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Vail Valley Soccer Club



Activities for the Number of Players at Practice

  • 4 Player Activities - 1234 
  • 5 Player Activities - 12345
  • 6 Player Activities - 12345
  • 7 Player Activities - 12345
  • 8 Player Activities - 12345
  • 9 Player Activities - 12, 3, 45
  • 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 

11v11 Formations

1-4-4-2 Formation - Click Here

1-4-3-3 Formation - Click Here

NSCAA Attacking Principles - Click Here

NSCAA Defensive Principles - Click Here

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 U13/14 Coaching Objectives (First two years of full-sided soccer 11v11)

Rules of the Game:  The players should have a deeper understanding of the rules, and should be encouraged to explore the “gray areas” of the rules.  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).


The Training Session:

  • Four Stage Progression
  • Dynamic/technical warm-up.  It is ok to introduce more physical work into the warm-up, and shorten it, to allow more time for the other two phases.  A longer 2nd phase at this age group can be very useful, but be sure to continually address the technical areas of the game in this phase.

  • Technical-Tactical (very little use of 1v1, and utilize exercises that involve groups up to 5 or 6).  Use of challenging possession games in this phase is recommended.  Try to make them directional or to a target whenever possible.

  • Expanded Small-Sided Games - Can play to targets, end zones, multiple goals or real goals. Coaches are encouraged to manipulate the game to get desired results from the players, rather than telling players what to do.  

  • Free Play in a 4v4+GK or 6v6+GK, but more time dedicated to 7v7+GK game to address tactical areas of the game is recommended.  Larger field sizes are still appropriate, and use of real goals is a good idea.  Continue to utilize playing to targets, end zones, multiple goals, but those tactical games can be utilized in Phase 2 of the session.

Technical topics in training:  The topics for technical training should be essentially the same as the U11/U12 age group, but they should be done in a functional environment.  This means that the exercises should look like the game situation that you are addressing, including the pressure of an opponent.



  • Speed Dribbling  
  • Dribbling for Possession
  • The V, Reverse V, and L turn



  • Short passing (1 and 2 touch)
  • Receiving inside, outside and bottom of the foot
  • Long passing
  • Bending the ball



  • Pullback
  • Outside cut
  • Cruyff
  • Pull-push


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


Ball Striking

  • Shooting:  Encourage players to shoot the ball with both feet
  • Driven ball
  • Crossing (in-swinger or out-swinger)


Tactical application and topics:

  • Group sizes for the tactical application can be longer when success comes too easy in smaller groups.
  • Not as much 1v1, but do not make the groups too big in phase 2.  Players still need to get touches on the ball.  (4v4 is a good target for this age group)


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


Expanded 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 can become more present in training at this age
  • Agility work, short sprinting, and foot speed exercises are best
  • Avoid excessive strength building exercises
  • Avoid excessive endurance work, but if you want to address it, make sure fitness work is anaerobic


The Goalkeeper:

  • Should be narrowed down to 2 GK’s that split time and play in the field as well
  • GK’s should be spending time outside of training to improve their ability as a GK
  • Coaches should set up exercises that challenge the decisions of the GK
  • Do not ignore your GK to focus on the other 13-14 players.  Improving your GK is the quickest way to make your team better.


Systems of play:

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


Overriding Consideration:

Continue to encourage the use of skill, creativity, but players should start to become accountable for their good and poor decision-making.  Remember that the players have now moved to the 11v11 playing format, so make sure that you do not stray too far from the technical application to the bigger game that they will be playing for the rest of their playing career. Coaches should also be teaching the “grey areas” of the game. 


Week 1 - Dribbling at Pace - Activity #1#2#3 and #4

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

Week 3 - Fullback and Winger Play (Shadow Play) - Activity #1#2#3 and #4

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

Week 5 - Wide Play and Finishing  Activity #1, #2, #3 and #4

Week 6 - Body Shape Open to Field (Side-on) - Activity #1#2#3 and #4

Week 7 - Fullback and Winger Play - Activity #1#2#3 and #4

Week 8 - Penetrating Passes - Activity #1, #2#3 and #4

Week 9 - Defending in Groups - Activity #1#2#3 and #4

Week 10 - Counter Attack - Activity #1, #2, #3 and #4

Week 11 - Possession and Pressing - Activity #1, #2#3 and #4

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

Finishing Activities - #1#2 and #3

Vail Valley Soccer Club

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