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12U Coaching Guide

Components of the Game for the 12U Age Group*

Technique: moving throw-in, master the qualities of a bouncing spinning ball. Experiment with the qualities of a flighted ball, feints with the ball (A feint, or body swerve, is done only with the body, no contact with the ball until the player in possession finally plays the ball; A feint could be done with almost any part of the body), receiving bouncing and air balls with the thigh and chest, first touch receiving, heading to score goals and for clearances while standing or jumping, outside of foot passing, receiving with either foot, short passing with both feet, bending shots, crossing to near post space and penalty spot space and heel and flick passing. Introduce half volley and volley shooting, chipping to pass and slide tackle. For goalkeepers: W grip, footwork, underarm bowling, side-arm throwing to targets, taking own goal kicks, side-winder kick, low and forward diving and angle and near post play. Introduce deflecting and boxing.

Tactics: 2v1 defending, 2v2 attacking and defending, roles of 2nd attacker and defender, man-to-man defense, combination passing, playing on and around the ball as a group with purpose, verbal and visual communication for all positions, halftime analysis, general work on all restarts, wall pass at a variety of angles, passing combinations on the move and rotation of all players through the team – everyone plays in each position. Reinforce the principles of defense. For goalkeepers: positional play, basic angle play (ebb and flow) – into and down the line of the flight of the ball, commanding the goalmouth for the goalkeeper and positioning during a penalty kick and communication.

Psychology: Keep it fun and enjoyable to foster a desire to play, self-motivation. Focus on teamwork, confidence, desire, mental skills, handling distress, how to learn from each match, fair play, parental involvement and emotional management (discipline).

Fitness: Fitness work continues to be done with the ball. Strength can be improved with body resistance and aerobic exercises. Also focus on agility at speed (sharp turns), acceleration, deceleration, reaction speed, range of motion exercises, proper warm-up and cool-down (include static stretching in the cool-down) are highly recommended now.

*Please note that the components of the game are in a priority order for this age group.

Typical 12U Training Session

 • Should not exceed one hour and 30 minutes.
• Warm-up, small group activities, range of motion stretching. -approximately 15 minutes-
• Introduce large group/team activities (six to eight players).
• Continue with directional games. Play to targets and/or zones. -approximately 30 minutes-
• Conclude with Small-Sided Games, 8v8 with goalkeepers. -approximately 35 minutes-
• Finish with cool-down activity, including static stretching. -approximately 10 minutes-

A great deal of coaching within 4v4 games.  The implementation of developmentally appropriate activities to encourage decision making and increase training demands is evolving in the club environment for this age group. Since sports heroes are a factor in the lives of these children, encourage them to watch high level soccer. The club culture must stress the need for development of the individual player over team building.  It is recommended that the club introduce players to sport psychology, nutrition and fitness specialists at this age.

Encourage players to watch high level soccer in person and on television.


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AYSO Region 128

Pellissippi Soccer Complex, 2340 Solway Road
Knoxville, Tennessee 37934

Email Us: [email protected]
Phone : 865-694-8368
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