Under 12 Switching Point of Attack

Description: Building on last week’s WIMPS session we will work on variations of passes and how they can be used to switch the point of attack in a game.

Coaching Points:

  • “Width in attack”
  • When to switch play? (When the game is compact)
  • Types of passes to switch play
  • Using Possession to switch point of attack
    • Warm-up

      Description: Technical warm-up based on ball control, dribbling and turn technique.

      Turn variations:

      • Inside hook
      • Outside hook
      • Cruyff turn
      • Drag Back
      • Insides/toe taps

      Technical – Passing Variations

      Passing Variations

      Description: Activity to develop variations of passes, looking at when to use which pass in a game in order to switch the point of attack.

      Players split into three teams, one team in either end zone with the third team in the middle with a ball. Player in the middle must play a 1-2 with one end player who then plays a long pass to opposite end zone. Middle player then repeats.

      Passing Variations:

      • Punch pass: Using the instep, drive through centre of the ball. Most accurate.
      • Driven pass: Using the laces, knee over the ball and drive through centre of the ball. Most powerful/quickest
      • Curled pass: Using instep, wrap foot around the ball to add spin.
      • Lofted pass: Using laces/instep, strike under the centre of the ball. Can be quick and evade defenders when used appropriately.

      SSG – 2 Goals

      SSG - Wide Play

      Description: Max 6v6, two teams each have two goals to attack. 1 Point for goal in either net. If a team can quickly switch the point of attack and score they will receive 3 points.

      Develop understanding of WIMPS, can we always have someone in support deep and ahead of the ball? Show how to use possession to quickly switch the point of attack as well as various passing techniques.

      Free play

Under 12 Possession Session

Attacking Principles of Football (WIMPS)Description: Basic session to introduce the Attacking Principles of Play (WIMPS).

Fun warmup developing to simple 5v2 Possession exercise before moving to a game specific directional Possession exercise.

Session Coaching Points:

  • Introducing Attacking Principles of Play (WIMPS)
  • Develop Passing and Receiving Technique
  • Good communication with team mates

Agility Warm up

Time: 8-10mins

Passing Agility Warm-up

Description: Players in two equal lines facing each other with one ball. First player passes to opposite player before performing a ladder exercise and joining the opposite group. Repeat Circuit for 2-3mins depending on number of players then progress.


  • Single Feet
  • Two Feet
  • Side to Side
  • In-out-in-out
  • Dribble to opposite group then go back through ladder


Setup: 10x10m area (Use 2 areas depending on player numbers)
Time: 20mins

Rondo 5v2

Description: 5v2 possession exercise where players can move throughout the 10×10 grid, focus on introducing “WIMPS” and basic tactical. Can the players use Width? Support? Mobility? Also focus on passing and receiving Technique.

Award players 1 point for every 10 consecutive passes and change the defenders. If this is too much lower to the ability of the players.

Change defenders regularly or have two teams of 5 and have 3 substitute defenders. Attacking team can have 5mins to practice then change roles.


  • Limit to 2 touches
  • Play “penetrating pass” through two defenders to score 3 points
  • Limit to 1 touch


Setup: 30x15m area (Two areas if player numbers allow)
Time: 20mins

Directional Possession 3v3+2

Description: 3v3 inside a rectangle area, with a target man on either end. Teams must play the ball from one side of the grid to the other to score a point. They can go back to the end player they received from to retain possession but will not score a point.

Change end players and middle payers regularly.

Focus on, 2 players going wide for the server, third attacker makes plenty of movement.


  • Limit to 3 touch
  • Must make 3 passes before going into end man
  • Limit to 2 touch

Free Play

Time: 10mins

Free play - 6v6

A Guide to Running a Session

One of the best resources for Youth Coaches out there, The Coaching Manual has just published an article on how to plan a session, straight from the Southampton Academy.

The Coaching Manual

A great insight into how sessions are planned at a Premier League Academy, plenty to take into your sessions at grassroots level.

Follow @CoachingManual on Twitter and read the Two Part article on thecoachingmanual.com.

Under 6 Dribbling Session

Session Focus: FUNdamental session focus on developing ABCs and introducing dribbling.

Warmup – ABCs (10mins)

U6 Agility Circuit

Description: Players split up into two teams, one team starts at the agility ladder and the other at the shuttle cones.

Ladder: Players take turns to go through agility ladder, begin with one foot in each square. Progress to two feet, bunny hop and side to side.

Shuttle Cones: Focus on knees bent and pushing off the outside foot. Can also progress to running backwards depending on the group.

“Cross the river” Dribbling Game (10-15mins)

Cross the River

Description: Players in two teams, each player has a ball. Play begins with the whole team in their end zone with their foot on top of the ball. When the coach shouts “GO” players must dribble/walk across “the sea” to the other side. If the player can get to the other side without losing control on their ball, and put their foot on top and shout their name they get 1pt.


  1. Speed – When players are comfortable, give the first player who gets across and has their foot on the ball 1pt.
  2. Change of direction – Add in a few dome cones so players now have to move side to side and avoid hitting the cone

Coaching Points:

  • Small touches when dribbling
  • Keep ball close to feet
  • Start slow, speed up when comfortable
  • Scanning, head up

1v1 Dribbling (10-15mins)

U6 1v1 Dribbling

Description: Both teams stand in a line beside the coach with one ball per team. When the coach shouts go the players must dribble their ball down the end line, in through their end zone and attempt to dribble and score in the opposite goal. Whichever team scores first gets a point. Players must then lift the ball and give it to their next team mate.


  1. 1 Ball, now the players run round the cone and the coach serves in the ball, players must then win a 1v1 to score.
  2. End Zone – Players must be inside the end zone to score.

Free Play (10-15mins)

4v4 Small Sided Game

Description: Finish with free play, 3v3 / 4v4 max. Can use goalkeepers depending on the group. Allow players to kick the ball in from the sideline and a free pass for goal kick.

Ideally have two games of 3v3 and swap teams half way through.

Implementing a style of play

Reading time: 5 minutes

When you work with youth teams at grassroots level, producing consistent performances can be very difficult as players often only have one or two hours playing together each week.

Soccer Tactics Board

One way to help youth teams produce consistent performances is having a style of play.

Here are a few things I have found helpful in developing a style of play:

1. Be clear about what you want from your team

Do you want to play on the counter, dominate possession, build from the back or play more direct? There’s no right or wrong way, you may need to change your style of play to suit your players but it is important to know as the coach what way you would like your team to play.

2. Talk to your players

Whether you are working with U9, U11 or senior players it is important that they understand how you would like them to play. They may only be 10 or 11 years old but nowadays kids watch a lot of football on TV. Try to relate your desired style of play in their language:

  • “Have you seen how Messi and Ronaldo will take on defenders?”
  • “Watch how Barcelona play out from the back, that’s how we’d like to play out from the keeper”
  • “Who has watched La Liga recently? Do you see how most teams like to move the ball quickly?”

Don’t be afraid to talk to your players about style of play, if you’re trying to implement a style throughout your club it is important to start this with your youngest teams early.

3. Position specific Roles and Responsibilities

Now your players understand how you would like them to play as a team, it is also important they know how they each fit into the jigsaw.

Where should they be when you have the ball? How should they react when you don’t? Rather than bombarding players with information, one or two tips to an individual before a game or at half time can give them a focus. “If our winger can’t play forward, see if you can find space to provide him with an option to keep possession”.

Allow players time in various positions, this will help develop a more rounded player as it will present them with challenges they may not get if they play in the same position every week.

4. Development over winning

Central to developing a style of play is ensuring players have the environment to learn without fear. If for example you are learning to play out from the back, your players will make mistakes and sometimes concede goals, maybe resulting in a loss. It’s important that your players know that you trust them to keep trying, and as they learn they will develop the skills which will benefit them in years to come.

5. Patience, and practise

Be patient with your players, organise your training sessions around the basic techniques which will translate into their style of play on game day. Plan your sessions to be fun, with a specific purpose and let players know how this will help them in a match.

For example: “Today we are going to work on our passing and receiving, this will help us to be more comfortable in possession on Saturday”.

Practise makes permanent!


As coaches we should be moving away from turning up on match day, picking a team and hoping for the best. If you have a common goal which coaches and players understand, and one which everyone buys into, it can be the key to producing consistent performances.

Be clear on how you want your team to play, then talk to your players and get them to buy in to it. Let your players know what their role is in the team and give them the freedom to learn and make mistakes free from scrutiny. Finally, be patient with your players, developing a style of play will take time and lots of practise.

Good luck!