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 first two categories of this age group (U11 and U12) normally play 9v9, for what we prefer the formation 1-2-5-1, that allows a smooth transition for U13 to play full sided 11v11 with Rush Soccer's 1-3-5-2.
6-3-1: The 6-3-1 philosophy is in place to ensure that all teams are progressing and improving consistently, as well as experiencing the emotions of winning and losing through manipulating six wins, three losses and one tie throughout the year. If a team is winning all the time, they are encouraged to schedule a scrimmage against tougher competition to be sure they are being pushed. Likewise, if a team is in a losing slump, then a scrimmage is encouraged against an opposition that they should beat, to regain a positive attitude, develop a goal scoring mentality and create confidence in defense.
Core Values: There are 11 players on the field and so Rush Soccer has 11 core values as well. At these age groups, our players, coaches, and supporters should focus on 9 of the 11 core values as highlighted below:
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. At the younger developmental ages, players should be exposed to as much of the game as possible. 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 suggestion is to take the warm up opportunity to review a concept trained during the week on a quick activity. By the higher end of the age group, you'll find pre and post pubertal players, what represents the most complex part to administrate as their bodies experiment many changes. We'll explain in further detail below, but it is important to mention this as post pubertal players do need to warm up from a biological point of view, what was not needed in the younger age groups.
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.
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 9 or 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: Sustain A Focus On Technical Development While Gradually Increasing The Tactical Component And Supporting The Players As They Start And Go Through The Maturation Process.
Age Group Coaching Approach & Psycho-Social 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, we encounter players that are elevating their capacity to understand abstractions and hypothesis, progressively as they reach the higher end of the age group. Their span of attention also increases considerably. This growth should correlate with the introduction of more advanced tactical concepts. The focus on these is still relegated by the technical aspects but distances between the two are shorten as they grow.
A vital aspect to coach this age group relies on a deep understanding of the biological age of the players, which might defer vastly from their chronological age. Therefore, coaches might find players that enter pubertal stages years before some of their teammates. This creates a complex situation for both the groups that grow early and those that grow late. Women normally go through puberty earlier than men.
It is frequent to find players that have grown a lot in a short period of time. This growth is not always organized, what might result not only in the new adolescent suffering from physical pain and a declining coordination (they seem to be "clumsy"), but this also might generate a lot of stress on the player that's encountering a new, different body, as well as experiencing multiple hormonal changes.
It is not easier for the players that grow late, who tend to find themselves feeling behind, and physically weaker that their teammates.
The coach role is crucial in this stage to support them through this period, from all soccer, physical, and psychological points of view.
From a Soccer standpoint, the early ones might find physical advantages in their games and over-relay on them, depriving the development of other skills. This is a problem as the "advantage" is not sustainable over time when the late group catches up. A common case that exemplifies this is a player that becomes much faster athletically than his teammates so relies on solving 1v1's by playing long balls into space and running, instead of developing better dribbling skills. A good solution for the coach is to have this player practice frequently with older teams in which he doesn't count on these advantages, so as to find himself/herself in need of developing alternative solutions.
For the late group, it is important to support the player and help him/her recognize that the disadvantages he/she is experiencing are only temporary and not purely soccer related, but rather physical.
It is also fundamental that the coach distinguishes between real skills and this temporary physical advantage. Phenomenons like the relative age effect, that has shown that players born in the first quarters of the year have higher rates of success and continuity in their youth careers suggest that coaches tend to pick these players for their teams by confusing real skills with physicality derived from early maturation.
From a Physical standpoint, the key for the coach is to understand that he/she is dealing with two different biological stages. Post pubertal players should warm up and can already perform long aerobic and lactic anaerobic training with effective results, what is discouraged for pre-pubertal groups, as it was explained on the previous age groups. However, and as mentioned above, the players that are facing rapid changes normally feel "disorganized", what suggests training with a focus on their coordination, balance, agility, and reaction. Maximal strength should not be trained (apart from being irrelevant for the sport), only explosive strength and closer to the upper end of the age group.
As always, try to be as soccer specific as possible when you train these valencies.
From a Psycho-Social standpoint is important to pay attention to them and support them through these changes. It is frequent to observe mood changes. These players, especially the early group, enter into their adolescence, that is a complicated stage characterized by insecurities, sensitivity, a constant search and discovery of one's personality and in which our teammates and coaches have a strong influence on us. This highlights the importance of coaching 4:1.
From a Technical standpoint, all the technical gestures can be trained, always following your local soccer federation regulations about heading.
From a Tactical standpoint, as this component increases it's participation over the ages involved, the players evolve into collaborating in larger numbers, normally being effective in groups of threes and fours, what favors the progression into soccer concepts associated to lines (defenders, midfielders, and forwards).
Recommended activities: Build the game for your players, if the foundation of previous stages has been solid and effective, in groups of 3v3, 4v3, 3v4, 4v4, 5v4, 5v5, with scrimmages in the numbers they'll experience during competition (9v9, or 11v11).
Preferred Training Methodologies: Analytical to Global is a good approach in these age groups, that can be combined with some eventual OLI (Orientation, Learning, Implementation) by U13, once they play full sided. For the first method, we recommend to focus on the global stages, only using analytical activities for short periods of time and preferably at the beginning of the session.
Highlight The Core Values Safety, Passion, Humility, Accountability, Respect, Tenacity, Unity, Empathy, and Enjoyment!
A. Ball Control: Expectations
Juggling & Tricks: At the conclusion of the U13 season, players should be able to perform all U6-U13 juggling expectations. Refer to previous curriculum for details on U6-U10.
Feet 50 Times: Juggle the ball with your feet 50 times in a row.
Thighs 25 Times: Juggle the ball with your thighs 25 times in a row.
Head 25 Times: Juggle the ball with your head 25 times in a row.
2 Left and 2 Right with Feet x6: Juggle the ball with your left foot 2 times in a row then your right foot 2 times in a row. Continue until you reach 6 times without dropping ball or 24 touches.
2 Head, Shoulder: Juggle the ball twice with your head then your shoulder and back up to your head twice and catch.
½ Around-the-World x5: Right foot, right thigh, left thigh, left foot. Continue around 5 times or 20 touches.
Pick Up the Ball w/ Feet: Place sole of foot on ball, roll ball back and quickly move foot underneath ball to pop it up, juggle.
Pick-Up Ball-Pinch: Place ball between feet and quickly pinch feet together to pick ball up and juggle.
Pick-Up Ball-Scoop: Place foot behind ball and scoop ball up and juggle.
2 Left and 2 Right Thighs x6: Juggle the ball with your left thigh 2 times in a row then your right thigh 2 times in a row. Continue until you reach 6 times without dropping ball or 24 touches.
Feet 100 Times: Juggle the ball with your feet 100 times in a row.
Thighs 50 Times: Juggle the ball with your thighs 50 times in a row.
Head 50 Times: Juggle the ball with your head 50 times in a row.
2 Left and 2 Right with Feet x10: Juggle the ball with your feet twice the right and twice with the left continue until you reach 10 times in a row without dropping ball or 40 touches.
Head , Shoulder, Head x5: Head the ball then shoulder then head. Continue until you reach 5 in a row.
½ Around the World: Right foot, right thigh, left thigh, left foot continue until you reach 10 times in a row without dropping ball or 40 touches.
Outside Foot Pick Up: Roll the ball back, and then scoop it up with the outside of your foot.
Pick-Up Ball-Heel It: Place right foot beside ball, with heel of left foot hit ball against right foot, ball will pop up, juggle.
Feet 250 Times: Juggle the ball with your feet 250 times in a row.
Thighs 150 Times: Juggle the ball with your thighs 150 times in a row.
Head 100 Times: Juggle the ball with your head 100 times in a row.
Sombreros: Juggle the ball over and behind head, juggle twice then repeat until you execute the skill 4 times in a row. Use both feet.
Head – Shoulder – Head 6x: Juggle the ball with your head, shoulder, head for 6 times in a row.
Outside-Inside-Outside-Inside: Juggle the ball with the outside of right foot then inside of right foot then outside of left foot then inside of left foot.
10 No-Look Thighs: Juggle the ball with thighs for 10 times without looking at the ball, look straight ahead.
Around-the-World: Right foot, right thigh, head, left thigh, left foot. Repeat going the opposite way.
Heel: Juggle with heel for 3 times in a row, repeat with other foot.
5 Small Juggles L & R: 5 small juggles with the right foot. Repeat with the left foot.
Footwork: At the conclusion of the U13 season, players should be able to perform all U6-U13 footwork exercises with relative ease. Refer to previous curriculum for younger age groups expectations.
- Scissors: With the right foot, step over the ball from inside to outside, drop your right shoulder, then explode and push ball with outside of left foot in opposite the direction.
- Double Scissors: Same as scissors only use left and then right, before exploding into space.
- Out-In-In-Out: Touch the ball with the outside of your right foot, then the inside of your right foot. Repeat with the left. Continue.
- 1,2,3,4 Roll: Four foundations then roll the ball with the sole to your other foot.
- 1,2,3 90: Three foundations then pull the ball back in a “V”. Continue.
- 1,2,3, “L”: Three foundations and do an “L”. Continue.
- Inside outside: Touch the ball with the inside of the right foot then the outside of the right foot. Repeat with the left foot.
- Step Over: Step through the ball so your back is to the ball.
- Drag: Drag the ball with the inside of your right foot, and in a skipping motion, push with your outside the opposite way.
- Maradona or Zidane: Pull back with your right foot, hop/turn and pull ball back with your left foot. You should change directions almost 180 degrees.
- Cruyff: In one touch cut the ball back behind your other foot. Fake a shot before performing this move.
- Sole Turn: Put your foot on top of the ball and quickly turn 180. Keep body over the ball the entire turn.
- Sole Opposite Turn: Same as sole turn only turn away from ball.
- Fake Kick: Fake a shot then dribble on.
- Foundation 3: Foundation with a heel executed every third touch.
- Foundation 4: Foundation going backwards.
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.
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 80% 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. Execution of getting by the defender is not always successful, but the choice and intent must be considered. Coaches should encourage and praise when players take on players 1v1.
C. Finishing: Expectations
Instep: The players can drive a ball with accuracy and power. Their shot has minimal backspin and has a true flight. They should be able to hit a designated half of the goal 3 out of 5 times from top of the penalty box.
Side Foot: The players instinctively use the side foot on close range finishing. Players should be confident in using the side of their foot to finish.
Volley: The player can hit a volley tossed by a teammate into goal from 8 yards out. The timing is difficult, but the technique should be there.
Toe Poke: The player can hit a toe poke with relative ease. The player should have a purpose for doing this and know when and where to use it.
Full Volley: A player should be able to hit the goal 3 out 5 times after juggling 3 times with the last juggle above his or her head. The ball should enter the goal before it hits the ground from 8 yards out.
Half Volley: A player should be able to hit the goal 3 out 5 times after juggling 3 times with the last juggle above his or her head. The ball should enter the goal before it hits the ground from 8 yards out.
Bent Ball: The player should know the correct technique to bend a ball. He should be able to bend ball into designated half of goal from 18 yards out 2 out of 5 times.
Side Volley: A player should be able to hit the goal out of the air from a tossed ball 8 yards out. The player should be able to do this 3 out of 5 times.
Side Bike: Player should be introduced to this. Player should be able to hit goal from a tossed ball 2 out of 5 times.
Bicycle: Player should be introduced to this. The player should be able to hit goal from a self tossed ball 3 out of 5 times.
Knuckle: The player should be introduced to this. Player should be able to hit goal 1 out of 5 times.
Three Toed: The player should be able to hit the far half of the goal off a moving ball from an angle from a wall pass. This should be done 2 out of 5 times.
Over Spin: The player is introduced to this and knows the correct technique.
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 with out this basic skill. Approximately 3 out 5 passes during competition should be completed passes.
Chip: Player can hit a target with in five yards 25 yards away 3 out of 5 times. The ball has clean backspin and floats to its target.
Instep: Player can drive a ball within five yards 30 yards away 3 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 3 out of 5 times with out hitting the ground.
Toe Poke: A player should be able to toe poke the ball with accuracy 4 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 3 out of 5 times with out 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 10 yards away the player should be able to hit a person throwing the ball 3 out of 5 times.
Bent Ball: The player can bend the ball to a partner 20 yards away in a 5 yard area 2 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 10 yards away the player should be able to hit a person throwing the ball 2 out of 5 times with out hitting the ground.
E. Receiving: Expectations
First Touch: Player’s first touch is clean. Player can take any ball out of the air. The ball is with in playing distance of a yard after the first touch from a 25 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. Player’s first touch should have purpose.
F. Challenging: Expectations
Block Tackle / Poke Tackle: Player is comfortable with block tackle, poke tackle. Slide tackle and sweep tackle introduced. The right tackle is picked and at the right time. Tackling is done for a purpose and not done just to tackle. The player is not afraid to tackle.
G. Heading: Expectations
Very important: Ensure adherence to your country's soccer government body regulations about the minimal age for practicing heading.
Player is able to head off of punts and goal kicks with from the opposition as well as team-mates set pieces.
Defensive heading is introduced. Player knows to head ball high and wide.
H. Attacking: Expectations
Backs: Backs know that they are attackers when their team is in possession. They provide support for the attack.
Central Midfielders: They alternate pushing forward. They are good passers, can tackle, head and shoot long range.
Outside Midfielders: They should pinch in when ball is on the opposite side, and get wide as ball is swung around. They should also take players on 1v1.
Forwards: Understand the “I” formation. High forward pushes up on last defender. They should know how to check back and hold ball.
Individual Tactics: Player knows when to pass, dribble, and shoot.
Small Group Tactics: Players should be introduced to small group tactics. They should learn when and where to apply them such as overlap, wall pass, double pass, take-over.
Large Group Tactics: The player fits in with the team concepts.
Attacking Set Pieces (ASP): All set pieces are introduced. They should know the difference between direct and indirect. They have been shown a proper penalty kick and defending and attacking corners (where players should be).
Principles of Attacking: Players know width, depth, penetration, improvising, moving off the ball into space.
General: Players should face field. Introduced to 4-4-2. Players should also know three (3) different positions. Transition from defense to offense is understood.
I. Defending: Expectations
Backs: They should feel comfortable man marking and introduced to zonal defending.
Central Midfielders: They alternate holding the “pocket”. They try not to cross over each other. They should work hard and track their players.
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 know to get behind ball when possession is lost. They force the play in a general direction
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 introduced. Players know to put pressure on ball and provide first defender with cover. The weak-side players also know to pinch in.
Large Group Tactics: Team knows how to hold a lead. The team adjusts to gamesmanship by slowing pace of the game down. Team is taught to press when opposition is facing away; opponents throw in or sensing a weakness.
Defensive Set Pieces (DSP): The wall for set pieces is understood on how to build it. The same when in comes to defensive corners.
Principles of Defending: Players know pressure, cover, and balance.
General: Transition from offense to defense is understood.
Stamina is good. They should be able to run a 7 minute mile.
Quickness and Agility: Player is introduced to agility test.
Power/Explosiveness: Players are very powerful and explosive.
Speed Pure Speed: Athlete can run at a minimum 6.0 40 yd dash.
Flexibility Players are flexible and know how to stretch. (by what age group?)
Nutrition: Players have a basic understanding of nutrition and the importance of nutrition. The athlete also applies it to his lifestyle.
Resilience: Players get minimally affected by adverse situations and recover quickly. They adapt to obstacles that come across their path.
Goals: The player has established goals on 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 been introduced to 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 sport both during winning and losing. 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
- Players have taken the Laws of the Game Test and completed with a 70% accuracy.
- 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. They have attended the Captains Seminar and have read and signed the Characteristics of a Rush Captain.
- 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 Evaluations or Goalkeeper Evaluations completed and on file.
- Equipment: Athletes take complete care of there equipment. Training gear is established and consistently worn. Players wear shin guards unless it is a “no guard day”. Player’s shirts are tucked in, shoes are polished. Player should pass the Soccer Equipment Test with 70% accuracy.