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Help - getting thrashed!

Hi. I coach a boys U9 team, very mixed ability. We’ve been together a year and had a few wins, a few draws and mostly losses last year. Constantly emphasising the results don’t matter - it’s all about enjoyment, learning the game etc. The boys’ effort and resilience is amazing but, in moving to 7 v 7, we’ve been walloped in pre-season friendlies and progress from last year seems to have gone awol. The main problem is keeping our shape (broadly 2-3-1) so I wondered if anyone had any tips/ideas on how to encourage the boys to keep their shape. Thanks a million in advance for any suggestions!
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Hi Matt,

In training you can do a training game and split the pitch up into 3 sections, similar to the drill below. Depending on the formation you want to play, you can split the players up into the different areas and the players in those positions have to remain in their area to emphasise the importance of maintaining position and shape. As a progression, you can allow the player who passed the ball in to move into that area and join the attack.



Video / Animation
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The pitch set up has a defending zone and an attacking zone, divided by a midfield channel. 

The defending zone and attacking zone have 2 defenders and 2 attackers in each zone. The midfield channel has 2 neutral (no.10) players inside. 

The defenders receive the ball from the goalkeeper and play through to one of the neutral midfield players (with the attacking players trying to stop this). The neutral players then play into the attacking players and join the attacking zone to create a 3v2 overload. 

Try to score in the opposition goal. 

Progression 1: Neutral players are split iinto one player for each team (i.e. one becomes blue, one red). These players are unnoposed to begin with in the central channel (but this makes only one midfield player to play into from the defensive zone).

Progression 2: Central zone players become opposed (i.e. the opposition midfield player can intercetpt etc). The ball can be set back from the midfield players into the defensive players to play through into the attacking zone. 

Progression 3: The midfield players can drop into the defensive zone to make a 3v2 overload. 

Coaching Points:

Angle of midfield player to receive. 

Body shape of midfield player to be able to play forward into attacking players. 

Movement of attackers to create a shot at goal. 

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  • create your own professional coaching plans
  • or access our tried and tested plans