This page brings together resources for coaches

AYSO Kids Zone Pledge

Line-Up Cards

Regional Resources

Tips for 6U and 8U Coaches

Tip #1 - Coaches, Don't Play In Practices

Remember, even a small adult looks like a giant to a 5-, 6- or 7-year-old. You tower over them and it's intimidating when a large adult tells the player to run at, dribble past or shoot past the coach or if the coach or a parent is simply standing in the goal or, worst of all, if the coach challenges a player for the ball or plays keep away. The kids get frustrated and anxious.

So, please, stay out of the way. Let the players play. If you have to demonstrate something with a child, try to get help from an older sibling or be at least be aware of the size disparity and adjust for it as you show the players what to do.

Bonus tip: When talking to young players, get down on one knee. Engage them at their height.

Tip #2 - Standing And Moving

5-, 6- and 7-year olds don't concentrate. 25-, 36- and 47-year old coaches may know this but rarely act on this knowledge.

Keep your players moving. Have drills which involve everyone all at once. Above all, don't have a line of players that's longer than two or three. The sun rises in the east and the kids at the end of the line get bored and distracted. It's the law.

There are lots of drills to keep kids moving:

  • Make sure that each player has a ball and is doing something with it. Put out several pairs of cones on the field and make the players dribble through different pairs the pairs. Then have them dribble through a pair of cones, turn and dribble back through the same set before moving on.
  • You won't get a lot of passes from a 5-year old, but by the time they are 6 or 7, you can ask them to buddy up and pass the ball back and forth with a teammate or two. The same cone pair set up can be used but with two players having to pass through a pair of cones and then move on to another pair.
  • If you must have a line, make sure the player has to do something that makes them run around before they get back in line. For example, shoot the ball through a pair of cones (not into a net) then go retrieve the ball and bring it back to the end of the line. Before you know it, the player will just have got back in line when it's time to go again.

The point is - no standing around.

At some point, the kids will need a break. Send them to get water and get them back quickly. Lots of short breaks are better than fewer long ones, especially ones that involve sitting down. Make it a race not to be the last one back. Keep Moving!

Tip #3 - Sunshine and Sunglasses

We live in sunny southern California. The sun is shining. Your players aren't wearing sunglasses. So make sure when you talk to them, the sun is behind them and in front of you. Don't make them squint.

Also, try not to wear sunglasses, especially dark ones, when you are talking to your team. It's intimidating for the players and you want them to make eye contact with you. And, as we said in Tip #1, kneel when you talk to the players, so they looking at you not up at you.

Coaching Cards

Check out Coaching Cards by Michael Karlin - 13 pages which can be cut out and pasted on to 4 x 6 index cards - Everything you need to run practices from U12 on up.

Download Here

Coaching Kicking

This series of videos by Michael Karlin will help you learn how to coach any player to kick, step-by-step.

Post-Season Coach Primer

A terrific, comprehensive document that explains everything you always wanted to know about coaching in the postseason....but were afraid to ask.

Click Here To Download

Other Resources

  • Check out eTrainU for AYSO National training resources. You have to be a registered volunteer to get access to these materials.
  • Watch some skills training videos (Coerver's are expensive but the best) - more information can be found at Play Great Soccer
  • We like Soccer Clinics and Grass Roots Coaching because of the animated diagrams - but there are subscription fees.
  • Soccer Expert has lots of free drills.
  • Laws of the Game from US Soccer can be found HERE