AYSO has helped produce the likes of Landon Donovan, Alex Morgan, Alejandro Bedoya and countless other soccer stars playing throughout the world and in elite college programs in the U.S. For players to reach that level, they need to be exposed to every situation they could face in a game as frequently as possible. The best way to do this is by urging coaches in your Regions to train using small-sided games.
Our Coaching Manuals outline the best ways to conduct small-sided games to maximize development opportunities and make players better. By shrinking the field, we make our players play in an environment that encourages quick play and fast decision making. This helps spark creativity and allows them to express themselves.
There are countless benefits to small-sided games—a player will maximize contact with the ball, increase their involvement and make more mistakes for them to improve on. They’ll get more scoring opportunities, be exposed to lots of attacking and defending situations and they’ll have the chance to repeat skills over and over.
In a recent interview, Tab Ramos, head coach of the U-20 U.S. Men’s National team, talked about the importance of developing technically savvy players from a young age.
“We need to make the game smaller. We need our players, from already 7 and 8 years old, to be playing in tighter environments so we know how to handle a ball better.”
“When I look at our U-20 and U-23 players and their ability to handle the ball with a man on their back, and then I look at the ability of a player from Guatemala, for example, or El Salvador, in the way they manage the ball—and I’m not even talking about Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Brazil, just Central America—their relationship with the ball and the way they use their bodies to protect the ball, we are very naive when it comes to that.”
For coaching points and creative ideas for small-sided games to improve your Region’s players, contact us here for more information on the AYSO National Coaching Program and Coaching Manuals.