Posted: December 12th 2016
How Many A-Side Should Kids Play?
Players just starting out in the game at 4 - 6 years old and even older players who have started the game later or haven't developed their skills for whatever reason...
Are very often NOT ready for 4 v 4 and definitely not 5 v 5 games. WHY? There is too much complexity, too many players, too many decisions, too many obstacles for them to make sense of the game and transfer skills from practice to playing.
Only the most confident, socially and physically dominant will get on the ball. They are the ones who will get more touches on the ball and therefore will develop faster - appearing to have more 'talent' when in reality what's happened is the format just gave them a better opportunity...
What young players REALLY need is the game simplified right down to 2 v 2. Players at 4 - 6 years old can make sense of the game and their confidence and skills will sky-rocket in this format as long as they are in a good environment and are getting good coaching.
In practice, 2 v 1's are great because they help players play and develop with the clearer option of dribbling, passing or shooting. this not only helps technical skills, but decision-making and confidence.