The U9/U10 age group marks a significant period of growth as players begin to experience significant physical and cognitive growth. Physically, players typically experience substantial gains in muscle mass during this stage, resulting in considerable gains in strength and power. This is coupled with increases in speed of execution, endurance, and explosive power. As players enter U9/U10, they are beginning to master basic aspects of movement skills, including the ability to really control the ball with their feet while moving. Core technical abilities and tactical awareness begin to emerge and players begin to anticipate what might happen next during a game (aka think in advance of the ball). This is a fertile time for learning as players are beginning to develop self-awareness and are able to identify what they know and what they do not yet know.
Coaches must encourage technical development above all else – ensuring that players are focused on developing the fast footwork which will lay the pathway for quick and effective passing, tactical execution, and timing down the line. While coaches can likely achieve victories in games by focusing on passing at this age, if they do so they will discover that by the U12 and U14 age groups, other teams will have also mastered passing – minimizing any advantage the team once had and without the core foot skills, the players will have a great deal of trouble competing.
We at Arlington Soccer Club have put together a Coaches guide to help you get the best out of being a coach at this age group. We wanted to give you the support and necessary tools to help guide you to becoming the best coach you can be and ultimately providing the children you coach the best experience you can. Please use this as a guide and take what you need from it. We hope you can utilize this coaching tool and that it give you the support you may need.