Style of Play: The Rush Way to Play is based upon movement and activity by both player and ball. Possession-oriented does not fully describe how we play; attack-oriented does. Whether in possession or in defense, we are attacking. Rush players play with freedom yet understand the importance of responsibility and the balance between the two. Rush teams are flexible and adapt to varying circumstances. The Rush Way to Play represents both passion and purpose. Stating this style of play is very important as it affects our coaching curriculum at all ages.
Formation: The categories of this age group play full sided 11v11 with Rush Soccer's default 1-3-5-2 formation, but players and coaches are encouraged to train others as well, in order to develop their versatility, capable of adapting to different systems.
6-3-1: Even if these are performance age groups, the 6-3-1 still acts as a measuring stick. A team that's getting much better results than this is probably competing at a lower level than it should. Contrary to that, if the team results are too far below this record, it's probably competing at a higher level than it's prepared to.
70 Games: Rush believes that the cliché “the game is the best teacher” is a creed to live by. Playing 70 Games a year is our aim. This is a rigorous schedule; therefore, the calendar must be strategically thought out by the coaching staff. The 70 games is of utmost importance by this stage.
An intensity calendar has been devised to select peak times throughout the year. This calendar gives our athletes and teams time to recover and regenerate and other times to intensify training for an upcoming important event.
Core Values: There are 11 players on the field and so Rush Soccer has 11 core values as well. Highlight them all at this stage.
Playing Time: Playing time for any individual is completely at the coach’s discretion. Rush encourages that playing time at all levels should be equal throughout the season. Limiting team roster size will aid in increased playing time for all players.
Substitutions: When possible and regardless of the state of the game, all players should exchange courtesy with their replacement. This will promote team spirit and give confidence to the players entering the field.
Pre-game / Warm Up Routines: For this age group, the Rush Way suggests pre game routines that include a global body warm up, followed by an activity to review a concept fresh on the player's minds. Leaving at the end a few minutes for the players to warm up freely is also advisable. Keep the entire warm up period between 15 and 30 minutes.
During the Match: Games are a great coaching opportunity, but always respect the 4:1 coaching approach, and make most of your comments when off the ball and preferably in natural stoppages.
Half Time: Rush encourages players to analyze problems and discuss solutions on their own before coach intervention. Players should be given a couple of minutes away from the coaching staff to voice opinions and discuss solutions. The coach should then bring their views and knowledge to the group. The Rush Way expects our comments to apply the 4:1 positive to instructional coaching method.
Post Game: Once again, the Rush Way expects our comments to apply the 4:1 comments. Take the opportunity to promote core values like Humility & Respect when winning, and Tenacity & Unity when losing. Keep it brief and don't go on profound game analysis. Let both the players and yourself cool down and take some time to analyze the match objectively.
Greeting: Players are expected to greet the staff with a handshake for all local, national and international staff. The Rush staff across the country expect their players to shake their coaches hand each time they meet. Why?...respect, build social skills, break down barriers, learn culturally accepted behavior, the list goes on.
Practice and Game Attendance: Is optional for all levels of player within the Rush Organization. Playing other sports and multiple sports at the same time is the choice of the family and zero repercussions will be administered the coaching staff. Players who wish to become better and succeed within the game will attend all practices and games with the attitude of wanting to leave a better player. This is a reflection of our core value Accountability. The Rush Tutor Program promotes and encourages players who wish to push themselves the opportunity to practice with any other team within the club on any given day.
Acknowledgement: When a coach addresses a player during training or competition, it is important the player acknowledges. Communication is two-way.
Player First, Team Second: Similar to the European youth club structure, Rush encourages the player to be first before his or her individual team. For example, we encourage:
- The player to play with the adult team before his own team’s game.
- The player to train with older, experienced teams in place of his own teams.
- The player to guest play with an older team in place of their own game.
This enables players to be comfortable playing on teams that are in line with their ability regardless of age but based on performance in training and game days. Players are encouraged to train with higher level teams to accelerate their development.
Team Photos: The Rush has a certain style of their pictures, learn it and apply it. Take a photo of your rotating starting 11, and a whole team picture to promote Unity.
R.E.A.C.H.: All players should be aware of the R.E.A.C.H., Rush Equipment Assisting Children program and understand the importance of social responsibility. In a nutshell, this program provides the opportunity for our players to turn in their old uniform in order to donate to our less fortunate Rush clubs and players around the globe.
Coaches' Sideline Behavior: From the outside, the conduct of the coach on the sideline can be perceived as a reflection of the conduct of all coaches within Rush Soccer. Coaches are a reflection of their players and should conduct themselves with respect for the officials, the opponents and the game of soccer. Remain positive when at all possible but motivational throughout. Education and being a first class role model are the paramount reasons that a coach has been given the honor to coach for Rush. It is always important to remember this.
Parents' Sideline Behavior: Rush parents are expected to be positive, motivational and supportive to all players and officials. Learning the Rush chants is encouraged. Parents are expected not to coach from the sidelines but enjoy the experience of the game.
Players' Sideline Behavior: Players are encouraged to support other Rush teams and give their full-hearted support. Learn the Rush song; be as loud but respectful as possible and help educate the rest of the country in the way soccer should be supported, as it is in the rest of the world.
Risk Management: Accepting a coaching position means accepting responsibilities. Exercise reasonable care, have a first aid kit, take a CPR course, as well as make sure every player departs with their parents or designated individuals, never leave a player alone after practice, among others.
OBJECTIVE: Focus on Tactical Development, Adoption Of High Performance Habits, And Lead The Players In Their Specialization Stage
Age Group Considerations: We'll repeat this same statement for all age groups: When you coach a team or a player, the most important thing is always to understand who you are coaching.
By this stage, players should have a solid technical foundation. Their development is now directed to maximizing their strengths and managing their weaknesses. This is the key driver of specialization as a soccer player.
Coaches should focus now on developing their players' game understanding, so as to make the most out of the technical foundation already acquired. We do recommend having an alternative position for each player, as this favors their future versatility on the field.
In pursuance of developing game understanding, video analysis is highly recommended, complementary to training.
The same is recommended for team formations. The Rush Soccer default scheme is 1-3-5-2 but is positive for the player to experience others, especially 1-4-3-3 and 1-4-4-2 that are of very common use.
Unopposed training is discouraged by this stage, unless used for short period of times (normally at the beginning) and never as the core of the training session.
Teams should be training a minimum of 3 times a week, preferably 4 or 5.
Coaches might still find some marked differences in the biological ages of the players, but these should be less notorious as we get closer to the U18 age group.
It is very important to pay attention to these teenagers influence groups and their behaviors outside the field. One of the key aspects for coaching this stage is to support the player and encourage the adoption of healthy, high performing habits. Examples of these are: appropriate nutrition and rest, personal hygiene, warming up, applying recovery strategies, competitiveness, discipline, concentration, resilience, among others.
From a Physical standpoint, we should focus on the capacities that have the higher relevance in the game: Explosive Strength, Speed & Strength Endurance, Agility, and Aerobic & Anaerobic Lactic valencies are fundamental.
Incorporating Injury Prevention components to our training programs is also of vital importance. Elements of Flexibility, Proprioception, Core Strength, and Eccentricity are great ways of working towards such objective.
Warm ups are now a must do. We recommend routines that move from global muscle groups to specifics to start, followed by a second stage in which they perform an activity that intends to review a concept trained during the week. A third part, free for the player to prepare for competition on his own is also highly recommended. You will encounter players with very different routines. Examples are players that juggle, others that walk or jog slowly around the field, others that listen to music, etc. This is perfectly acceptable and respects the individuality of the player.
Cooling down routines are also highly recommended and encouraged. This is another component of adopting high performance habits. Passive stretching, raising the legs against a wall or a fence, ice patches, or a regenerative jog after the game are some easy, practical routines that can be applied. Choose wisely using common sense, respecting the players' preferences and considering their moods, especially if after victories and defeats.
Maximal strength, as in all of the other age groups, is still discouraged, mostly for it's irrelevance.
As always, try to be as soccer specific as possible when you train these valencies.
From a Technical standpoint, all of the technical gestures can be trained. Some skills that we frequently find technical flaws in by this stage are Heading, Crossing, and Shielding.
Technique is important but now is not oriented to the overall development of the player but from a position specific perspective. We have to be careful, however, about misunderstanding this statement. This doesn't mean that center backs, for instance, would only work on heading and clearing. Finishing in the opponents' box, for example, is a desired technical skill for all of the positions on the field, as players might certainly find themselves (even if only sporadically) in need of it.
From a Tactical standpoint, players should already be effective in multi-lines (or small sided groups) concepts. Playing out of the back is an example of a training topic that implies multiple lines to work together. As the players evolve, we want to include more players towards performing team actions.
As we mentioned before, coaches should focus now on developing their players' game understanding, so as to make the most out of the technical foundation already acquired. We do recommend having an alternative position for each player, as this favors their future versatility and capacity to adapt to different styles of play.
As previously stated, the same is recommended for team formations. The Rush Soccer default scheme is 1-3-5-2 but is positive for the player to experience others, especially 1-4-3-3 and 1-4-4-2 that are of very common use.
Recommended activities: Build the game for your players, if the foundation of previous stages has been solid and effective, at 7v7, 9v9, and full sided 11v11. At least once on a training week the team should play a scrimmage or perform an activity at 9v9 or 11v11 in 2/3 of the field.
Preferred Training Methodologies: Analytical to Global, as well as OLI (Orientation, Learning, Implementation) are good methodologies to be applied at this stage. For the first method, the unopposed passage should be brief, to better focus on the global stages, reducing/modifying spaces to demand higher technical proficiency and speed of execution.
A. Ball Control: Expectations
Juggling & Tricks: At the conclusion of the U18 season, players should be able to perform all U6-U18 juggling expectations. Refer to previous curriculum for details on U6-U15.
Feet: 1 ball between 2 players, juggle with each other using feet only.
Feet 1-Touch: 1 ball between 2 players, juggle with each other using feet only, 1-touch.
Feet 2-Touch: 1 ball between 2 players, juggle with each other using feet only, 2-touch.
Head: 1 ball between 2 players, juggle with each other using head only, 1-touch.
Head 2-Touch: 1 ball between 2 players, juggle with each other using head only, 2-touch.
Distance: 10 yards apart, 1 ball between 2 players, juggle with each other using all surfaces, no touch restrictions.
On-the-Run Juggling: 1 ball between 2 players, juggle with each other using all surfaces while running.
Italian Juggling: 1 ball between 2 players, half-volleying the ball to each other. 3-5 yards away.
Distance 2-Touch: 10 yards apart, 1 ball between 2 players, juggle with each other using all surfaces, 2-touch restriction.
Feet: 1 ball between 3 players, juggle with each other using feet only.
Feet 2-Touch Below Waist: 1 ball between 3 players, juggle with each other using feet only, 2-touch, keep ball below waist.
Feet 1-Touch Below Waist: 1 ball between 3 players, juggle with each other using feet only, 1-touch, keep ball below waist.
Heading: 1 ball between 3 players, juggle with each other using head only, 1-touch.
Heading 2-Touch: 1 ball between 3 players, juggle with each other using head only, 2-touch.
1•2•3•2•1•2•3•2•1…: 1 ball between 3 players, juggle with each other using all surfaces, a player takes 1-touch, next player takes 2-touches, next player takes 3-touches, next player takes 2-touches, etc.
Short - Short – Long – Head w/ Switches: 2 players on outside, 1 player in the middle, 1 ball. Using head only, juggle short, short, then long, player in the middle switches with player who played long, continue.
On the Run: 1 ball between 3 players, juggle with each other using all surfaces while running.
Footwork: By this stage, players should be able to perform all of the footwork exercises with relative ease. Refer to previous age group curriculum for the mentioned list of exercises.
B. Dribbling: Expectations
Shielding: The players should be able to hold the ball with relative ease. This skill is essential and must be an afterthought. The decision to “hold the ball” or get it off of your foot is made correctly.
Avoiding: The players should be able to avoid oncoming defenders with relative ease. The decision to turn away from pressure is executed cleanly.
Carrying: The players should be able to carry the ball with efficiency at 100% speed. The decision to penetrate via passing, shooting or carrying the ball is made correctly. Player can carry every other step and release a shot or pass in the same manner.
Attacking: The players are very effective on taking players 1v1. The dribbler is confident when the decision is made to go 1v1. The attacker is explosive, deceptive and dynamic. The when and where to dribble is made correctly. Execution of getting by the defender is not always successful, but the choice and intent must be considered. Not all players will be good at 1v1 Attacking.
C. Finishing: Expectations
Instep: The players can drive a ball with accuracy and power. Their shot has minimal backspin and has a true flight. For example, they should be able to hit a 2 yard area from 18 yards, 4 out of 5 times.
Side Foot: The players instinctively use the side foot on close range finishing. Their shot from close in hits a moving ground ball and air ball 4 out of 5 times within a 2 yards area.
Volley: The players hit a volley with accuracy and power. Their form is good and can hit a ball crossed from the flank with relative ease. Accuracy is more difficult as this is a more difficult shot then the instep and side foot. For example, they should be able to hit the goal from 12 yards, 3 out of 5 times.
Toe Poke: The player can hit a toe poke with relative ease.
Full Volley: A player should be able to hit the goal 4 out of 5 times after juggling 5 times with the last juggle above his or her head. The ball should go in a designated half of the goal and enter the goal before it hits the ground.
Half Volley: A player should be able to hit the goal 4 out of 5 times after juggling 5 times with the last juggle above his or her head. The ball should go in a designated half of the goal and enter the goal before it hits the ground.
Bent Ball: The should be able to bend a dead ball within one yard of the post 4 out of 5 times from 18 yards away from goal.
Side Volley: A player should be able to hit a designated half of the goal out of the air from a cross 12-18 yards out. The player should be able to do this 4 out of 5 times.
Side Bike: Player can hit a side bike 4 out of 5 times from a cross in the goal from 12-18 yards out.
Bicycle: Player can hit a bicycle off of a cross 2 out of 5 times on goal from cross 12 yards out.
Knuckle: The player should be able to execute a knuckle ball 4 out of 5 times in a selected half of the goal. The ball should be dead and placed 18-20 yards away from the goal.
Three Toed: The player should be able to hit the far post off a moving ball from an angle from a wall pass. This should be done 4 out of 5 times.
Over Spin: The player can hit the ball with over spin from a dead ball 3 out of 5 times. The accuracy is not as important as the power and the dip on the ball. The shot is from 20 yards out and is just on frame.
D. Passing: Expectations
Side Foot: Toe is up, ankle is locked, the rest of the body is relaxed. Accuracy of pass is nearly perfect. Considerations are made during the game on weight, deception, distance of pass, pressure from opponent, area of field, etc., for completion of passes. In the end, you can not survive without this basic skill. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 4 out 5 passes during competition should be completed passes.
Chip: Player can hit a target within five yards, 50 yards away 4 out of 5 times. The ball has clean backspin and floats to its target.
Instep: Player can drive a ball within five yards 50 yards away, 4 out of 5 times. The ball is struck with a lot of power. The ball still has a little back spin.
Volley: Player can pass a ball out of the air with accuracy both with the instep and the side foot. For example: 10 yards away the player should be able to hit a person throwing the ball 4 out of 5 times without hitting the ground.
Toe Poke: A player should be able to toe poke the ball with accuracy 5 out of 5 times after the first touch to a partner 15 yards away.
Full Volley: Player can pass a ball out of the air with accuracy both with the instep and the side foot. For example, 10 yards away the player should be able to hit a person throwing the ball 4 out of 5 times without hitting the ground.
Half Volley: Player can pass a ball out of the air with accuracy both with the instep and the side foot. For example, from 10 yards away, the player should be able to hit a person throwing the ball 4 out of 5 times without hitting the ground.
Bent Ball: The player can bend the ball to a partner 35 yards away in a 3 yard area, 3 out of 5 times.
Side Volley: Player can pass a ball out of the air with accuracy both with the instep and the side foot. For example, from 10 yards away, the player should be able to hit a person throwing the ball 4 out of 5 times without hitting the ground.
Three Toed: Player can drive a ball over 40-60 yards low on the ground with accuracy. For example, the ball should be able to hit a target 40-60 yards away within 5 yards, 4 out of 5 times.
E. Receiving: Expectations
Player’s first touch is exceptional. Player can take any ball out of the air with ease and minimal effort. The ball is within playing distance of a yard after the first touch from a 40 yard ball. All body parts are efficient and fluid during the control. The chest thigh, all surfaces of the foot and even the head are used. Receiving the ball is literally second nature.
F. Challenging: Expectations
Player can block tackle, poke tackle, slide, sweep tackle. The right tackle is picked and at the right time. Tackling is done for a purpose and not done just to tackle. All challenges are powerful and explosive. The player has no fear.
G. Heading: Expectations
Player is able to head off of punts and goal kicks with relative ease from the opposition as well as teammates set pieces. Player not only wins the ball, but keeps possession by playing the ball to a teammate.
Defending heading is clean and efficient. Player knows high and wide not only to clear the ball but often starts the attack on a clean transition from defense to offense.
Player can take off with both feet and constantly jumps off the appropriate foot on redirecting the ball.
Player can judge the area in where the player can meet it at its highest point early to win the space.
H. Attacking: Expectations
Backs: Backs can create the “Half Moon” out of back. They know when to pull and give depth. Defenders join in the attack 4-8 times per game.
Central Midfielders: They alternate pushing forward. They are good passers, can tackle, head, and shoot long range.
Outside Midfielders know when to check away and check back. They consistently collect the ball with the appropriate foot. They will periodically make runs to the opposite midfielder to create a 2v1, 2 to 3 times per game. Runs in the box off of flank play. OM should know three basic runs: when to check, clear space, and create 2v1 with other OM.
Forwards: Theoretically know the “curling run”, the “bent run” and the “flat run”. Fwd’s should create “I” formation. Forward should know when to show and when to pull away (checking).
Individual Tactics: Player knows when to go 1v1 and when to pass. He/she is proficient on the execution of the skills.
Small Group Tactics: Players should know small group tactics and when and where to apply them such as overlap, wall pass, double pass, take-over. All of these small group tactics are executed properly. Player knows all of the terms and the appropriate timing of each.
Large Group Tactics: The player fits in with the team concepts.
Attacking Set Pieces (ASP): All set pieces from the flank are in-swingers; touch step shot, benders. Corners are in-swingers; 6 inside the 6; players know the difference between a direct and indirect. They have been shown a proper penalty kick.
Principles of Attacking: Players know width, depth, penetration, improvising.
General: Players should face field. Introduced to 4-4-2. Players should know at least 2 positions fairly well. Can switch point of attack efficiently. Effective play in attacking 1/3. Team knows how to adjust play when a goal down. Transition from Defense to Offense is understood. Team and players can play from the mid third to the attacking third in a variety of ways. Team can play form back third to mid third fairly easily.
I. Defending: Expectations
Backs: Backs are strong, confident, and solid. They know when to track and when to pass on.
Central Midfielders: They alternate holding the “pocket”. They use best judgment not to cross over each other.
Outside Midfielders: They work hard to track and pick the right times not to track. They pinch in on the week side to create balance.
Forwards: Forwards start the first line of defense. They can channel the opposition attack at the coaches request. They transition from offense to defense immediately. They know when to stop chasing at the appropriate times.
Individual Tactics: Pressure, or first defender, on ball is immediate and under control. They are tenacious and patient.
Small Group Tactics: The line of defense is understood and executed upon request. Back line pulls when opposition is going backwards, when there is pressure on the ball and when the ball is cleared. Players understand the back line of defense and keep the entire team compact. The team understands condensing the field versus a trap. They pull at the right time such as when no pressure is on the ball or ball is going away from the goal.
Large Group Tactics: Team knows how to hold a lead. The team adjusts to gamesmanship by slowing pace of the game down. The team executes pressing very well while in opponents defensive 1/3. Team knows to press when opposition is facing away; opponents throw in or sensing a weakness.
Defensive Set Pieces (DSP): Team is proficient in organizing a proper wall in rival's free kicks, according to the position, distance, and profile of the kicker.
Principles of Defending: Players know pressure, cover and balance.
General: Transition from offense to defense is understood. Player generally can play one touch on the transition when necessary. He/she thinks about offence while playing defense.
Stamina is excellent. Athlete can run a 12 minutes two mile run. Running posture is natural and fluid. Athlete is agile.
Quickness and Agility: Player shows good results in agility tests.
Power/Explosiveness: Players are very powerful and explosive.
Flexibility: Players are flexible and know how to stretch.
Nutrition: Players have a basic understanding of nutrition and the importance of nutrition. The athlete also applies it to his lifestyle. Athletes understand the importance of hydration and apply this after competition.
Resilience: Players are minimally affected by adverse situations. They adapt to obstacles that come across their path. They normally show frustration as a sign of competitiveness but overcome it quickly to revert the situation on the next match and through hard training.
Goals: The player has an individual development plan.
Sociological: The player has a healthy approach to the game. He/she is competitive, but enjoys the game. He/she is intense, but smiles. He/she plays to win but honors sportsmanship above all else. Player has memorized, understands, can write them upon request and lives the Rush Core Values.
Players acknowledge when a coach has addressed them. The players have had a lecture on the Characteristics of Rush Players.
Passion: The player must possess a passion for the game. He/she attends training, shows up early and stays late. This player utilizes the tutor program. The player has a deep desire to grow in the game. Dedication, desire, and drive are consistent terms used for this type of player
Sportsmanship: This player is a great ambassador of the sport both during winning and losing. He/she is a great example to the younger athletes. This athlete leaves the game behind when it is over, makes no excuses for performance, and does not complain about the outcome.
Fear: The player is consistent in play. He/she is not bothered by a big game. Day in and day out the player performs relatively the same.
Tenacious: This player is tough mentally and physically. The attitude is selfless and intense
General Game Knowledge and Rush Philosophies
- Attentive while being addressed. Quiet at half time. Listens and applies requests during the event.
- The player knows Rush Soccer's Mission Statement;
- Captains understand their roles and are an example for their teammates.
- Participation: Athletes are not required to attend any training sessions. They attend because they want to.
- The team is on track with the 6-3-1 found in the Rush Way Philosophy.
- Player has had a Player Evaluation completed and on file.
- Equipment: Athletes take complete care of their equipment. Training gear is established and consistently worn.