Without Technique There Can Be No Tactics

Coach John Doe has a very good Under-10 boys team — best team in the local league, and since his team has never played another team outside of the local area, Coach Doe may think he has the best Under-10 team in the world.

Maybe he does, but then again, maybe not!

Coach Doe attends the local coaches clinic and he knows exactly what he is looking for: Tactics! Numbers! Systems! Formations!

He has done the technical thing! Now he wants to put those nine-year-olds in a system right out of the German Bundesliga.

Whoa, Coach Doe! Slow down, and continue to work on the technical aspects of the game (skills for those who haven't attended those clinics with Coach John Doe).

There is plenty of time for the flat-back threes, high restraining lines, six midfielders, two front runners, third defenders and all of that.

There is a saying in soccer, "Without technique there can be no tactics." Great players all over the world work on skills. Like Coca-Cola advertises: "Every day, every where, all around the world!"

Here are some "tactics" that can apply to your U-10 players. Teach them in short-sided situations to recognize numerical advantages, and disadvantages. For those who were not in those clinics, that means 2v1 is the most basic superior position, and 1v2 in the most basic negative position.

Teach your young players to make decisions, but keep it simple. Teach them to take advantage of the 2v1 advantage, and how to not lose the ball when the numbers are the other way.

Teach them to play with their heads up. The ground is not a problem, so no reason to look down there. If the technique is good, then the ball is not a problem. If the technique isn't very good, then work on it some more.

The problem is in front of your player, or to the sides or to the back. The problem is the opponent. Teach your players to solve the problem!

Soccer is a simple game, which is often made complicated by coaches who don't understand the abilities and limitations of their players.

Yes, Coach Doe, I understand that you recently bought that DVD entitled the "World's Greatest 100,000 Goals," and feel it's time to work on changing the point of attack with a 35-yard diagonal ball and diving headers. But your players are not yet 10 years old!

Here you go — lay down a grid, five with the ball, two on defense. Move the ball, keep possession, steal the ball, solve the problem. Your kids are learning — and they are having fun!

Readers, you can contact Ray Alley at: ray@southernsoccerscene.com

Note: Want your kids to learn and have fun? We will teach you how at a CYSA Coaching School course. Find one near you by going to our web site, www.cysanorth.org