September 6, 2007
Shape! Teaching Positioning In Youth Soccer
Koach Karl - I'm going to share an Excellent article on teaching positioning in youth soccer by Ray Erlach. Here's part 1…
"SHAPE!" TEACHING POSITIONING IN YOUTH SOCCER
Last issue I promised to lay out the "Magic Y" for our readers. For youth players you can use the "Magic Y" to teach positioning, which is chapter one in teaching tactical development. It's not easy to teach positioning or team "shape," because it is multiphasic and interdisciplinary. With youth players, the coach cannot do it all at once. As with all CYSA teaching methods, to teach positioning, we have to break down the skills, the "reads," and the moves into their subparts, first laying the foundation and only then building structure. Today we have space only to talk about the foundation: teaching offensive positioning to our playersand that's where the "Magic Y" comes in.
Attacking positioning is covered in the E course as "Tactics of the Second Attacker," with course book treatment on page 42 of the manual distributed for the course. The E/D course covers positioning in greater depth in lesson 12. These courses are very helpful in coaching positioning.
So before you get to tactics, your team must understand positioning and team shape. How do you teach positioning and team shape to youth? The "Magic Y."
TRIANGLES, TRIANGLES, TRIANGLES
The most common and universally employed unit of offensive positional structure
in our game is the triangle — three players, each at one of the points of the angles, at or ready to move to passing distances from each other.
The entire attacking team needs to "shape" into conjoined triangles, but let's start more simply, with one. The first triangle must be anchored to something, or your offense will look like a Jackson Pollack canvas. That's why there is a game I use to begin teaching positioning, which I call the "Magic Y." It is how to teach the first step of positioning — shaping the triangles around the ball, which is the anchor. We start with just four players.
Creating the "Y" is obvious: A1, "the ball," is at the junction; A2 is left and forward; A3 is right and forward; and A4 trails A1 backfield:
To start, have three of your players set up in the Y, around you as A1, with you holding the ball. After they have seen the angles and range of acceptable distances and can reconstruct it without your help, start to move around and have them maintain their positions in the Y, relative to you as A1.2 After a few tries, with you stopping play, instructing, and restarting, you will have players who are positioning themselves. Congratulations, your team has "shape," rudimentary, but it is shape.