U6 Practice Plans

ANSWERS TO COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Should we concentrate on passing or dribbling at U6?

The game at the U-6 level is characterized by awkward, rudimentary attempts at dribbling mixed with enthusiastic kicking of the ball in the general direction of the opponent's goal. Do not confuse kicking with passing. Passing implies an intention by a player to direct the ball accurately towards a team mate, it implies decision making. Kicking means using the feet to propel the ball in any old direction. You will not see too much, if any, passing in an U-6 game. Passing is simply beyond the ability of U-6 players. In terms of level of difficulty, kicking is the easiest to learn, dribbling is next and passing is the hardest to master for young players.

You might argue that passing should be easier than dribbling and besides, since passing is the essence of team play, it should be taught first. But what is dribbling? Dribbling is essentially passing the ball to oneself. If a player cannot pass the ball accurately to himself/herself, how is he/she expected to pass the ball to teammates? Remember not to confuse kicking with passing.

How do we handle a timid player who doesn't go after the ball?

Once again, you need to allow for differences in maturity among your players. Not every child is naturally aggressive and assertive. In the practical section of this course we suggest having each parent work with his/her child in a one-on-one interaction under the supervision of the coach. This is especially useful at the beginning of the season when players are being exposed to the game for the first time and are still getting to know the coach.

One-versus-one games where the coach is careful to match players of equal ability should help players overcome their hesitation to challenge for the ball. Every time a player goes after the ball he/she needs to receive praise for the attempt regardless of the eventual outcome.

How do we handle a player who dominates the game?

Many teams have one or two players who are physically or technically more advanced than the others. These players usually score most of the goals. As a coach, you don't want to curb the player's progress or 'punish' him/her for being talented by giving him/her less playing time or shouting at him/her to score less goals and pass to teammates. However, you can cultivate leadership qualities in your best player by asking him/her to help the weaker players. Players enjoy scoring goals and receiving the accompanying adulation. Try to make your best player understand that if he/she can pass the ball to teammates, they could score too and enjoy the game as much.

Your practice sessions should be challenging enough for your best players. For example, use activities which incorporate a combination of techniques such as dribbling and passing or dribbling and shooting, or using the weaker foot.

During games, you could coordinate your player shifts with the opponent's coach to ensure that each team's best players are on the field at the same time.

3v3 Is not real soccer. I want my child to play regular soccer.

In the words of Tony Waiters, we need to see the game through the children's eyes. Five year olds do not have the technical, physical or mental maturity to play the adult version of the game. The beauty and essence of soccer does not depend on the field dimensions or the number of participants. Soccer is about the challenge of controlling and manipulating a ball wider pressure, beating an opponent, passing to teammates and scoring a goal. These elements are present in 3v3 soccer just as they are in the 11 vs 11 game.

As a rule of thumb, if a player cannot pass accurately from one side of the field to the other, or, worse still, cannot even reach the other side, then the field is too wide. If a player spends all his/her energy chasing the ball and have little energy left to play with the ball, then the field is too big. After all, we are not trying to develop marathon runners but skillful ball players. The size of the field is detennined by the technical and physical range of the players. As they grow, players can graduate to progressively bigger fields with more participants.

I want my players to learn how to play positions. Before a player can learn to play specific positions he/she needs to acquire the basic technical skills of dribbling, passing, controlling and shooting. Trying to teach positions to very young players is akin to teaching trigonometry to a grade I class. Let's be realistic. It's a great accomplishment just to get your 4 or 5 year old to chase the ball and kick-dribble it towards the opponent's goal. The 3v3 game allows the players many opportunities to do just that.

Five year olds should be allowed and even encouraged to swarm around the ball. The swarm will disappear by itself when players learn to control and pass accurately under pressure. You cannot eliminate the swarm before its time. The 3v3 game does not eliminate the swarm. It just reduces it to a more manageable size.

Where are we going to find more coaches to accommodate all the teams.

Leagues which have adopted 3v3 soccer have found that it is easier to enlist parents into the coaching ranks since managing smaller squads is less intimidating to a beginner coach. The absence of any tactical or positional aspects in 3v3 soccer makes the task of coaching less daunting to a rookie coach In fact, the larger base of parent/coaches at the U-6 level creates a reservoir of coaches for the future.

We do not have enough field space

The 3v3 game actually alleviates the field space problem. A 3v3 field can be as small as 15 by 20 yards. Most fields currently used for U-6 play can be split into 3 or 4 fields for 3v3. Many areas previously deemed too small to accommodate a soccer field can now be utilized.

Practice sessions at the U-6 level should revolve mainly around dribbling activities interspersed with the occasional passing activity.

And during games, ENCOURAGE your players to dribble, REMIND them to sometimes try to pass, DO NOT GET UPSET at them if they don't pass (they simply cannot), and EXPECT to see a whole lot of kicking.

How do we handle a player who refuses to participate?

There is no magic formula or one definitive method to get a player to join in an activity. Many four and five year olds are socially, mentally and physically not mature enough for a complex team sport such as soccer, and yet, are thrust into organized soccer by their well meaning parents. Some players who are shy or timid might be overwhelmed by the new, unfamiliar environment of a soccer team practice. They will need time and your patience to adjust and enjoy the new experience. The onus is on you, the coach, to try and "break the ice" between yourself and the reluctant player.

Think back to what you, as a parent, had to do to coax your own child when he/she resisted such things as feeding, bathing, going to bed, etc. You made funny faces and acted like a clown. You gained their trust with soothing, non-threatening reassurances, and when that didn't work, you promised them ice cream.

The same approach might be needed here. But remember, if your practices are boring, complicated and intimidating, you will have problems convincing some players to participate. However, if your practices are fun and goofy, the players will want to participate. Even the most shy five year old's resistance will eventually break if she sees her teammates merrily engaged in a fun activity full of laughter and playfulness.

To summarize,

BE PATIENT with reluctant players

REASSURE your player and give him/her PERSONAL attention

ALLOW players to sit out and join at their own time and pace

MAKE SURE your practices are FUN

TALK to the player's parents about the situation and ENLIST their help. They know their child better than you do and you are not a child psychologist PRAISE the player for joining the activity.

PRACTICAL

A. ACTIVITIES USING PARENT-CHILD INTERACTION

The trend in North America is to place ever younger players in organized sports. Generally speaking, pre-schoolers do not fully understand and accept the concept of cooperation, structure and team work. Pre-schoolers are also at the very early stage of physical coordination and motor skills development. Mother nature would probably cringe at the sight of 4 year olds being plunged into organized soccer.

Obviously, putting 4 and 5 year olds, who lack cooperative and motor skills, into a team sport such as soccer which requires high level physical coordination presents quite a challenge. In fact, even the simplest version of the small-sided soccer programs in existence today, the 3 v 3 game, is too complicated for your average 4 year old.

However, since we grudgingly accept that U-6 soccer is here to stay, we need to at least gear the program to the very special needs of the 4 and 5 year olds. Our recommendation is to place them in a "fun program" that doesn't necessarily focus exclusively on soccer. The program should include fun games, simple relays and "simon says" type of activities which work on total body coordination and are not just soccer specific. On practice days, only part of the time should be devoted to real soccer such as 3 v 3.

Furthermore, these activities should emphasize individual attention via one-on-one interaction between a player and an older person, be it a parent, an older sibling, or a coach Coaches are always reminded that the ideal player-to-ball ratio is 1 to 1. In the case of 4 year olds, 1 to I is also the ideal player-to-coach ratio.

We feel that this "interactive soccer" approach should be integrated into the 3 v 3 program for U-6. The following page contains a few ideas on "interactive one-on-one" soccer activities. We are sure you could conjure some activities yourself as the only limit is your own Imagination.

These activities can also be used as the warm-up portion of your practice. Please remember:

- other fun, none soccer related activities can and should be included There is nothing wrong with playing tag or ring-around-the-roses or going to the playground swings during practice time.

- It's not a good idea to mix 4 year olds with 6 year olds. The 6 year olds will generally be a lot more mature. Each needs a different program. - Don't force soccer down their throat. Be receptive to their moods, preferences, and short attention span.

- ABOVE ALL, DON'T COMPARE YOUR CHILD'S PROGRESS TO OTIIERS. EACH CHILD MATURES AT HIS/HER OWN PACE. BE PATIENT AND ENJOY THEM AS THEY ARE.

B. GROUP GAMES

The following games are appropriate for U-6 players. The emphasis is on thought provoking activities as opposed to drills. Some of the activities can be used as a warm-up and are denoted as -.-such:

The U-6 coach needs to pick one or two warm-up activities plus two or three other activities for each practice session. This approach will easily fill a 60 minute practice while providing the players with fun and variety.

Plan 1: Sample Practice Plans: (when parents are available to help) duration 10 minutes

Warm-up Dribble-round-the cone (pg 24) - Kick Back (pg 24) 

Main activities Parents vs Kids (pg 28) - Dribble Through Tunnel (pg 29) - Four Goal Game -Scrimmage (3v3) (pg 33)

Plan 2: Sample Practice Plans: (when parents are not available to help) Duration 10 minutes

Warm- Up - House Dribble (pg 26) - King of the Balls (pg 30)

Main Activities Pirate (pg 31) - Storm the Castle (pg 32) - Scrimmage (3v3)

The accompanying booklet titled "Assistant Coach Series U6 & US Activity Aids for the Parent/Coach" contains many other activities for you to choose and pick.

Good luck and have fun!

BASC Recreational Youth Soccer 3v3 U6 Program Official Rules and Policies

(FIFA/USYS/OSA) Laws and Policies as amended by BASC 3/20 14)

All rules herein are for BASC Closed League matches and supersede FIFA, USYS and OSA rules for recreational soccer. Items not specifically addressed herein shall conform first to OSA rules then USYS then FIFA. For play outside of BASC Closed League OSA rules shall apply.

Law I - Field of Play

A. Field dimensions: The field of play shall be rectangular. Its length being no more than thirty (30) yards nor less than twenty (20) yards and its width not more than twenty (20) yards nor less than fifteen (15) yards. The length in all cases shall exceed the width. BASC U6 fields are 30x20.

B. Field Markings 1. Distinctive lines not more than five (5) inches wide. 2. A halfway line shall be marked out across the field. 3. A center circle with a three (3) yard radius. 4. Goal area: none 5. Penalty area: none

C. Goals: The size ofhockey goals or approximately 4'x 6'.

Law II- Ball Size three (3)

Law III- Number of Players

A. Maximum number of players on the field per team at any one time is three (3). There are no goalkeepers. The minimum number of players to start the match is two (2).

B. Maximum number of players on the roster should not exceed six (6).

C. Substitutions: 1. Injuries 2. See Law VII (substitutions at each 4 min period end).

D. Playing time: Each Player shall play a minimum of 50% of the total playing time.

E. Teams and games may be coed.

Law IV- Player's Equipment

A. Footwear: Tennis shoes or soft-cleated soccer shoes.

B. Shin guards: MANDATORY

Law V- Referees

A. Recreational Referee or higher (Registered 09 recommended)

B. In the event a referee is not available, coaches may officiate (BASC provides center referees for all U6 matches) .

C. All law infractions shall be briefly explained to the offending players.

Law VI- Assistant Referees Not required

Law VII- Duration of Game

A. The game shall be divided into eight (8) periods of four (4) minutes each with a halftime between periods four and five.

B. There shall be a one (1) minute break between periods to allow for substitutions.

C. There shall be a five (5) minute break between halves.

D. Clock runs during the game, stopping only for substitutions and the end of 1st half. Recommended that referees set their watch to run for sixteen (16) minutes and stop play and clock (at a natural stoppage) to allow for substitution approximately every four (4) minutes.

Law VIII - Start of Play Conforms to FIFA Laws of the Game, with the following exceptions: A. Opponents must be three (3) yards from the center mark while kick-offs are in progress (outside the center circle).

B. A goal may not be scored directly from the kick-off.

Law IX -Ball In and Out of Play

A. A ball that goes over the touch line shall be thrown in by the team other than the last team to touch the ball before it exited the field of play.

B. A ball that goes over the goal line (but not through the goal posts), last touched by an attacker, shall be thrown in by the defending team at the comer closest to the exit point.

C. A ball that goes over the goal line (but not through the goal posts), last touched by a defender, shall be thrown in by the attacking team at the comer closest to the exit point.

Law X- Method of Scoring Conforms to FIF A Laws of the Game

Law XI - Offside There shall be no offside.

Law XII - Fouls and Misconduct

A. All fouls and misconduct will result in a throw in for the opposite team from the touch line at the point closest to the infraction.

B. A goal may not be scored directly from the throw in.

Law XIII- Free Kicks No free kicks shall be taken during these games.

Law XIV- Penalty Kicks No penalty kicks shall be taken during these games.

Law XV- Throw In

A. The player selected to throw must keep both feet on the ground while the ball is being thrown. Further, a portion of both feet must be on or behind the line as the ball is being thrown. If there is a foul throw-in, the referee must explain the proper method to the player and allow are-throw. If the second attempt also results in an infraction, the opposing team shall be awarded the throw-in at the same spot on the field.

Law XVI- Goal Kick No goal kick. A throw in shall be taken in place of a goal kick.

Law XVII- Corner Kick No comer kicks. A throw in shall be taken in place of a comer kick.

Additional BASC U6 Rules

Roster Size:

Teams are to be formed with a maximum of 6 players; the recommended roster size is 5 players.

Uniforms: BASC will provide new U6 players two (2) single-colored T-shirt jerseys (one white and one orange). Only one set will be issued for each player the first time they register to participate in the U6 program. Teams are also permitted to purchase and use their own jerseys so long as they are in compliance with club rules. Jersey numbers are not required. No player names on jerseys.

For games the Home team (as listed on the schedule) will wear white and the Away team will wear orange.

Pennies or targets may be worn over jerseys in the event of a color conflict; subject to the approval of the Referee.

Non-uniform clothing is allowed based on weather conditions, but uniforms must still distinguish teams. Undershirts exposed from beneath jerseys must be the same or similar color of the jersey.

Any sponsor's names, logos or other wording/graphics must be approved in advance by the BASC Board.

Socks must cover shin guards and color should be consistent for the team.

Practices:  One practice per week for up to 60 minutes. Weeks are considered Saturday through the following Friday. Non-soccer related activities such as team parties, team fundraisers, volunteering, etc. are not considered team activities/practices in respect to this rule.

Team/Spectator Seating: The Home team (as listed on the schedule) and their spectators shall be seated on the East or North side of the field. The Away team (as listed on the schedule) and their spectators shall be seated on the West or South side of the field. Each team and their respective spectators shall remain on their designated side of the field throughout the match.

There shall be no climbing of trees, fences, goals, nets or other structures not specifically designed for such by any person. There shall be no coaches or spectators behind the goal lines.

Sideline Behavior: Coaches and spectators should keep all comments positive and supportive of the players. Spectators should refrain from providing playing instructions to the players which should only be done by the coaching staff. No referee abuse will be tolerated. Coaches may be cautioned or sent off by the referee for behavior in violation of the BASC Code of Conduct by the team's staff, players or their respective spectator sidelines.

Grounds Clean-Up: Each team shall clean up their respective areas before leaving.

Match Officials: All matches are to be officiated by a center referee. In the event a referee is not available, coaches may officiate.

Coaching: All persons coaching BASC players must be registered with the club and have an approved background check. Only registered/approved coaches, assistant coaches, trainers and managers may coach games or participate with players during practice.

Coaching On-Field: Coaches are permitted on the field to assist players during the first two weeks of the season only. After this period coaches are to only enter the field with the referee's permission at a stoppage of play.

Medical Devices: All medical devices (casts, supports, braces, etc) are subject to the approval of the referee with respect to player safety. Players with medical devices should have them padded in advance of the game and check in with the referee or at the HQ building prior to the match for approval.

No Sweeper-Keepers: Coaches are strongly encouraged to not allow a player to "camp out" in front of the goal to prevent scoring as all players need to be encouraged to be involved in active play. Referees may remind coaches of this policy but no penalty or sanction shall be enforced by the referee. Coaches who willfully do not follow the policy will be subject to disciplinary review.

Slide Tackles: Slide tackles shall not be permitted. Any player engaging in slide tackles should be counseled to not repeat. No penalty or sanction shall be enforced by the referee.

Post-Game Sportsmanship: All players and coaches should congratulate each other for a game well played with handshakes/high fives along the halfway line. Parents are encouraged to form tunnels and cheer for players as they return to the side lines.

Scores/Standings: All scores are to be recorded on the game form by the referee and verified by each coach at the conclusion of the match (if a result or score is to be protested the coach should note such on the game forms and must file a protest in writing to BASC within 72 hours). The referee will give the completed forms to the winning team or home team, in case of a tie, at the conclusion of the match. After each game, the coach in possession of the Game Forms is to phone in the score to Got Soccer using the phone#, Event ID and Pin# at the top of the game form. Coaches must maintain the game forms, in their possession, until30 days after the season is over. Coaches must provide, to BASC, any game form requested. Scores/standings are not published but are used to assist in seeding teams for the following season.

Playing Time/Substitutions/Rotations: All recreational players are required to play at least 50% of each game for which they are present and physically able to play. Games/coaches will be periodically reviewed for compliance by the club. Coaches found to not be in compliance with this rule are subject to disciplinary review. Substitutions shall be made at the end of each period or for injuries. Organized rotations are very important and coaches should maintain documentation of rotations for each game. Below are recommended rotations for various roster sizes.