Developing 6 v 6 Team Shape With One Word Commands

he following post is an excerpt from The Ultimate Youth Coaches Training Guide; A Complete 6 to 10 Year Old Developmental Coaching and Training Program.

This 750 page program is perfect for youth coaches wanting practices to start their soccer coaching education and it is also for those more advanced and experienced coaches wanting to train their players as best they can at these wonderful open minded ages for development and education of both the mind and body. Our plan is to help all coaches at whatever level of experience they are at. Find Out More

Three units of players working together as a team, moving around the field maintaining a shape. The difference between defensive and attacking shape is just the spacing between players and between units. Defensive shape is short and tight, attacking shape is wide and long. To help the players when you do this initially keep the same spacing between players and units as they move around the field to get the concept across. As they get better you can move on to increasing the spacing such as when we get possession of the ball and we need to have the players go wider and longer in their spacing between each other.

Set the players up in a shape and ask them to move around the field together maintaining the same spacing between each other. On command (sit) they sit down where they are. Check their shape. Have words to move them again. Words can be UP (up to 5 yards forward), DROP, SLIDE (moving to the side) OUT (a sprint, go at a quick pace together keeping the shape), between each word say sit and check positions again.


Progression: They have the ball and pass it back towards their own goal for example, or we have it and are moving it forward either with a pass or a player running with it.


Here in the game the players move up the field only up to maybe five yards in distance, edging out, waiting to see if we win the ball then they can apply the OUT call. It can also be when we have the ball and have passed it forward or run forward with it and kept possession, we naturally move up as a team to support the player who has the ball especially if it is a very forward player it has been passed to or one who has run forward with it.


Game Situation: We have the ball and have played it forward into the attacking third for example and kept possession. It can be a big movement forward of the team or maybe the keeper has kicked it long and we need to push out quickly.


The team sprint out together on the OUT word until you say sit or stop, they then stop moving and sit down and you assess their spacing between players and between the three units. As they get good at this, speed up the commands until they are moving around the field quickly and efficiently with correct spacing. Eventually you can say the different words and all they do is stand still not sit on the stop command so you can move them around the field at a faster pace working the transitions.


Game Situation: Here the opposition have passed the ball into a very wide area and we all move across the field.


Moving across the field, don’t take it literally at 90 degrees it could be diagonally in a game but for our practice you could have them moving across the field like this just to get the idea across. In the game the ball may have been passed wide in the opponent’s possession and we move across the field as a team to close down all the spaces around the ball to try to win it back.


Game Situation: They have the ball and are moving forward with it, maybe in a wide area.


Here the team drops back together recovering back to the goal. Again it isn’t all black and white here as to when this happens but a situation could be when they have the ball and are moving forward and there is no pressure on the ball so the player on it can pass it forward and maybe in behind our back players. To avoid this we drop back as a team behind the ball. Also we may drop deeper at the back to create space for ourselves to receive a pass back from a team mate when we have possession.


Coach calls the cone the team have to move towards, the cone represents a player in the opposition team with the ball, so the closest player to the cone has to be the 1st pressure player. The rest of the team work off this first player’s position.

Same principles as the one word commands and here they have a target to work towards.