How Many Players Can Be On The Field In Football Youth Football, Who Goes in What Position in Youth Football? How to Put Players in the Right Spots

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Youth Football, Who Goes in What Position in Youth Football? How to Put Players in the Right Spots

Evaluation of youth soccer players

Evaluating youth soccer players, whether for a draft or determining positions, is one of the most important but worst-performed tasks for many youth soccer coaches. Too often, a player is assigned a position because it “looks like” the position without regard to the skills required for that specific position. Often kids who look like soccer players or are the sons of coaches receive preferential treatment and are selected for positions of “skill” or glory. Another mistake that many youth soccer coaches make is that they assess children’s abilities in a way that has little or no correlation to what are actually critical success factors for performing well on the soccer field. Too often, a player is assigned a position based on just one required attribute of that position without considering the full range of skills required to perform the position.

i made the same mistake

The end result is that you often have youth soccer teams that are not performing anywhere near the potential of the aggregate group. So often when I’m asked to come in and troubleshoot teams that are playing poorly, have kids at the wrong positions, and the disparities in players are obvious if you know what to look for. At the beginning of my “career” as a coach, I too was taken in by the physical appearance of the players. One of my early years coaching a tough-talking 10-year-old showed up at our first practice, he had “the look”: Mohawk haircut, shirt sleeves ripped off, scowl/I want to rip your head off, look at him. to the face and was a stocky but solid 120 lbs. Hell, he would have guessed he had a pack of cigarettes a day from the attitude he put off, we were drooling at the thought of having him play soccer for us. On the other hand, there was this skinny, quiet kid with a crew cut, and only 8 years old, he probably weighed less than 65 pounds. He looked like one of the kids most coaches probably prayed NOT to understand at first glance.

Looks like Tarzan, plays like Jane

It turned out that the Mohawk boy was not in very good physical shape, which is not a big deal, but he was also a maker of excuses. He was one of those who questioned every exercise and when he didn’t win an exercise (we do almost everything in a competition format) he had an excuse, he slipped, he started late, the other kid cheated, he had overate that day. On top of all that, he didn’t have very good body control. He could move pretty well in a straight line, but when he went to do a cutting turn it was like he was trying to turn the Titanic, he couldn’t do it. His core strength was terrible and his quickness was horrible. While there are some core strengthening techniques and moves we can do to improve this, even dramatic improvements would still have this player in the bottom 20% in this critical area.

Looks like Jane, plays like Tarzan

On the other hand, the shy and scrawny 8 year old seemed natural when we did our games/exercises that revealed core strength. During the mannequin relay races, he was not only able to lift and balance the mannequin, but also ran with it, while others did a wobbly trot. During the Towel Game, he always hooks his opponents to the cone, displaying excellent leg strength, natural leverage and heart. Even in the Game of Sumo he displayed excellent core and leg strength, tenacity and great natural leverage. The Deer Hunter game, in my opinion, is the best and most fun way to determine the “football speed” of a player. Soccer speed means the ability to start, stop and accelerate in tight spaces, being able to change direction and control your body to escape “chasers”. Our scrawny little 8-year-old excelled in this exercise, while our Mohawk was the first out.

make accurate assessments

The net is that you can’t judge a book by its cover and you HAVE to measure kids to reveal their soccer playing skills, not how fast they can run 40 yards or how many push ups they can do. How many times in a soccer game do kids actually run 40 yards? And how often are 40 times really accurate? The answer to both is rarely to never. What does a push-up test? Upper body strength helps linemen very little in their blocking, proper blocking places much more emphasis on foot speed, core and leg strength, as well as attitude and aggression. Some say you can’t test toughness, resilience, toughness or aggressiveness until kids put the pads on, that’s just not true. So according to those who believe you can’t get kids into positions until you put the pads on them for at least a week, they are VERY delayed. For them it’s a roll of the dice until the 2nd or 3rd week of practice. The Towel Game, Sumo Game, Dummy Relay Races, and to a degree, Deer Hunter all reveal these traits without using pads.

If you’re recruiting players, you have a huge advantage if you know what to look for and how to look for it. If you don’t have a draft, being able to assess kids correctly is STILL a huge advantage because you can assign positions sooner, put your schematics in faster, and not waste a ton of time switching players from one position to another. like a church cake social walk until you find the right spot for the poor confused gamer.

making it fun

If you can make the evaluation process fun for the kids, that’s an added bonus. The first week of practice, children and parents are paying close attention to the fun factor and to you. You can make some huge deposits into parents’ emotional bank accounts that week if you can make assessments fun. We use all of the fun evaluation games mentioned above during my team evaluations and they are all in my book. I have found that the exercises/games are so effective that we can get the children into the correct positions after the first practice with a 95% success rate.

The first game we are almost always significantly ahead of our competition, although we always practice less. An important factor has to be being able to make an accurate and effective evaluation and early placement of the players.

The assessment should be preceded by making sure you have very detailed descriptions of the requirements for each position on your team so that you know what skills you are looking for a best fit.

The Ultra in unusual but effective evaluation exercises/games

Here is a very interesting method that a high school uses to evaluate their players, Rabbit Catch. Bobby Bowden even thinks that there may be merit to this unique evaluation practice. Think about how closely this activity reflects what successful soccer players do on the field on game days. Note the 4 state championship rings in the hand of the high school head coach.

For those of you who are using my system, doesn’t it look a lot like our Deer Hunter game/simulation? Evaluate your players well and you will not only be way ahead of your competition, but you will have much happier players and parents.

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