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Age Group Characteristics

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
FC Richmond Recreational Soccer offers the following age divisions:
 

U4s Spring 2016.jpg

 

U4 Developmental Track (soccer for 3 year olds):

  • (6) 45 minute sessions on Saturdays

An introduction to soccer, the beautiful game, in a “nurturing” environment. Sessions are designed to promote personal growth and development. Social benefits from a sports learning atmosphere which better prepares them for the next level. Players learn parts of the field, soccer moves and the language of the game. Professional Coaches with a combined 20 years of experience in player development. Each player will receive an FC Richmond jersey and socks.

The FC Richmond U4 soccer program is designed for our “newest” and youngest soccer players. The program consists of six (45-minute) sessions, held on Saturdays, which focus on teaching the language of the game, movement with the ball, and basic skill and spatial development.  Coaches understand the value of fun and seek to engage players in an encouraging environment. Creative games are utilized each session to spotlight a central idea which serves as a building block in players’ development. Each week includes focused instruction, and as players progress through the season, they will move into small-sided games as they prepare for the next level and team play.

Two experienced coaches lead the clinics with the help of volunteer travel players from the FC Richmond Magic, Mystx, and Metro teams. Head Coaches, Rebecca Ruth Madison and Tinsley Jones, both former players in the FC Richmond program themselves, playing as members of the first Mystx teams, call it a privilege to re-engage with the club at such a fundamental level of player development.

Rebecca Ruth Madison brings a wealth of coaching experience as she has coached various soccer levels including recreation, travel, high school, and within the Olympic Development Program (ODP). Her decorated playing career includes collegiate play at both the University of Central Florida and Virginia Commonwealth University. She is the first to say that she finds the most joy in developing the first-time player.

Her co-coach, Tinsley Jones, played club soccer at James Madison University and after returning to Richmond, played a few seasons with the Richmond Kickers Destiny as part of the USL W-League. She enjoys instilling a love for the game in young players and enjoys seeing players thrive and develop each season.

U5 Developmental Track 4-5YO

League play begins in this track.  Players who are at least 4 years of age will practice one time per week with a coach and play games on Saturdays in our House League.  The practice is 45 minutes in length and games consist of (4) - 8 minute quarters.

 

 

U5 & U6 AGE GROUP CHARACTERISTICS &

SKILL PRIORITIES

 Although sometimes we may mistake 5-6 year-olds for little adults, they are clearly not little adults. They have many years of childhood and development to enjoy before they are able to look at life in a similar fashion to adults. The reason for this is that they need time to intellectually, emotionally, and physically develop.  Dribbling should be the primary focus of our efforts, and practices should strive to give each player as many touches on the ball as possible.  In order to fully understand this wonderful age group and to make practices run as smoothly as possible, it is extremely important for us to understand the following characteristics about U5-U6 children. 

Typical Characteristics of U5-U6 Players

• Ego-centric - focused on themselves – reality to them is solely based on what they see and feel

• Unable to see the world from another’s perspective – it is “the world according to me” time. Asking them to understand how someone else is seeing something or how they feel is unrealistic

• Everything is in the here and now – forget about the past and future, they live in the moment.

• Heating and cooling systems are less efficient than adults – we need to give frequent water breaks (every 8-10 minutes) or they may just run until they cannot run anymore

• Enjoy playing, not watching – they feel no enjoyment from watching others play when they could be playing too. Make sure every player has a ball in practice so every player is always playing

• Limited attention span (on average 15 seconds for listening, 10-15 minutes when engaged in a task) – keep your directions concise and to the point.

• Effort is synonymous with performance – if they have tried hard, they believe they have done well. This is a wonderful quality and we should be supportive of their enthusiasm

• Active imaginations – if we utilize their imaginations in practice activities, they will love practice!

• Look for adult approval – watch how often players look to you for approval or to see if you are looking. Also be encouraging when they say “Coach, look what I can do!”

• Unable to think abstractly– asking them to think about spatial relations or runs off the ball is unrealistic

• Typically have 2 speeds -- extremely fast and stopped

• Usually unaware of game scores – we should keep it that way

• Often like to fall down just because it is fun – they are just children having fun ☺

• Often cannot identify left foot vs. right foot – they know which foot they use most and if they point to their feet you can help teach them left and right 

Skill Coaching Priorities

·          EMPHASIZE - Dribbling with all sides & surfaces of both feet (Inside, outside, sole, etc)

·          Dribble out of trouble rather than just kick

·          Dribble past someone to penetrate

·          Receiving - Soft first touch for control

·          Basic Kicking

·          Movement Education – Running, Jumping, backwards, turning, falling down, etc.

·          Basic coordination and motor skills

·          Keep it active and FUN! – No laps, lines, lectures

Game & Practice Specifications

·          Teams are made up of up to 6 players and games are played 3-A-Side with no goal-keepers

·          Games consist of four 8 minute quarters

·          Substitutions are made between quarters not during. The game opens up as players tire out.

·          Players should receive 50% playing time

·          Balls should be size #3

·          Practices should be 45 minutes to 1 hour max.

·          End ALL practices with a game – this is why the kids are here and we want them to WANT to come back


Coaching Education Recommendations

      ·          USSF National "F" License and/or State “E” Coaching License - For course descriptions and schedules go to www.vysa.com and click on Coaching Educatio

·          Visit www.FCRichmond.com Coaches Corner for links to educational resources

 

U7 & U8 AGE GROUP CHARACTERISTICS &

SKILL PRIORITIES

Although U7-U8 children may begin to be more mature and physically advanced than U5-U6 children, we must remain patient and not try to force them to develop too quickly. Dribbling should continue to be the primary focus of our efforts, though passing and shooting should be introduced at this age as well. U7-U8 players tend to work best when in pairs and we should allow them to work in pairs (coach selected) often. We must continue to make sure that fun is a central theme in practice. Player development will occur most appropriately and expeditiously if all players are enjoying themselves.

Typical Characteristics of U7-U8 Players

• Tend to play well in pairs – Try to set up the pairs yourself to control the games and manage the personalities

• Are now able to take another’s perspective – they now have a sense of how others are feeling

• Still unable to think abstractly – still do not have this capability, be patient

• Heating and cooling system less efficient than adults– make sure to give frequent water breaks

• Prefer playing to watching – keep everyone active during practice and remember, no lines, laps, or lectures

• Limited attention span (on average 15-20 seconds for listening, up to 20 minutes when engaged in a task) – this may vary greatly on any given day depending on school, diet, etc. Try to get a gauge each day and do not fight crankiness

• Beginning to have an understanding of time and sequence and cause and effect – they now understand “if I do this, then that happens”

• Many have incorporated a third or fourth speed into play – not all players, but many players now have incorporated a speed or two between stopped and as fast as possible unlike the U5-U6’s

• Extremely aware of adult reactions – be very aware of your verbal and nonverbal reactions, as they will look for your reaction

• Seek out adult approval – be supportive when they ask about their performance or try to show you skills. They very much need reassurance and you need to help build their confidence to feel free to experiment and try new things

• Becoming aware of peer perception – a social order is beginning to develop, be sensitive to this.

• Wide range of abilities between children at this age – children all develop at varying paces. You may have an 8 year-old who seems more like a 10 year-old and one that seems more like a 6 year-old on the same team. Your challenge is to manage this range in your practices in a way that challenges each player at a level that is reasonable for each players individual development.

• Some will keep score – the competitive motors churn faster in some than others. Surely some parents are fueling the motors with their own comments/reactions. Regardless, we do not need to stress winning and losing at this age – it’s not important. When the emphasis focuses on results, player development is sacrificed.

• Beginning to develop motor memories – by attempting and repeating fundamental technical skills they are training their bodies to remember certain movements

• Less active imaginations than U5-U6 players – still have active imaginations by adult standards, but some of the silliness that 6 year old players exhibit will not be appreciated by this group. Still use their imaginations; just watch their reactions to games to read how far you can go with things.

 

Skill Coaching Priorities

·          EMPHASIZE - Dribble with all sides & surfaces of both feet (Inside, outside, sole, etc)

·          Dribble out of trouble rather than just kick

·          Dribble past someone to penetrate

·          Dribble using a move to beat a player or quickly change directions

·          Shielding to keep the ball away from opponent

·          Soft first touch for control

·          Introduce shooting technique using the laces

·          Introduce passing using the inside and outside of the foot

·          Introduce Juggling - HOMEWORK

·          Keep it active and FUN! – No laps, lines, lectures

Game & Practice Specifications

·          Teams are made up of up to 8 players and games are played 4-A-Side with no goal-keepers

·          Games consist of four 10 minute quarters

·          Substitutions are made between quarters not during. The game opens up as players tire out.

·          Players should receive 50% playing time

·          Balls should be size #3

·          Practices should be 1 hour maximum

·          End ALL practices with a game – this is why the kids are here and we want them to WANT to come back

 

Coaching Education Recommendations

·          USSF National "F" License and/or State “E” Coaching License - For course descriptions and schedules go to www.vysa.com and click on Coaching Education

For course descriptions and schedules go to www.vysa.com and click on Coaching Education

 

·          Visit www.FCRichmond.com Coaches Corner for links to educational resources

 

 

U9 & U10 AGE GROUP CHARACTERISTICS

& SKILL/TACTICAL PRIORITIES

 

As we move up the age ladder from the U7-U8 level to the U9-U10 level there are many differences we must realize in order to provide an optimal experience for young players of this age. However, there are also many similarities. Just as in parenting, it is important to be consistent in coaching and we must make sure that we follow a progressive trend of development for young players. To this end, we need to continue to focus on technique during our practices, as we did at the younger ages. Creating environments in which players get maximum repetitions of technical skills and are encouraged to express themselves as individuals is very important. Players at this age should still work on ball mastery and demonstrate growing familiarity and comfortable with a ball at their feet. 

 

Typical Characteristics of U9-U10 Players

• Attention span lengthens from U8 - they start to show the ability to sequence thought and actions

• Start to think ahead - “If this, then that”

• More inclined towards wanting to play soccer rather than being told to play

• Demonstrate increased self-responsibility – bringing a ball, water and all gear should now be their complete responsibility, not   their parents!

• Beginning to recognize fundamental tactical concepts

• Children at this age begin to become aware of peer pressure

• Players greatly affiliate with their team or their coach - “I play for the Tigers” or “coach Amy’s team”

• Players at this age are extremely rule bound

• There is a wide continuum of maturity evident on most teams – CRUCIAL age for technical skill development

 

Skill Coaching Priorities

·          Dribble with all sides & surfaces of both feet (inside, outside, sole, etc)

·          Dribble using moves to beat a player or to quickly change directions

·          Dribble out of trouble rather than just kick – Institute a two touch minimum rule to discourage kicking the ball out of panic

·          Short range passing with the inside and outside of both feet

·          Long range passing – driven aerial balls

·          Movement to open spaces after passing the ball to receive it again

·          Shooting with both feet using the laces for power and the inside/outside for accuracy

·          Receiving and 1st Touch to control and keep possession of the ball – on the ground or out of the air (Using the inside, outside, top of the foot, chest, thigh, head)

·          Heading – Attacking and defensive techniques

·          Juggling using different parts of the body - HOMEWORK

·          Defending techniques

Tactical Coaching Priorities

·          Basic Attacking Ideas

·          Basic Defending Ideas

·          Comprehend 1 vs 1 concepts - attacking and defending

·          Comprehend 2 vs 1 concepts - attacking and defending

·          Introduction to 2 vs 2 concepts - attacking and defending

·          Introduction to a wall pass or give and go

·          Comprehend roles of 1st and 2nd defenders

·          Comprehend roles of 1st and 2nd attackers

Coaching Education Recommendations 

·          USSF National "F" License and/or State “E” Coaching License - For course descriptions and schedules go to www.vysa.com and click on Coaching Education

·          Visit www.FCRichmond.com Coaches Corner for links to educational resources

U11 & U12 AGE GROUP CHARACTERISTICS & SKILL/TACTICAL PRIORITIES

Typically players of this age begin to understand the basic tactical situations of the game and are more aware of movement off the ball and the reasons for tactical choices. Problem-solving becomes systematic and these players tend to learn quickly. Children of this age typically are beginning to develop abstract awareness, so they can understand coaches when we talk about space and runs off of the ball. However, just because they understand these basic tactical concepts does not mean we should focus on these concepts entirely. Players are still developing technically at this age, especially as they go through growth spurts and awkward phases. It is quite common to look out at a U12 field and see players that are physically the size of adults. Yet, other U12 players appear as if they could still be in the 3rd grade. These children are all growing at different rates and undergoing physical, mental, emotional, and social changes. The average age for the beginning of pubescence in girls is 10 years old with a range of 7 to 14; for boys it is age 12 with a range of 9 to 16. As coaches, we need to be sensitive to these changes and their social implications when coaching this age group. Some players may pick up skills quickly, where as others may struggle. However, it may be the case that this is simply the result of differences in maturation. In a year, the slower developer may surpass the player who developed earlier. For this reason we need to be patient and keep open minds about all players through these years. They are aware of their struggles more than anyone else as peer evaluation is omnipresent at these ages. When we see them struggling, it is important for us to help them and keep the game fun.

Typical Characteristics of U11-U12 Players

• All children are maturing at different rates

• Players need to warm-up and stretch - muscle pulls and other nagging injuries are common otherwise

• Players will typically understand elemental abstract concepts and hypothetical situations

• They like to solve problems

• Peer evaluation is a constant and egos are very sensitive

• Coordination may depend on whether or not they are in a growth spurt

• Technique still needs to be reinforced constantly and a primary focus

• Playing too much and not feeling like they have a choice in the matter can lead to burnout and drop-out

• This is the dawn of tactics!

• Keep asking the players to be creative and to take risks - we never want them to stop doing these things

• Ask for feedback from them - they will tell you how things are going and feel like they have more of a say

• Try to hand over leadership and ownership of the team to them

• Keep it fun! - No laps, lines, lectures

Skill Coaching Priorities

·          Dribbling at speed in Traffic and in open space

·          Dribble with all sides & surfaces of both feet (inside, outside, sole, etc)

·          Dribble using moves to beat a player or to quickly change directions

·          Dribble out of trouble rather than kick – Institute a two touch minimum rule to discourage kicking the ball out of panic

·          Short range passing – inside/outside of both feet

·          Long range passing – driven aerial balls/chipping

·          Movement to open spaces after passing the ball

·          Shooting with both feet - using the laces for power and the inside/outside for accuracy

·          Receiving and 1st Touch to control and keep possession of the ball – on the ground or out of the air (Using the inside, outside, top of the foot, chest, thigh, head)

·          Heading – Attacking and defensive techniques

·          Juggling using different parts of the body – HOMEWORK

·          Defending techniques

Tactical Coaching Priorities

·          Communication – verbal and visual

·        Basic Support Positions – angles of support behind, in front, to the side of the ball

·        Receiving the Ball Away from Pressure-1st touch

·        Combination Play – give and go, third man run

·        How and when to switch the point of attack

·        Defensive Pressure vs Containing – when, why, and how

·        Proper 2 vs 2 roles – attacking vs defending

·        Introduction to all roles in 3 vs 3 and 4 vs 4

* Defensive - 1st Defender Pressure, 2nd Defender Cover, 3rd Defender Balance

* Attacking – 1st Attacker Penetrate, 2nd Attacker  Support, 3rd Attacker Balance

Coaching Education Recommendations 

·          USSF National "F” License and/or State “E” Coaching License

For course descriptions and schedules go to www.vysa.com and click on Coaching Education 

Visit www.FCRichmond.com Coaches Corner for links to educational resources