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Vail Valley Soccer Club


11v11 Formations

1-4-3-3 Formation - Click Here  & Video 

1-4-4-2 Formation - Click Here & Video 

Attacking Principles - Click Here

Defending Principles - Click Here

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 - 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 

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 older 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.   Be sure to keep talking points to a minimum when in between activities.  This will ensure the momentum of the practice does not become stagnant. 

Every practice should have a four-part progression, however, some practices might only have three, depending on the day's objective.  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 specific 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 and quick and concise information, it is 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 15U - 19U Training Objectives

Rules of the Game: Players should know the rules of the game, and should be encouraged to understand the “grey area” of the rules, the etiquette of the game, and the gamesmanship of the game. This is usually accomplished by watching the game being played at very high levels, both in person and on television. The game can become very physical at this age, and playing within the exact rules of the game can put players at a disadvantage. Teaching players to deal with the physical side of the game can help ensure your players’ safety.

Training Session: 

• Four Phase session

Phase 1: Technical/physical warm-up. The warm up should include some technical work, but should be physically focused. A typical warm-up should consist of a 3-5 minute sustained jog, followed by a 10 minute dynamic warm-up, and fast-feet exercises. Some soccer-specific athletic improvement should be focused on at this age, like SAQ and speed training.

Phase 2: Application of Technical topic in Tactical Situations. Groups at this age should be larger, and include the whole team. Tactics should address the needs of the team, can be very functional and specific. Challenge the thought process and decision making of the players, and improving the speed of play of the team is paramount.

Phase 3: 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.

Phase 4: Free Play. At this age, larger games should be necessary to address what they learned in the second phase topic. Playing numbers up or numbers down is a great way to introduce “situations” to the players. Starting a team up/down by 2 goals is another example of “situational play”. Confining the space when necessary is appropriate to get the players to think and play more quickly.

Technical topics in training: the topics for technical training should be very challenging, and should address the needs of the high school aged player. Almost no time should be spent doing technical work with no pressure at this age. Make your technical work functional, and move towards putting it into a match related exercise (phase 2) very quickly.


Dribbling to beat a player

Dribbling to create a shot

Dribbling to create a cross


Long Passing (i.e hitting a long driven pass)

Bending passes for through balls (inside and outside of the foot)

Playing in behind the defending team

Balls out of the air

Volleys (full volley and half volley)

Ball Striking

Volleying the ball (defensively and to score)

Bending a cross (early ball)

Bending a cross (from touchline)

Long driven ball (to switch field or into space) 


Defensive heading to clear the ball

Attacking heading to score

Tactical application and topics:

Players, and the team, should be encouraged to control the tempo of play, regardless of the  topic. 

Patience in the build-up and speed of play are equally important. 


Tactical Topics and ideas 

Fully expanded Principles of Attacking

Building out of the back with patience

Changing tempo in the final 3rd

Opening gaps in strong defensive shapes 


Fully expanded Principles Defense

Channeling the play of opposition

Tracking ad passing off the runs of dynamic attacking teams

Pressing and recovering the ball quickly

Exploiting the “Transition” moments of the game

Just lost the ball

Drop and regain shape to deny penetration

Immediate press in numbers to recover the ball

Just recovered the ball

Quick forward or backward pass to establish possession

Play forward quickly to counterattack with purpose

When neither team has possession

Which team can react quicker to gain an advantage (quick restart example: throw-ins and a free kick)

Physical work in training:

Strength and linear speed improvement are very important at this age group 

Players should still be encouraged to address their “aerobic base” at this age, by making consistent jogging on their own a priority.

Players should be weight training on their own, and they should have appropriate programs for their in and out of season routines.

Be sure to address proper recovery methods at this age

Coaches should educate their players about a proper diet at this age 

The Goalkeeper:

The team should still have two GK’s, and they should be specialized GK’s

GK’s should continue to spend time outside of training to improve their ability as a GK.

GK’s should spend most of their time in the beginning of training as a field player, especially if they are preparing to play in college.

Picking one GK for important games is acceptable at this age, but both should get playing time and opportunities to win the #1 spot.

Systems of play:

Players should have a working knowledge of a number of systems of play (1-4-4-2, 1-4-2-3-1 or 1-4-3-3)

The team should be playing with a system that maximizes their chances of winning

Ability to change systems within a game can be very effective for getting results

All players should have a working knowledge of their roles within the team’s system.

Coaches should explore playing numbers up/down in training to prepare for the unexpected moments in important games.

Players should have a fully developed player vocabulary at this point

Refining this vocabulary to make instructions more concise and effective

Non-essential chatter should be eliminated, and communication must contain information

Never forget that encouragement is always more effective than criticism.

     Overriding Consideration:  The direction of the team at this age is largely dependent on the motivation of the players. If all or some of the team is preparing to play high school and then college, the environment should be very professional, and should prepare the players for that level. If that is not the case, consider that these may be the last years of organized, competitive soccer that these players will be playing, and make it fun. In either case, this is the players' team, and the coaches and players should treat it as such. Players should be trusted to run their own warm-ups, and leaders on the team should be allowed to take charge. The coach's role at this age is largely organizational and tactical, allowing the players to take ownership over their team. 


Week 1 - Build Up and Mobility - Activity #1#2#3 and #4

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

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

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

Week 5 - Counter vs Build - Activity #1#2 and #3

Week 6 - Press vs Block - Activity #1#2#3 and #4

Week 7 - Breaking Lines (Penetration) - Activity #1#2#3 and #4

Week 8 - Midfield Block - Activity #1#2#3 and #4

Week 9 - Transition (Attack) - Activity #1#2#3 and #4

Week 10 - High Press - Activity #1#2#3 and #4

Week 11 - Counter vs Build - Activity #1#2#3 and #4

Week 12 - Press vs Block - Activity #1#2 and #3 

Finishing Activities - #1#2, #3, #4#5 and #6

Vail Valley Soccer Club

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