Youth Soccer Training Session Model

Youth Training Session Model

In a previous article we spoke about the importance of creating training sessions for your youth and outlined the basic model.  Now we are going to go in and dissect the model so you get a better understanding of the process.

1.  Warm-Up:  The warm-up can be a fun game, a coordination exercise (focus on movement of different body parts), or technical progression (technique plus coordination).  Personally, I like most of my warm-ups to be a technical progression that really introduces that topic of the day.  For example, if I am teaching shooting, I might incorporate some passing here since shooting is really nothing more than a purposed pass.   The real goal is to loosen them up and keep their motivation while introducing the topic of the day.  The warm up should last about 20 minutes.

2.  Technique Development:  For youth players, it is very important to have them finish on goal during technique development as often as possible.  It will keep their motivation levels high and help them master the coveted capacity of shooting.    Here we can introduce tactical offensive and defensive situations to make the situation more realistic.  Just remember, we must always progress from simple to complex.  For example, if we are introducing the technique of taking players on 1 v 1 to goal, we might start with a cone to beat, then maybe a passive defender, then finish with an active defender who is trying to win the ball.  All our technical sessions include small sided games or team shadow play at the least.  This session should last approximately 20 Minutes.

3.  Educational Small Sided Games:  Now we start to bring it all together with added pressure.  Remember, you could run drills all day, but you will never develop a player to the degree the game can.  “The Game is the Best Teacher!”  Here we limit the space, put the players under pressure, and ask them to incorporate the topic of the day.  To further drive home the learning objectives, we can play transition games (linking the three sectors, games with specific rules (limit player creating an unpredictable environment), or even adapted games (simulate a specific game situation).  During this course of play, we are still jumping in to emphasize our coaching points.  This session should last about 20 minutes.

4.  Game Situation:  The most important part of the session.  This segment allows for the following:

a.  Speed of thought:  Good decision making under pressure.

b.  Speed of improvisation:  The ability of the player to link their coordinative development up with their mental speed to execute a decision under pressure.

It is here that we allow the kids to play and express themselves without fear of failure.  They should not be chastised and should be encouraged to be creative.  This session should last about 20 minutes.

5.  Cool Down:  This section could involve a slow jog, visualization, active stretching, or even something as simple as juggling.  It allows the player to taper down from their session and transition back to normal activities.  This session should last about 10 minutes.

As we close on this topic, there is one thing I really want to emphasize.  As a coach, you need to make sure that you have your sessions with you when you are training.  There is no shame in having a clip board with you to take notes and refer to during your sessions.  Honestly, there is no way for you to conduct an effective training session without that reference and follow up notes.

It is very important that each of the 5 areas have coaching points or concepts listed on your training sessions so you can emphasize what you are trying to get out of the section.  For example, if we are working on shooting, some of my coaching points or concepts might be:

  1. Look up to see the position of the goalie
  2. Head down with knee and body over the ball
  3. Strike the ball with the laces and land on striking foot
  4. Use your arms to balance the body
  5. Location of plant foot should be roughly 6 inches from ball
  6. Etc.

The coaching points or concepts give you and your session focus and purpose and must not ever be taken for granted.

Share your coaching sessions with me below.

Don’t forget to “Keep it Simple”,


Coach Randle

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