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How to encourage position discipline (U12's 9 a side)

I have a fantastic group of U12's (9 a side), who I encourage to play with the ball on the floor, quick passing football. We are a very attacking minded team, but that is our weakness - we need to remember that we do not have 8 strikers.Does anybody have any drills or tips for making sure that midfielders remember midfield?

You could use cones to mark boundaries to be used during a SSG, for example...

  • Mark the halfway line, defenders cannot go past that line - unless you encourage your full backs to take part in attacking moves, then allow them to cross the line
  • Mark a line halfway through the opposite half, tell your center midfielders that they cannot cross that line
  • You could also use these lines with the opposite effect for strikers, tell them they cannot cross the halfway line into their own half so that they always provide an outlet for the defence
  • The exception to the rule is that a player can cross the line if they have the ball but once they have released the ball (shot/pass) they must retreat behind the line quickly.

This simple progression during a SSG should encourage structure during a game

 

Hope this helps!

It's a simple answer from me, make them start to play and a rule in training is to play backwards before they can attack ! 2 touch and 3 moves forward needs one backward

Never been a fan of marking zones across a pitch in training for kids, although there are a lot of these drills about. I'd prefer to encourage kids to get up and down the pitch rather than restrict them to zones, ie your a defender - don't cross the halfway line. If you're playing 9 aside presumably you have 3 in midfield? I'd encourage the midfield players to be aware of each others responsibilities in a match. Have one as a defensive midfielder. I'd be interested in any drills that can encourage this too.

Marking zones across a pitch can be seen as a little extreme, but it's mentioned in the question that all of the players seem to go forward leaving nobody back. So marking zones can be useful to educate players about which parts of the pitch they are responsible for when the team is attacking & when the team is defending.

Once the players progress and start to show an understanding and apply this to their game then slowly remove the lines across the pitch.

Over time it your team will hold a better shape during matches.

Remember not to drill this into your players, try educate them as to why positional discipline is vital - let them think on their own

The easiest way to have your team work within their positions, is to set it up in practice and walk them through ball movement and ask each player what they should do, if they make a mistake show them the correct options. Once you work through each player, run through different movements with the ball until they under stand making runs and dropping to support when needed.

Boring but effective, after that you have to demand runs & support during a game. If bad choices continue with a single player, remove from the field and let them know if they wish to continue to play they must/will play the way you have shown them. If not you will have them sit until they do! Kids hate to sit the bench, so they will do what you need them to do.

This is a great opportunity for your players to sart to gain some knowlege of the thirds of the field of play and learn the roles and responsibilities of those positions.You can either use dvd stuff or game play or let the players tell you how they can adapt to finding the right balance.

An easy way to develop players positional sense is to get them into their start positions for one side (say 8 outfield start positions and put a yellow cone on the ground) then all 8 move to the opposite end and stand in their positions for that side and put down a white cone.

Then play a SSG and at any moment, the coach calls "LOST BALL" and all players from both sides have to sprint to their relative cones and the last one leaves the pitch for a minute then resume the SSG and repeat the call every minute with one player returning and one going off.

Another method I use is having all players in their positions. Have them spaced out as if it were real game situation. Then put the ball in various areas on the playing surface and have them move in porportion to where the ball is located. Explain to the players to shift with ball and play.

I have had great success with this. I start in Jan and perform this at least once a month and encourage the movement of position in SSG.

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