"Why is 1v1 soccer the
  foundation of a soccer

Why should coaches focus on teaching kids to play 1v1 soccer? One versus one soccer is the foundation of the game. Teach the kids to win their 1v1 battles, defending and attacking become much easier.

This will make the kids more confident and aggressive with and without the soccer ball.

When do coaches begin to teach the 1v1 game?

Right from the beginning! The better kids are 1v1 the more creative they can become in attacking and solid at defending.

Now, some players will gravitate towards playing more of a defensive role or position, while some players will naturally play in midfield. The coach will then get the kids that have a knack for scoring goals and playing in more advanced areas of the field.

All players can be taught to be effective coming forward and playing attacking soccer or defending 1v1 no matter what position they play.

The basic 1v1 techniques that players must master are...

  • 1v1 Soccer moves
  • 1v1 Defending

These two techniques are the foundation of the game. The most successful teams all have good 1v1 players. Either way the players will find themselves in these situations where they have to dribble into space, beat a player directly or defend when they lose the soccer ball.

So, here we go...

1v1 attacking

Lets get to the fun part of the game, and that is attacking. So how do we develop young players to be good 1v1 players? We have to start with dribbling because if players can't dribble into space, beat players or shield the soccer ball they will not develop into good 1v1 players...

What 1v1 soccer moves can attacking players use to beat defenders? I like to teach the following attacking moves and let the kids choose the ones they feel comfortable with...

Basic dribbling using the four parts of the foot for kids just beginning to learn how to dribble the soccer ball.

Coaches can start with...

1v1 soccer moves for kids that have decent dribbling skills. My favorite moves to teach are the cuts - inside and outside because they are so effective in beating players. There are a myriad of attacking moves and turns to teach.

These moves are all attacking moves for players to go at the defenders. The coach can introduce 2-3 moves and the kids will pick the one they like and practice that particular move...never fails. Once the kids have some moves down the coach can add shooting along with the moves.

So, lets jump into 1v1 defending...

1v1 defending

Defending 1v1soccer is as equally important as attacking 1v1 soccer and the skills go hand in hand. If you have good 1v1 attackers they can help the rest of the team become better defenders and good defenders make better forwards.

How do we start teaching defending?

By teaching the kids how to win the soccer ball the kids will automatically win more 50/50 balls and become tougher soccer defenders.

Once the players get the timing down through some fun soccer tackling exercises you will see the dreaded stab go away.

The basic soccer defending stance is...

  • Side on and not facing forward and keep the feet moving.
  • The players should also be on the their toes so if they have to change direction they can do it quickly.
  • Make play predictable meaning force the soccer player and soccer ball to go in the direction that makes it easy for the defender.

Teaching young kids how to defend will take time because the players have to get the timing down and learn how to deal with a player who can dribble.

Once they have the basic tackling down they can work on defending basics.

Get more soccer defending tips by clicking on soccer defending.

1v1 games

There are a few games that coaches can play to develop 1v1 skills.

1v1 to a cone:

The coach places cones down and one player defends the cone and the other attacks the cone. If the defending player wins the ball they become the attacker.

Coaching point: Players defending next to the cone the whole game? The coach can make it a rule that the defender has to come off the cone and follow the attacker...

1v1 to cone goals:

The coach can set up pug goals or cone goals and the players will play 1v1 to goal. This now provides a counter goal for the players to attack if they win the soccer ball.

Coaching point: You can make the field with a boundary for tighter spaces to play in or leave it open to create more fitness.

1v1 to big goals:

The coach can use Coerver or pug goals if they are available or regular goals. The players now get to shoot on goal if they are attacking.

Coaching point: The ball has to hit the back of the net to count - no bounce - this way the players have to really strike the soccer ball.

These games will promote good 1v1 defending and attacking play...transfer the 1v1 to small sided games.



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