Playing football is very simple, but playing simple football is the hardest thing there is. [Johan Cruyff] 




U10 Training Format

Typical U-10 Training Session

  • 1 hour and 15 minutes or less. 
  • Warm-up, partner and small group activities, dynamic stretching. (15 min)
  • Soccer Activities, individual and partner activities, introduce small group activities (4 to 6 players). Add more directional games. Play to targets and/or zones. (20-25 min)
  • Free Play, small-sided game of 6v6, two goals with goalkeepers. (20-25 min)
  • Cool Down (5-10 min)

The end of each training session should be devoted to playing 4v4, 5v5 and 6v6 practice games. Fun games involving smaller numbers can be played, especially 1v1, 2v1 and 3v2 or 5v3 leading up to a final training activity.

Find more formats here:



Responding to Mistakes

How to react to mistakes:

Give encouragement immediately after a mistake

If the player knows how to correct the mistake encouragement alone is sufficient

When appropriate, give corrective instruction after a mistake, but always do so in an encouraging and positive way



training exercise

Running Baces

Each player has a ball.  There are 4 bases in the grid, one in each corner.  Players try to dribble their ball without being tagged. Taggers carry a pinnie to distinguish themselves. If the player gets tagged, they exchange places with the "tagger".  (exchanging pennie for ball) 

Players are safe in any one of the 4 bases. Only one player allowed in a base at one time. If a new players enters a base, the old player must leave. 


  • multiple taggers
  • Fewer bases 
  • players can stay on base for 5 seconds before exiting
  • 2 players allowed in each base. 
  • Play with fewer balls: can only be tagged if you have the ball. or, if you don't have a ball (balls must be passed).



Be Positive!

  1. Give a lot of positive feedback

  2. Set realistic expectations

  3. Give positive feedback for desirable behavior as soon as it occurs

  4. Praise effort as much as you praise results 




training exercise

4 colors 4 zones

Create a small grid approximately 20X30 yards. In each corner create a square of cones using 4 different colors.  This will create 4 different colored spaces.  Players are dribbling freely in the grid when the coach calls out a color.  All players dribble quickly toward the colored box.  


call more than 1 color at a time.  “blue, yellow” Players then head to blue first and finish in yellow.  

Limit the touches to a certain foot or a certain part of foot.  right foot only, inside of foot only.  

Coaching points:

head up, eyes looking for space, toe down, heel up while dribbling, check for open space, quick change of direction


4 colors 4 zones.png



A Good Pass


What makes a good pass? 

The weight of the pass. The accuracy.  The intention behind the pass.  Most would answer all of the above.  

But what about a pass to feet?  

I often hear coaches call a pass to feet a "good pass" and a pass not to feet a "bad pass".  I would encourage you to rethink the communication of this idea.  Main reason...its limiting.  To teach a young player that the only "good pass" is a pass to feet you are teaching them a way of playing soccer that limits their play.  A pass into space, a pass to where the player is headed or a pass encouraging the player to move into space are examples of passes that are actually quite good even though they are not to feet.  Limit the "rules" and give players freedom for creativity and  expression on the pitch.  




Dribble Exercise

rob the nest.png

rob the nest

Place 5 squares in the grid.  One in each corner and one in the middle.  

Divide the group into each of the four corners.  

Put all of the balls, as many as you have, in the middle square.  

When the coach says “GO”, one player from each square goes to the middle and takes one ball back to their corner, tags their teammate and the next player goes to the middle.  

The winning team is the one that has the most amount of balls in their corner when there are no remaining balls in the middle.  


When no balls are left give an additional 60 seconds for players to follow the same rules but remove the balls from their opponents squares.  Corners cannot be protected.    




Delivering Coaching Points (Part 2)

Don't tell when you can ask?

It is necessary to constantly test your players with questions.  There is a reason the socratic method is used throughout the world in educational settings.  Set problems for your players to solve and give them the space and time to solve them.  Force them into thinking for themselves.


coaching part 2.jpg



Training Format

When putting together your training session, keep a standard format in mind.  For example:


  • 45 minutes or less.
  • Every player should have a ball.
  • Warm-up, including movement, use of ball, fun games and challenges (15 min)
  • Soccer Activities, individual and partner activities, game like situations (15 min)
  • Free Play, finish with a 3v3 game with two goals, no goalkeepers (15 min)

The end of each training session should be devoted to playing 3v3 practice games. Fun games involving 1v1, 2v1, 1v2 and 2v2 can lead into the final activity of 3v3. Coaches can use this time to teach the rules of the game, discuss spacing, and game situations.

Coaches, use a games approach to learning. Make sure each player has a ball as the increased number of touches on the ball will more quickly develop players. Have a selection of game-like activities planned, avoid being drill oriented and focus on fun.

Find more formats here:




Character and Training

Danielle Slaton, a former U.S. Soccer women’s national team player, explains how to weave together character-education themes for youth with specific training activities in practice. The goal is to have activities that contribute to enhancing player skills but also reinforce messages about character, leadership and how to continue to develop as a person.



Training Exercise

1 V 1 Duels

The players are divided into two teams, and positioned at either side of the coach outside a 15x20 yard grid with two small goals (or set of cones) on each end line.  The coach serves a ball into the grid and the players try to gain possession and score on their opponent, in either of the 2 goals.  

Play for about 20 seconds, until a goal is scored or the ball is out of bounds.


- A goal in the closest goal = 1pt.  Ball passed into the goal = 5pts.  Dribble to the opposition’s goal or through the cone goal is 10pts.

- Players can only score in the opponent's goal.

- Coach can make it a 2v1 game with bonus points for goals scored after a turn or a move past an opponent. 

Coaching points:  winning possession, attacking the goal, beating an opponent off the dribble


1 v 1 duels.png



Delivering Coaching Points (Part 1)

Keep it simple! 

Limit your instruction to one point.  Have the conversation last less than 30 seconds.  Be specific with your key point and make it actionable.  Have the point be something the players can immediately put into action.  




Importance of Tactics


Tactics are so important because everybody has to know what they have to do on the pitch. The relationships and behaviours off the pitch between team-mates have to be as good as possible. [Pep Guardiola]