U12 Guidelines

Framework for Player Development


U12-Development of Individual Skills and Individual
and Group Tactics
Soccer Definitions:
-Technique/Technical: A player’s ability with the ball, a certain skill set (dribbling, passing, shooting, receiving).  
-Tactics/Tactical: Decision Making (both individual decision making and group decision making).
-Dribbling: The art of keeping the ball close to you as you run or walk.
-Receiving: Settling, stopping, or directing the ball as it comes to you.
Hero worship, identification with high level players and teams and a hunger and passion for imaginative skills are important at this age. Demonstration is very important and players learn best by doing. It is very important to establish discipline and instill an attitude necessary to compete and succeed.
COACH: Must be enthusiastic; Possess soccer awareness; A sensitive teacher; Ability to demonstrate; Knowledge of the key factors of basic skills; Give encouragement; Seek soccer education.
TECHNIQUE: Important to establish a good strong base. Increase technical speed. Develop under pressure of time, space and opponent. The technical training must far outweigh anything else in this age group.  Dribbling to beat an opponent is still the #1 focus at this age.
1st Touch         All surfaces and on the move.
Passing           All surfaces and on the move. Proper timing, weight, accuracy and disguise.
Dribbling         Encourage risk taking. They must be allowed to run at players and take them on. We want players who can make things happen.
Shooting          Proper striking technique-service from all angles, 1st touch, preparation to strike and attitude to score
TACTICS:      Play a variety of positions. Promote attacking soccer
Individual        1V1
Attacking        Take players on. Encourage the creative risk taker. Shielding.
Defending       Proper pressure (in front and from behind), How to jockey and how and when to tackle.
Small group    2V1, 2V2, 3V1, 3V2, 3V3
Attacking        Keep possession, support, combination plays
Defending       Pressure/cover; marking
Play a lot of small-sided games and coach within the games. Join in
PHYSICAL:  Flexibility and Agility-stress this aspect because it cuts down on injuries and increases range of motion. Strength and power become a major factor in their performance. Their muscles mature and they realize how much more they can do on the field. Their coordination significantly improves and it shows up in the execution of child’s technical ability.
MENTAL:      From a mental perspective the educators refer to the U12 age as the fertile period for learning. They can sequence thoughts and perform complex tasks. A coach can expect his players to understand the game and use teammates to solve problems. They are usually eager to learn.
The game must be kept fun.
Encourage decision-making
Imagination/Creativity/Risk Taking
Discipline/Boots polished/On Time/Set Standards
Encourage them to watch high-level games

SOCIAL:        From a social perspective whether a child enters puberty early or late is significant. Girls tend to form cliques while boys take a more broad approach to team relationships. The manner in which they feel about themselves can determine how they relate to their teammates. Sometimes popularity influences self-esteem.

U12 Curriculum

24 practices per season

            -14 dribbling practices
            -6 passing/receiving practices
            -2 shooting practices
            -2 1 v 1 defending practices
Areas of Focus (Technical)
      1.   Dribbling
             -Three aspects to dribbling past an opponent.
            a. Change of speed (from slow to fast).
            b. Change of direction.
            c. Moves/Deception with the ball.
                        -At U12, more focus should be placed on deception and creativity
with the ball. A variety of moves should be introduced and consistently worked on at every practice.

      2.   Receiving
      3.   Passing
      4.   Shooting
      5.   1 v 1 Defending
                  -How and when to pressure the ball.
                  -How to jockey/delay.
                  -How and when to tackle.

Areas of Focus (Tactical)
      1.   1 v 1 (decisions made on how/when/where to beat an opponent)
      2.   2 v 1
-To endlines (focuses on dribbling to score)
-To balls placed on cones (focuses on passing/shooting to score)
-To two small goals (focuses on passing/shooting and also decision making)
-To big goals (focuses on passing/shooting)
      3.   2 v 1 + 1
            -Same as #1
      4.   2 v 2
            -Same as #1
            5.   3 v 2
      6.   3 v 2 + 1
      7.   4 v 4
Attacking Principles: Possession, support, combination play.
Defending Principles: Pressure and cover