Coaches' Q&A

Each of these questions have been taken from recent posts in various social media groups dedicated to soccer coaching. The questions have been paraphrased and anonymised for privacy.

Mar 31st 2022

Written by The Coaching Manual

I take a group of u10s. There are 22 boys and 5 girls in the group. I am concerned that next year the girls, or at least most of them, will quit because statistically very few girls ever go on to play at older age groups with boys. I don't want to stand by and watch girls leave the game because of this - have any of you had any similar such experiences with this type of dilemma?

At the beginning of The Coaching Manual’s webinar season in 2020, we spoke with Tracey Kevins, Head Coach of the USWNT u17s, and an expert in developing young female players. Tracey speaks openly about the strategy for players, the team, as well as the physical demands for the game and where it is heading. As a coach, you will find useful information from this webinar and how to develop young female players - click here.

I coach an U12s team... any ideas to encourage communication between teammates? Particularly when offering the option to pass to feet or in space. I may have quick discussions about common instructions i.e. "home" or "safe", "line" and "square" etc.

Take a look at this warm up exercise from Southampton FC’s Andy Marks - it’s designed to encourage movement and communication - click here.

You should also share the following infographic with your players, to make sure they are confident with the terminology of the sport - click here.

I coach a very mixed level team u12 girls team. I think they have a lot of potential and I now want to have more of a team focus. I was thinking of starting with 2v1. And then moving on to 3v2, 3v3 etc… Do you have a good drill for 2v1 etc?

To develop your players understanding when Attacking with an overload, use this practice to guide your players on how to attack with pace utilising the extra player when attacking. Encourage your players to be direct and positive on and off the ball - click here.

From a defending perspective, who better to listen to that Belgium star Vincent Company? In this technical practice with coach Tony Carr, Vincent Kompany shows players how to defend in a 2v1 situation - click here.

On The Coaching Manual we have a wealth of overloaded/outnumbered practices, so have a browse and incorporate rondos like this one into your sessions - click here.

Ball mastery ideas for u9s please? I have a very mixed ability team.

This is perhaps one of the most important questions in terms of the development of young players. The younger that players can become competent at the fundamental techniques required to control the football, the better chance they will have of reaching their potential in the sport.

On The Coaching Manual, we have a number of ball mastery sessions for younger children, including this one - however, the best way to ensure your players become competent with ball mastery, is to download the TopTekkers app.

There simply isn’t enough time during structured training sessions to provide players with the ball mastery skills they need (check out this infographic for reference), so TopTekkers encourages and rewards players for spending time away from the field practising their skills. More information www

With TopTekkers, you can also address the issue of having a range of abilities in your team by setting individual development plans for your players at the touch of a button, and monitor their progress through the app's coach's portal.

I coach 8 year olds who play 4-a-side, does anyone have ideas or do fun drills for this age?

There are loads of age-appropriate content on The Coaching Manual, but why not start with this fun warm-up drill for young players, a fun starter activity that challenges your players' alertness, communication and introduces game-specific movements in preparation for the upcoming session - click here.

Looking for some new inspiration for some 3v3 /4v4 small games for U15 Boys. I'm having trouble with their focus at training of recent.

Player behaviour and attitude is a common problem, read this guide to help improve the behaviour of players of all ages.

But in truth, the best way to keep player discipline levels up, is to make sure they are given clear instructions, taking part in a clearly-defined session planned by a coach who knows what they’re doing. Search on The Coaching Manual for ready-made and age-appropriate sessions designed by highly-qualified coaches.

Does anyone have any drills/suggestions to help with players tracking back when we lose possession going forward? My U13s are good going forward but get undone pretty much every time possession switches!

We’ve got a lot of transition to defend content on The Coaching Manual for that age group:

The practices within the session will support your players around what they should do when losing position and how they react to it. Teach your players how to recover behind the ball keeping the opposition in front as well as delaying them playing forward.

If you have any questions about coaching, please get in touch! Follow us on social media here:

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