"How to teach
soccer shape
and positions to kid
soccer players"




Soccer Shape


Kids can pick up and learn soccer shape quickly. The more I see young players try to improve their skills, get their heads up and play, the better soccer players they become. The shapes becomes easier to teach because of these improvements in skill. Here are some of the small sided soccer shapes!

 3v3 shape: no goalkeeper - players play in a triangle 1-2 or 2-1. 

4v4 shape: no goalkeeper - players play in a diamond 1-2-1.

5v5 shape: no goalkeeper - players play 3 -2.

Small sided games like 3v3, 4v4 and 5v5 do not have goalkeepers involved so the players learn to use their feet - goalkeeping comes into play when the kids move to 6v6 or 7v7.

Goalkeepers will need to learn to use their feet regardless because the soccer ball will be passed back at the next level.The goalkeeper will have to take a touch and play out or even dribble out.




6vs6 shape: Goalkeeper-1-3-1 or a goalkeeper 3-1-1


7vs7 shape: Goalkeeper - 3-1-2 or 2-3-1.

8v8 shape: Goalkeeper -2 -3-2 or a goalkeeper - 3-3-1.

Goalkeeping is introduced at this level of play. The best way to handle the goalkeeping is to let the kids all have a try and see who likes the position. Mistakes will be made but the kids will learn...

11v11 shape: goalkeeper- 4 - 4-2

The young soccer players have to defend in the shape and attack in the shape. If the players can play 4v4 well the shape can lead into a 6v6 team shape or and 8v8 team shape.

The players will have a better understanding of how to play in each shape. What soccer lineup would you run for your kids?




Attacking and defending shape


Defending play

Teach young players 1 on 1 defending to help the team win the ball back. Here are some defending principals that players can learn...

  • Tackling and winning balls.
  • Closing space.
  • Marking players.

Attacking play

Coaches, players should be encouraged to play 1 on 1 soccer to bring out their creativity.

Width and depth are the two core principals when a coach is teaching soccer shape to young players.


What is possession?

Possession is teaching your team how to hold the ball by passing or dribbling.

Once the players have an understanding of how to play in their shape the coach can now teach the players how to pass the soccer ball or dribble for possession, which helps the attacking shape get better. Possession, skills and shape all go hand in hand.

An easy game to start the younger players off with is 3v1 or 5v2. These games introduce young players to taking a touch, switching the ball, communication.

Possession games at a younger age should probably consist of basic games like 5v2, small sided keep away games to introduce the concepts of communication running after you pass the ball, angles of support and maybe some very limited combination play - give and go's, if the team is advanced enough.

What does this all mean to the coach "keep it simple and have fun"...let the game be the teacher if you can. Learn more about the game and how it applies to your team.


Transition soccer

Coaches, I ask my players this question a lot - what is transition?

Transition is when a team goes from attack to defense and defense to attack.

How fast can your team move from defense to attack or back again?

The team that moves the fastest will generally be the best transition team because they will win the soccer ball and transition into the attack quickly or lose the ball and transition to defending quickly.

The trick is to catch the other team #'s down 2v1 or 3v1 and dribble at them or get defensive pressure on their players quickly so, they don't have time to play or attack quickly.



Return to Soccer defending from Soccer shape


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Coaches soccer equipment.

Teach young players how
to play attacking soccer.
Why first touch is so important?
Turning the soccer ball.

Coaches, do you want to make soccer fun and motivate your players? Soccer patches are a great motivational tool that can be used for goals, assists, good defending or skills competitions. The kids love patches!!


SBI!