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Fundamental Soccer Blog


I believe over-coaching kills creativity!

Young players need to explore and find the game on their terms.  Coaches need to organize, observe and stimulate enthusiasm for playing.

Organization is the Key – let the SSG (Small Sided Games) become the teacher.  Get out of the way and let them play if you set up the game correctly – Proper Size (area), Broad-based Conditions, Appropriate Number of Players, Appropriate Number of Goals ( objectives), and a few Basic Rules.

Be Patient, Be Positive, and Be Encouraging!

Patient Process Over Time –

A crockpot mentality– gradually add ingredients and then combine them. 

Too often, it’s a microwave mentality– skip the stuff and get to the end.

Kids go thru different developmental stages, and that cannot be rushed.  Unfortunately, too many youth coaches do not have enough information in that area. 

Fun – Fun – Fun —

Score goals – Score goals – Score goals (Especially in practices!)

Keep It Simple!

Sidebar comments:

When it comes to fitness-

  • The easy answer is to play in a larger area – More area to cover, more running, more fitness.
  • Smaller area, more dribbling.
  • Area size can affect the outcome and desired effect(s).


Koach Karl’s Notes

FUNdamental SMALL-SIDED GAME (s) are played with Specific Rules (SR*) to correct a weakness observed in the previous practice or game. 

(SR*) first Cooperative and then Competitive Play.

1.  COOPERATIVE Small-Sided Games

  • Coach:  Instructs players that stoppages for coaching will occur during this practice phase.

2. COMPETITIVE Small-Sided Games

  • Coach:  Instructs players that no stoppages for coaching will occur during this practice phase.

(SR*) With either an Even or an Uneven number of players.

  1. EVEN – Sided Games
  • Teams of equal number…such as 1v1; 2v2; 3v3; 4v4; 5v5; etc.
  • They are played to improve all techniques except passing because of the limited passing opportunities.  

2. UNEVEN-Sided Games

  • Teams of unequal numbers…such as 5v0; 4v1; 3v2; 2v1; 7v4; etc. 
  • They are played primarily to improve passing because unlimited opportunities are available.


4 vs. 0 = Beginning Passers; 4 vs. 1 = Weak Passers;

4 vs. 2 = Average Passers; 4 vs. 3 = Advanced Passers

Helpful Hints When Coaching Small-Sided Games:

  • Discipline yourself to know when to leave the players alone!
  • Over coaching can often be worse than no coaching!
  • Be careful that in the haste of competing – the technique does not deteriorate.
  • Recognize fatigue and when it becomes a factor in learning.
  • Include active/inactive rest periods when the activity is at a high pace.
  • When in doubt, go back to basics – slow down the action when things are not working.

These notes are taken from my book, “FUNdamental SOCCER – PRACTICE,” where you will find many more unique FUNdamental Rules for Small-Sided Games. Rules to create a FUN environment where the player(s) are coerced to work on the ‘theme’ or their particular weakness. 

Terry Michler

Terry Michler is the Co-Founder of Dutch Soccer Vision and is a storied coach at CBC High School in St. Louis, MO, USA. Many of his players have played in college and professionally. His teams have won nearly 1000 games and 9 State Championships in his 40+ year career