an indication of whether your players understand what you are coaching them. You must make sure you are going to your training sessions knowing what the coaching are that you are teaching your players – if you don't understand how can your players understand? 

The main attributes of using questions and the reason why we do are:

  1. Switches brains on
  2. Updates coach on what players already know
  3. The whole team feels involved
  4. Gets opinions from players helps team bonding

U10 Soccer Drills

The following activities underpin the development of the basic skills that are the building blocks of the complete player. At U10s players need a mixture of practice and fun games to develop their expertise and enjoyment of the game.

6v6 Small-Sided Game

1. 6v6 Small-sided Game

In this 6v6 game you want to see teams attacking and defending at the end of practice – which players are performing best in the scenario and why? It should be a reflection of the work you have done with your players using good technique.

Through The Gap

2. Through The Gap

Having a good first touch is key in keeping possession, playing quickly and adding creativity into a player's game.

2v1 In The Final Third

3. 2v1 in The Final Third

This attacking drill works on overloads in attack with 4v3 in midfield and 2v1 in the final third – attackers can go 2v1 to goal but should also consider 1v1 with creative play. Good shooting is vital to the drill.

2v1 In The Final Third

4. Third Man Counter Attack

A great way to get players to pass and move in a counter-attacking style when your team has won the ball and can take advantage of overloads in the opposition half.

2v2 Battle

5. 2v2 Battles

Great session for getting players working in pairs; testing their passing, dribbling, shooting and decision-making.

Supporting Underlapping Runs

6. Supporting Underlapping Runs

Players need to be able to support one another in a variety of ways, get your squad dribbling with creativity and underlapping the person in possession.

Creating Overloads With 4v3

7. Creating Overloads with 4v3

Get players supporting defence as well as attack by creating overloads and using intelligent tactics to defend two goals.

Purposeful Passing

8. Purposeful Passing

Being able to read the game and know what to do when you receive the ball requires players to look up when controlling the ball. Use this drill to turn your players into purposeful passers.

Single Striker

9. Single Striker

Playing with a lone striker can sometimes be an advantage and if teams can get the ball through to their striker, they will score more goals.

Bank or Gamble

10. Bank or Gamble

Providing players with fun activities which are game based is a great way for players to learn, both socially and technically.

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