What format played U6-U9 in your area?

Discussion in 'Coach' started by Alan S, Sep 4, 2002.

  1. Alan S

    Alan S Member

    Jun 1, 2001
    Palo Alto, CA
    Club:
    San Jose Earthquakes
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I would like to hear what formats are played for U6-U9 in your area.

    Do you play 4v4, 5v5, 7v7 or 11v11. What city and state is this in.

    Just curious to see if there is a trend.
     
  2. nsa

    nsa Member+

    New England Revolution; Boston Breakers
    United States
    Feb 22, 1999
    Notboston, MA
    Club:
    New England Revolution
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Most of Massachusetts plays 6v6 (no offside), hence a vote for "other".

    Massachusetts has certified the most Associate Referees (Grade 11) in the country to support the small-sided programs in the communities.
     
  3. NYfutbolfan

    NYfutbolfan Member

    Dec 17, 2000
    LI, NY
    I live in NY. For the most part, small sided games have been the norm for the last 5 years.

    6-7 yr olds - 5v5.

    8 yr olds - 6v6.

    9 yr olds - 8v8.

    Truthfully, there are no magic #'s. The whole idea is to let the children get touches on the ball when they play and the larger the group, the larger the field, the less each child will have the ball on their foot.

    When my kids were younger and I supervised the younger age groups of their local club, I had them try some fun and different things.

    For instance the goals that the U-6 & U-7 teams were using were 5 feet wide and four feet tall. If a goalie was in front of the goal, he could cover 50% of it without moving, therefore scoring was very difficult. I improvised and had the teams use no goalies. On average, the kids were able to generate maybe 15 shots per team in a 45 minute game. Almost half of these shots were not even on net, so only about 8 had to be defensed. The end result was that the kids always felt like they had a chance to score, the defending team felt an urgent need to defend, the scores of games went up, the shooting on net improved as attempts to go to goal increased. All around, it was a good experience for the team.

    Yes, there were some detractors that said that this is not how you play the game of soccer. But, I think they were a little closed minded and didn't expand their horizons to look at what was important for the children from a developmental point of view.

    The kids learned how to push the ball upfield, shoot with more accuracy and developed more confidence in their abilities by having some success. 1-0 games at the age of 6-9 years of age does little for their development, physically and mentally.
     
  4. dolphinscoach

    dolphinscoach Member

    Apr 17, 2002
    Bellevue, NE
    In Bellevue, NE, (Bellevue is a small city on the southern edge of Omaha, best known as the home to Offutt AFB (USStratcom HQ), the local soccer club has U5 & U6 play 3 v. 3, with no goalie, using cones as goals. U7 & U8 play 7 v. 7, with goalies in front of 12 ft. x 6 ft. goals.

    IMHO, I'd rather goalies not be introduced until around U10. I feel the time spent trying to teach kids goalie basics (e.g., where they can use hands, throwing, punting, etc.) would be better used improving general soccer skills. Most of my U7 kids, even those who have played since age 5, still need to improve dribbling and shooting, and they know little about defending, passing, and trapping.
     
  5. jjayg

    jjayg New Member

    May 9, 2002
    Rolling Ghettos, IL
    Here in Rolling Meadows Illinios we play 3v3 at U-6
    6 v 6 no keeper at U-8 and 8 v 8 w/keeper at U-10

    We have been playing short sided for about 5 years and it really has worked out well. More touches mean more confidence on the ball which is the most important thing for our youngest players.
     
  6. NYfutbolfan

    NYfutbolfan Member

    Dec 17, 2000
    LI, NY
    I'm so happy to hear that you would also rather play with no keeper at the younger age levels.

    One of my other "nuances" that I brought to the younger age levels was playing with 4 goals, each one a few yards from the corners, again without using any goalies. What was the point?

    Well, this was one way to teach the children to spread the field. When everybody bunches up on the right near the goal, the children learn to "switch" the play to the left side of the field, to the unguarded goal.
     
  7. Paul May

    Paul May New Member

    Oct 8, 2001
    New Jersey
    Our U-6 teams play 4 vs 4, thus giving the enphisis on giving the kids as much touches with the ball as possable, to avoid the kids clumpimg up together on the pitch. U-8 to U-10 we play 6 v 6
     
  8. SoccerDale

    SoccerDale New Member

    Sep 16, 2002
    In Eastern Pa we play 3v3 (no keeper) at U-6, 4v4 (keeper optional) at U-8, and 8v8 (keeper) at U-10. I would prefer that there always be a sweeper/keeper at all ages to make it a little more realistic.
     
  9. blech

    blech Member+

    Jun 24, 2002
    California
    As noted by NYfutbolban in an earlier post, some people think the non-use of goalies is not how you play the game of soccer. I'm guessing you fall into this category. I doubt that a huge debate on the topic would be beneficial, as we're all probably grounded in our preferences. I would note that even when I played during college, we would often have small field, scrimmages, perhaps 6 on 6, with small goals. The offside rule was not enforced, and sometimes we were required to play 3 or 2 or even 1 touch to eliminate dribbling. Were we playing soccer? I'm pretty sure the answer was yes. And, my sense was that we were spending the time on it during practice because this kind of playing develops and focuses on specific skills that are important in the 11 on 11 game. We also did a variation with the two goals, and I use this same drill with the u12 boys that I coach. IMO, the point is that these kids at the u6, u8, and even thereafter are simply developing. With are u6s, I believe it is 6v6, small goals, no goalies, but there are also no practices except for right before the games on Saturdays. I think the benefits of having all of the kids develop "field" skills and permitting some scoring outweigh the negative consequences of delaying the training of goalies.

    I also recall spending a week during a summer at a soccer camp where I met these 5 guys from Brazil. After practices were over, they suggested playing small field soccer without goalies as well. So, this is probably proof that it is soccer. Of course, we had to modify the rules again to prevent shooting at the 1 yard goal from more than 15 yards away because they would shoot from midfield and score constantly. :) This also may explain why they have historically had problems developing good goalies .
     
  10. jack921

    jack921 New Member

    Jul 10, 2000
    If the main objective is to make it fun for the kids, then I think you should have keepers. I find at U-6, U-7 level, it's the only age where almost everyone wants to play keeper. When I coached my daughters' teams at that age, I had to keep rotating the keeper so everyone got a chance.
     
  11. m-chill

    m-chill New Member

    Jun 4, 1999
    orlando,fl,usa
    i have to say that i like keepers in the u-7 level. i have players that were scoring goals from the defensive side of midfield in the u-6 and u-5 level when there were no keepers. now they have to work the ball in much closer and is helping them develope new skills that they hadn't needed previously to score such as how to hold the ball when they are run down by a faster defender. the goals are plenty big and the keepers are not saving many shots the deserve to be goals. so i don't really see the down side of this. it also puts another player, the keeper, on the field for more playing time if they want to play keeper. by the way, my u-7 team is playing 4v4 on a 30 by 50 yrd field this year. i really like 5v5 like we played last season in the u-6. it gives our players more options and support with that other player. also the field is so big that the 5th player wouldn't make much of a diference for those teams that play bee hive style.
     
  12. dolphinscoach

    dolphinscoach Member

    Apr 17, 2002
    Bellevue, NE
    My U7s all like the idea of playing goalie, but none has enjoyed himself much on the field. Each boy is very excited to learn he will be goalie next quarter, but he is bored for most of the time (then he gets discouraged if the other team scores). Being able to use hands causes a lot of confusion--some players start to kick the ball then stop as they remember to use hands, by which time the ball has rolled by and/or the other team has kicked it. I've even seen (on another team) a kid who had just rotated out of goal pick up the ball 2 or 3 times, then drop it as everyone yelled to remind him he was no longer goalie. Poor kid was on the verge of tears. Distribution is a problem--punting is a difficult skill to learn, and no one can kick or throw far enough to get it past the opposing attackers (so it frequently results in the other team kicking right back at the goal over and over). And, in only two games this year, two of my kids have come off crying after being kicked by the other team while the ball was in their hands. This points to another problem, which is that we are trying to get kids to go after the ball, and they don't comprehend the idea of pulling up for the goalie. After all, they go in hard when everyone else on the field has the ball.

    As you can tell, I oppose using goalies this young. I am still trying to teach the kids basic skills and rules, and they are still trying to get comfortable with the ball. The goalie stuff just causes confusion and takes time away from the other teaching, especially since it is not possible to give adequate goalkeeping instruction in the limited time available. And if your kids are scoring from midfield, make the goals smaller. (That's what we did in U6; made 'em bigger if they couldn't score sometimes, too.)
     
  13. uniteo

    uniteo Member+

    Sep 2, 2000
    Rockville, MD
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Montgomery County, MD, we play 4 v. 4 for ages 6 & 7, without goalies. At age 8, we move up to 7 v. 7 with goalies.

    I'm happy with that goalie arrangement...it can be a tough position emotionally, and the more time a kid spends with the ball at his or her feet, the better.

    As for the complaint about goals from midfield without a goalie, what better way to encourage long range accuracy in shots (and later passes)? Not to mention encouraging the idea of shooting from distance.
     
  14. m-chill

    m-chill New Member

    Jun 4, 1999
    orlando,fl,usa
    i can say that my players are loving shooting against keepers this season . it has opened up a whole nother world for them. you should hear them on the sideline talking about strategies on how to beat the keeper when he goes this way or that way. my son (the main cultret that was shooting from past midfield) is still letting them rip from long distances. he's also loving the challenge of beating a keeper. my team has scored in double digits in all 5 games so far this season, so the keeper is not a problem for our team. i will say that teams are really struggling to score on us; but there's more than just a keeper issue there. 7 out of 8 of my players want to play keeper each game. so i let all of them play once and 1 gets to play twice. i don't count it as "real" playing time. its bonus time they get on the field when they would be sitting out on the sideline. it's one way to keep them concentrating on the game. ;)
    "(and later passes)? "
    that's already been happening. they've done a great job switching the sides "away from the hive" and attacking up the wings, then crossing the ball back into the middle to get shots off.
    fun stuff 2 watch.
     
  15. IASocFan

    IASocFan Moderator
    Staff Member

    Aug 13, 2000
    IOWA
    Club:
    Sporting Kansas City
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    In central Iowa, we played 3x3 for u6, 4v4 for u8, and 8v8 (with keepers) for u10. I think that has changed in the last year to be smaller sided for U10, but I haven't been involved at that level for several years.
     
  16. O-Maps

    O-Maps New Member

    Mar 13, 2002
    New Hampshire, USA
    I think you said in a previous post that you are coaching U7? Are you really saying that you think a 12-1 score is "fun stuff to watch"? Then you have a vastly different idea than I of what is fun, at any level let alone U7 (which I hope and trust is recreational or developmental, God forbid that we have "premier" or "state cup" teams at U7).

    Even setting aside what it must be like for the under-7-year-old players on the receiving end (especially the poor keeper!), I have difficulty imagining that this sort of situation is very beneficial for the team delivering the beating, in terms of either enjoyment or development.

    If you are able to teach 6 and 7 year olds to switch fields, attach the flanks, and cross, then you have some outstanding coaching skills. But if your league permits such mismatched teams to exist, then you have some outstandingly incompetent administrators. At U16, you might say, "We'll fix it next year," but at U7, a year is way too long. You owe it to your kids and the other teams' kids to promptly arrange some "trades" among the teams to balance things out, even if technically that "isn't your job" as coach. Look at it this way: You'll be increasing the number of kids exposed to your fine coaching abilities.
     
  17. O-Maps

    O-Maps New Member

    Mar 13, 2002
    New Hampshire, USA
    Please, play without keepers for the young ones

    Put me firmly in the camp advocating no keepers at U6/7. Or for that matter at U8/9. U10 or U11 is plenty soon enough, i.e. when the kids get to age 9 or 10. (I wouldn't even mind waiting longer than that.)

    My kids mostly have played rec soccer but they all tried Little League for a season, and it was very illuminating of the contrast between the sports. I am not a baseball hater like some who post here, in fact I rather like the sport and still enjoy going to an occasional professional game. But it has a couple of serious liabilities as a kids' activity. For one thing, way too much sitting around doing nothing. For another, to the point of this thread, is that baseball focuses enormous attention and pressure on individual players, one at a time. The pitcher is especially in this position, and so is each player as he or she comes to bat.

    We expect adults and older kids who voluntarily engage in competitive sports, to have matured enough to deal with such pressure. To see Roger Clemens pitch with a one-run lead in the ninth and men on base, to see Larry Bird (dating myself) shoot while down one with a second on the clock, is to watch true sports greatness, and much of our respect is because of their ability to remain icy calm in the glare of the hot spotlight.

    But I really don't think this should be the focus for developing our young kids. Let them learn the basic skills, let them get exercise, and let them have fun. The fun part is key, otherwise they won't hang around to get the exercise and learn the skills. It was painful to watch my 3rd and 5th grader come to bat in those Little League games; the looks on their faces were awful when they failed (and due to the nature of baseball, a batter usually does fail). And it was even more excruciating when they pitched.

    By contrast, my kindergartener had a very positive experience in Little League. They play T-ball at that age, where there is no pitcher, the ball is placed on a stationary stand, and each batter gets to swing as many times as it takes to make contact. No pressure and lots of fun, although not a lot of development.

    In soccer, we have an even better situation: We can remove the pressure and increase the fun for our younger players, and yet we can do this at no cost to their development. All we have to do is play without keepers. I doubt very much that the youngsters, even the future keepers, will suffer by concentrating for a few years on shooting, passing, marking, and recognizing space. Middle school age is more than soon enough to worry about setting the offside trap or controlling high balls in the 6-yard box.
     
  18. m-chill

    m-chill New Member

    Jun 4, 1999
    orlando,fl,usa
    the fun stuff is watching the players play well on the field. doing all the things we worked on in practice on the field in a game. the score is irrelevant at this age. to me its irrelevant at any age unless money for results is in play. don't get me wrong its nice to win but its much more enjoyable to play well; and that's what i enjoy seeing from these little guys.

    [/i]


    Even setting aside what it must be like for the under-7-year-old players on the receiving end (especially the poor keeper!),
    [/QUOTE]
    every team we have played has enjoyed the game. each team plays there own game with their own individual goals. evey team we have played has scored on us; so no team has played us without some joy and success. some of the kids on the other team have no idea that they may even be losing. the keepers are rotated so there's not one child in net giving up all those goals. and the other coaches have nothing but good things to say after the game about the game and our team.

    i've been on the other side of the this fence in the early years and the players don't really care about results. they care about what the snack is after the game. as a coach it was a motivator to corect things that went wrong. weakness were exposed that i might not have seen before. by no means was it a bad experience.
    [/i]

    I have difficulty imagining that this sort of situation is very beneficial for the team delivering the beating, in terms of either enjoyment or development.
    [/QUOTE]

    this year it does seem like our team may be setting the standard for other teams. in years past other teams have done so. it was something to work 4 as a coach and it has been great for our players developement. hopefully other teams will step up and become more competitive. many coaches have commented on the style our team is playing. i think for many they never even thought young kids could do it. now they do and hopefully they will encourage and teach their teams to do so as well. it will only benifit the players in this area.

    my team is far from perfect and we work on things every week to add to our game. last week was the best game we aver played and i hope next week wil be even better. the are growing and learning from every game. that is the success; not the scoreline.


    [/i]
    If you are able to teach 6 and 7 year olds to switch fields, attach the flanks, and cross, then you have some outstanding coaching skills. [/QUOTE]

    i'm not doing anything others on this thread haven't done already (richie comes to mind). i have had most of these players since they were 4 or 5. i had a few openings this year because my co coach took the girls to make an all girl team. with those 3 spots 3 boys of players i play with or against joined our team.
    by the way we are not the only team playing this style in our league.

    [/i]
    if your league permits such mismatched teams to exist, then you have some outstandingly incompetent administrators. At U16, you might say, "We'll fix it next year," but at U7, a year is way too long. You owe it to your kids and the other teams' kids to promptly arrange some "trades" among the teams to balance things out, even if technically that "isn't your job" as coach. Look at it this way: You'll be increasing the number of kids exposed to your fine coaching abilities. [/QUOTE]

    bottom line is parents are able to request coaches. every season all of my players return. this keeps kids on the same team and gives a coach a chance to develope players over the years. i fully agree with this. i stated above how the other three players joined my team. their dads (that also play soccer) help me out tremendously. it like a team effort. the end goal was that i could get some help and i wouldn't be stuck on my own. as to breaking up the team..... if my team was dismantled it would take me close to a full season to get our team playing stylish soccer again. those that stayed with my team would have to struggle along with those new to the team again, all along not being able to grow until the others caught up. those that were told they had to leave our team might be placed in a siduation were they went back to playing bee hive soccer. i just don't see how destroying what these kids have worked on is some how just or "the right thing to do" for their development. frankly i just don't agree that having a few really good teams in the league is bad for the league and player development.
     
  19. dolphinscoach

    dolphinscoach Member

    Apr 17, 2002
    Bellevue, NE
    I've been on record against using GKs in U7, and the season so far has confirmed my attitude. It is extremely confusing for kids. In EVERY game my team has played this season, at least one GK (from my team or the opposition) picks the ball up outside the area, often dropping it embarrassed when the whistle blows; and a non-GK picks up a ball. What to do when the GK has the ball seems to throw all 14 kids on the field into confusion, also, with attacking players trying to block punts or throws, defenders running to a spot and then not knowing where to go if the GK does not distribute to them, and the GK usually looks terrified trying to find out who to give the ball to and trying to decide whether to throw, kick, whatever (my kids seem to handle it best now that they have been told to roll the ball only). No one at this age has the strength to throw or boot the ball far enough downfield, so usually the attacking team just gets the ball back quickly and goes at goal. The GK also seems to feel that they can't play any ball outside of the box, even though we have worked on them kicking it, etc.
    These kids are still trying to understand other aspects of the game, and the GK situation just confuses them.

    More importantly, having a GK at this age is often dangerous. In EVERY game (and other coaches say the same), a goalie is kicked after handling the ball because attackers don't pull away. We've had kicked hands, arms, sides, rear ends, and one bad shot to the face. Plus, we've had kids hurt as they bend to pick up a ball that is kicked into the stomach or face. In addition to the pain, a lot of game time is wasted dealing with crying, hurt kids.

    Finally, it may be fun to score against a GK, but the GK is devastated. Lots of tears throughout the league so far, and our league does not keep score. By the way, the teams that run up the scores shooting at GKs are able to do so because (a) the kids are not yet GKs, and they really only stop a shot if it is hit right at them; (b) the inability to clear the ball downfield allows the attacking team to take shooting practice; and (c) the kids are shooting at large goal areas, which are supposedly covered by little kids.

    By the way, if your team is running up the score because one or two players are better than everyone else on the field, put those kids in goal, on the bench, etc. It is not only the sporting thing to do, it will let the other kids on your team develop into players (instead of spectators who cheer as little Jimmy scores his 9th of the game). [Please note: I am not accusing anyone on this board of unsporting play. Never having seen any of you coach, I assume that you are all sporting individuals.] We have outplayed one team, even with two, and have been run all over by two. Of the two who ran all over us, one kept his weaker players on the bench, in goal or at wing defense while leaving his strongest players as attackers. The other team that outplayed us moved his best players out of the attack for the second half. For those two teams, each has had a game where one of the better kids could not play. The former team struggled because the other kids did not know what to do, whereas the latter team played pretty well.
     
  20. m-chill

    m-chill New Member

    Jun 4, 1999
    orlando,fl,usa
    Wow I’d be against keepers as well if things in our league were as crazy as it sounds in dolphinscoach's league. Fortunately things are much more controlled in our league and we don’t have those things happening. One thing that has helped, is each game so far I have gone over to the other coach and told him that if his keeper holds on to the ball after he saves it, our team will back out of their area and give them a free out. This gets rid of the confusion of keepers not knowing where to put the ball. Also my players don't harass the keeper cuase they know nothing will come of it. We generally move back to midfield and let the other team bring it up. This also gets rid of those cheap goals teams can get from situations dolphinscoach talked about in his post. Of course if their keeper wants to play it early because he thinks they can get a quick counter that’s fine as well. I’m also concerned about what kinda pressure some of these kids must be put under to start crying if they give up a goal. It doesn’t sound like a supporting atmosphere of trying your best.

    Lastly good players should not be punished for playing well and benched. That does little for the player and sends a confusing message to other players. At this age all players should play equal amounts of time. They should also play all positions; no player should be pigeon holed into a spot this early on in their soccer careers. Of coures this my opinion and not a fact.
     
  21. IASocFan

    IASocFan Moderator
    Staff Member

    Aug 13, 2000
    IOWA
    Club:
    Sporting Kansas City
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    In our U6 and U8 games. We play quarters with no substitution except for injuries between quarters. This guarantees at least half game playing time - more if there aren't a full complement of subs. My only complaint with this is that the teams are full and frequently everyone only gets 2 quarters.
     
  22. dolphinscoach

    dolphinscoach Member

    Apr 17, 2002
    Bellevue, NE


    I should clarify my earlier comments. Our league requires that all kids play at least half of the game. Some coaches never/rarely sit the good kids, so the good ones play the whole game and the weaker ones play the minimum required. My comment about having the kids be on the bench is not that they should be punished, just that they should be part of the normal substitution process. Our league rules also state that the kids are supposed to play all positions (Defense, Offense and GK), but one team in our league does not follow that policy very closely. To be fair, it is hard to keep U7 kids in positions, with offense-minded players going forward when they are playing defense, etc., but that particular team puts the same kids up top consistently. Those kids are being pigeon-holed: strong players at forward, weaker players on defense, in goal and/or on bench.
     
  23. dolphinscoach

    dolphinscoach Member

    Apr 17, 2002
    Bellevue, NE
    Please note that, in my previous post, I messed up using the quote function. Some of my comments are in bold, and seem to be part of the quoted post. Hope you can figure out which is mine anyway. Sorry for the mix-up.
     
  24. dolphinscoach

    dolphinscoach Member

    Apr 17, 2002
    Bellevue, NE
    We, too, allow substitutions only for injuries and at end of quarters. I like it, for the most part, but some of the kids get awfully tired. We play 7 v. 7, and only have 9 on our roster. That means at least one kid has to play the whole game, and four others have to play three consecutive quarters (i.e., the ones who sit the 1st quarter play 2, 3 and 4; the ones who sit the 4th play 1, 2 and 3). Our first game of the season was at 1pm on a very hot Saturday, and guys on both teams were hurting. On the cooler days, it has not been a problem.

    One other positive about the policy: It makes my job easier because I can plan out beforehand who will play where and when, and I can track to make sure that everyone is getting equivalent playing time in the various positions.
     
  25. JoeSoccerFan

    JoeSoccerFan Member+

    Aug 11, 2000
    Columbia MD, U-5 and U-6 (3V3 or 4V4) depending upon how many kids are on a team (6 or 7).
    U-7 5v5.
    U-8 7v7.
    U-9 7v7.

    This year coaching U-7, my starting line-up is determined by the first 5 girls who arrive. I have 10 girls on my roster. Therefore 50% playing time if everyone shows. Makes it hard to bench players if we're up by a lot.

    At this age, development and fun are the most important things. I would never run up the score intentionally. However, in one game this year, we won 12-1. I felt like a schmuck. I tried everything that I could. I have several very good players and one exceptionally gifted player. I moved the gifted player in the 2nd quarter to defense because she had scored two crushing goals and the score was 5-1. After the third quarter, the score was 6-1. I played my most inexperienced player in goalie (figuring that maybe a couple of goals would be scored) and my lightest kicking at forward. Well, my gifted player started feeding balls to the forward who scored and the other mid-fielder scored a couple... I finally played two defenders (the better players) and my other players kept scoring.

    I didn't believe that I could do anything else. I don't think the girls would have understood 1 or 2 touches, shooting with the left foot, 5 passes before a shot. In the future, I probably would have played my less experienced players in the field.

    Stacking teams is bad for the league (parents choosing coaches).
     

Share This Page