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Vail Valley Soccer Club


9v9 Formations

Attacking Team Shape 1-4-3-1- Click Here    Attacking Team Shape 1-3-4-1 - Click Here

Defending Team Shape 1-4-3-1- Click Here   Defending Team Shape 1-3-4-1 - Click Here


Activities for the Number of Players at Your Practice

  • 4 Player Activities - 1234 
  • 5 Player Activities - 12345
  • 6 Player Activities - 12345
  • 7 Player Activities - 12345
  • 8 Player Activities - 12345
  • 9 Player Activities - 12345
  • 10 Player Activities - 12345
  • 11 Player Activities - 12345
  • 12 Player Activities - 12345

Players First: The 11+ Warm Up Program

As one of the critical components of the Player Health & Safety pillar of Players First, the 11+ provides tools and resources for improving performance and reducing injury risk.

Click Here for video 

VVSC Training Objectives

Vail Valley Soccer Club Training Objectives

The purpose of the training objectives is to give each coach a direction to follow in order for each player to receive age-appropriate instruction. By following the objectives, we will be creating an environment that will be conducive to the development of the individual players’ skill level.  Therefore, by developing the individual, players will be able to better function as a team.

The most important thing to consider when developing a training session is the age level at which one will be coaching.  Different age groups will have different overall objectives for the season.  Working towards goals that suite the age group will increase morale and ease frustration for both coach and player. 

In order to maintain an efficiently run club, there are some general rules, which will be followed.  This allows for consistency throughout the Club and clear expectations.


It is important as a coach, especially at the younger levels, to set the standard for one’s players by leading by example.  The best coaches will be able to perform the skill that he/she is teaching.  Being able to train with one’s players is advantageous to the players’ understanding of the objective at hand.  Every player on the team is important; therefore coaches should make players feel important by highlighting their contributions to the team.

Each activity needs to allow players to maximize their touches.  At this age, physical fitness should be incorporated into the activities.  There is no need to devote an entire practice to running laps and calisthenics.  Be sure to keep talking points to a minimum when in between drills.  This will ensure the momentum of the practice does not become stagnant. 

Every practice should have a four-part progression.  Start with a dynamic/technical warm-up including the skill-of-the-day (i.e. shooting, passing, dribbling, etc.).  Next, move into Technical-Tactical.  This means learning how to perform a certain skill in a certain situation under pressure.  Third is expanded small-sided games.  You can play to targets, end zones, multiple goals, or a real goal.  Coaches are encouraged to manipulate the game to get desired results from the players, rather than telling the players what to do. Fourth is free play, emphasizing the skill-of-the-day.  Give coaching points in the flow of the game, and use natural stoppages such as throw-ins and goals to address specific players.


Games are for encouragement, not another practice; keep instructions to the players to a minimum.  Remember that the game is the best teacher for the players.  Encourage players to learn from their own good and bad decisions.  Emphasize the importance of players communicating to one another on the field.  Players should be free to make decisions (even bad ones).

Coaches are in charge of controlling their parent sideline.  Tell your parents to cheer – not instruct. No parent is allowed on the players’ sideline during the game.

Coach to develop, not just win.  Winning should be the byproduct of good player development. Games should be used for players to demonstrate their newly acquired skills and creativity.  As long as players continue to develop their fundamentals, winning will follow.

Coaches should experiment with players in different positions on the field, even if they are not comfortable there.  In doing this, players will be more well-rounded and have a better understanding of the game as a whole.  Coaches should be able to explain to the players the role he/she will play in specific positions.


            As a VVSC coach, one has the responsibility to encourage players to play outside of their comfort zones.  It can be easy to tell a player in a tough spot to kick the ball out of bounds, or to always have the goalkeeper punt the ball, but doing this inhibits development of technical skill and creativity.  Coaches should be mindful of their terminology.  Make sure to not use generalities such as “boot it.”  Even if chances of success are limited based on the situation, it is important to encourage players to use their newly acquired skills which will build confidence.

VVSC coaches will help the players have a deeper understanding of the rules, and should be encouraged to explore the gray areas of the rules (within the spirit of the game).  This does not mean to encourage the players to “cheat,” but figuring out how to gain advantages within the games (i.e. taking free kicks quickly, figuring out how much physical play the referee will allow, and taking advantage of the offside rule defensively).

VVSC U11/U12 Coaching Objectives (Two years of small-sided 9v9)

Rules of the Game:

Coaches are responsible for developing a further understanding of the basic rules of the game. These rules are best taught in the third and fourth progression of the practice, which is the expanded small-sided and free play. Players should have a better understanding of how to perform the specific tasks and the rules that accompany them. A further, more in-depth explanation of the offside rule should be addressed.

  • Goal-Kick: Make sure they know the rules. Short goal kicks should be encouraged to help keep possession. Also, teach the Gk to also play quickly if the opportunity presents itself.
  • Corner-Kicks: Mix it up between short and long corners. A short corner to a good dribbler on your team can be very successful. Have one or two corner kick plays.
  • Kick-Off: Try a variety of options, such as going forward or backwards.
  • Throw-In: Teach the correct method of the throw-in, but do not dedicate an entire practice to it. Just like a free-kick, see if your players can use it quickly.
  • Direct free kicks: From a closer distance encourage shooting on goal. One can also utilize a quick restart to catch the other team off-guard.
  • Indirect free kick: Two players must be involved in the play.
  • Offside: Make sure there is a defender between the attacking player and the opposing team’s goalie. If your team has a better understanding of the rule, can you use it as an advantage when defending (offside trap or play a higher defensive line).

The Training Session: 

• Four Step Progression

  • Dynamic/technical warm-up
  • Technical-Tactical (i.e. 1v1 as much as possible, but larger group sizes are ok, i.e. 3v2, or 3v3)
  • Expanded Small-Sided Games: Can play to targets, end zones, multiple goals, or a real goal. Coaches are encouraged to manipulate the game to get desired results from the players, rather than telling the players what to do.
  • Free play in a 4v4+GK or 5v5+GK at the most. The rules of the game should be implemented in the scrimmage

Technical topics in training: The topics for technical training should be essentially the same as the 9U/10U age group, but players should be able to perform them at higher speeds, and under the pressure of an opponent.


• Speed Dribbling

  • Dribbling for Possession
  • The V and Reverse V (change of direction)
  • Shielding


  • Short passing (1 and 2 touch)
  • Receiving inside, outside and bottom of the foot (different surfaces)
  • Long passing
  • Balls out of the air

Moves  Ball Striking 

  • Shooting: Encourage players to shoot the ball with both feet
  • Top of foot (sweet spot)
  • Crossing
  • Texture on the ball (bending the ball)
  • Volleys (half volley and full volley)

Coaches Toolkit:

  1. Natural Stoppage – coaching when the ball goes out of bounds, a goal is scored or halftime.
  2. Freeze – the most invasive tool. Freeze play to try and re-create a specific scenario. Address multiple players during a freeze.
  3. Individual Reference – give instruction to a single player at any point.
  4. In the Flow – coaching during the activity or game is going on.

Tactical application and topics: 

  • Group sizes for the tactical application can be larger when success comes too easy in smaller groups.
  • A lot of 1v1 still, but groups as big as 3v3 or 4v4 can be ok.
  • Small group possession games are more appropriate, but keep the group sizes small (i.e. 3v1, 2v2+1, or 4v2). This will all depend on your players’ soccer age. Meaning, what are they capable of technically and tactically.


  • Pullback
  • Outside cut
  • Cruyff
  • Pull-push
  • Step-over
  • Combinations of different turns


  • Scissors
  • Step-over
  • Hop (Zico)
  • Side-step
  • Combination of these moves

Tactical Topics and Ideas

Basic Principles of Attacking

  • Penetration – eliminating lines of the defending team (ways to penetrate: shooting, dribbling and passing)
  • Support – players around the ball giving support to the player on the ball
  • Width – ability to open the defending team
  • Depth – stretch the field forward and back
  • Mobility – movement around and away from the ball
  • Improvisation – Creativity with the ball

Basic Principles of Defending 

  • Pressure – pressure on the ball
  • Cover – support for the pressure defender
  • Balance – players covering space and players away from the ball
  • Compactness – ability to not get stretched by attacking team
  • Control and Restraint – not lunging in, being patient
  • Delay – slow the attacking team down

Physical work in training 

  • Physical work is still not the focus of training at this age
  • The training activities should incorporate dynamic soccer specific movements
  • Some agility work is good, and exercises to increase foot speed are important

Avoid excessive endurance work. Allow players to get their endurance work with a ball. Gains made in this area are short-lived, and not necessary if you are subbing all your players properly.

The Goalkeeper 

  • Moving out to clear long kicks with feet when necessary (i.e. playing as the last field player, out of the box)
  • Coming out to narrow the angle on shots (makes view of goal smaller)
  • Might be appropriate to narrow down 2-3 GK’s on the team and rotate them through the goal
  • Dedicate time in training for these 2-3 players to become familiar with GK techniques and decision-making.

Systems of play: 

  • Still focus on 1-3-3-2, 1-3-2-3 and 1-2-4-2, but differently utilized to challenge the players
  • 1-3-2-3: Emphasizes need of backs to step forward in the attack, and forwards to check back to get the ball.

Overriding Consideration

Guided Discovery is still the preferred method, continuing to emphasize the use of skill, creativity and good decision-making. At this age group, we encourage players to solve problems on their own and with the help of their teammates. Your team should begin to develop a “possession game,” but players should still be encouraged to take risks.


Week 1 - Individual Mastery of Ball and 1v1 - Activity #1#2, #3 and #4

Week 2 - Defending - Activity #1#2#3 and #4

Week 3 - Redirecting Play - Activities #1-3

Week 4 - Breaking Lines (Penetration) - Activity #1 - 2,  #3 and #4

Week 5 - Speed of Play - Activities #1-3

Week 6 - Switching Point of Attack - Activity #1, #2, #3 and #4

Week 7 - Transitions/Counter Attack - Activity #1#2#3 and #4

Week 8 - Possession vs Penetration - Activity #1-3 

Week 9 - Redirecting Play - Activity #1#2, #3 and #4

Week 10 - Transitions - Activity #1, #2, #3 and #4

Week 11 - Possession (emphasis on body shape) - Activity #1, #2#3 and #4

Week 12 - Finishing - Activity #1#2#3 and #4

Vail Valley Soccer Club

PO Box 2728 
Edwards, Colorado 81632
Phone : 970-390-7994
Email : [email protected]
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