U12-U13 PLAYER GUIDELINES
By this point in time you have a group of dribble happy, technically sound little soccer athletes. From a technical standpoint we are getting ready for puberty and the increase in individual strength. Coaches can begin to move to more passing, receiving, and finishing type techniques than dribbling. Longer range passing and shooting will now be possible as players grow both technically and physically.
Training sessions can begin to have topics that have a greater scope as players will have a history of training in given areas. For example a passing session topic can now address short and long passes maybe even on the ground and flighted. This would cover way too many coaching points for a U10 player. But since most of this would be review for the players we can cover more information and address the deficiencies that exist.
Fundamentally we still demand intent in our play. Coaches should be ok with poor decisions as along as “a” decision is made. From there a discussion about what the player saw in the game that made them reach the decision they made is very appropriate.
Demanding better individual decisions relative to the thirds of the field and risk versus safety issues with the ball should start to take precedent here. At U10 we encourage individualism, even if it meant dribbling at inappropriate times on the field. Now players are old enough to be expected to understand where one versus one is appropriate and where it is not. A short pass in front of the goal while under pressure from an opponent is no longer ok.
The game should begin to expand for the player to include more players (3rd attackers and defenders). Second attacker and defensive concepts begin to be a focus.
Positional understanding should really develop at this point in time. Understanding positional roles and responsibilities within the formation and team begin to become important. Functional concepts like set players and restarts can begin to be discussed and emphasized.