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: As this group plays 7v7 and Rush Soccer's preferred formation for 11v11 is 1-3-5-2, we recommend the usage of 1-2-3-1.
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 be focusing on the 7 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: Regardless of the state of the game, all players should come off the field at the center line and 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. Promote the excitement of playing, and remember that kids at this age don’t need any type of warm up from a biological point of view, so routines like stretching are not needed.
During the Match: Games are a great coaching opportunity, but caution, don’t over do it, 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 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.
Team Photos: The Rush has a certain style of their pictures, learn it and apply it. Take a photo of your rotating starting 7 (4 in the back, 3 in the front), and a whole team picture to promote Unity.
Player First, Team Second: Similar to the European youth club structure, Rush encourages the player to be first before his or her individual team. 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.
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 kid departs with their parents or designated individuals, never leave a player alone after practice, among others.
OBJECTIVE: Focus On Technical Development While Sustaining An Enjoyable Environment.
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.
This age group is considered by many soccer schools the golden stage of technical development, based on an overall organized body and stability in growth from a biological standpoint that favors the adoption of new moves. It is important that the coach understands that by recommending a focus on the technical component we are not eliminating the development of the others, we are just giving it a higher priority and focus from a proportional standpoint.
Psycho-socially their self concept and image are important, they are less sensitive but still dislike failure in front of peers, what highlights the importance of coaching 4:1.
They begin to initiate play on their own, they want to play and are becoming more serious about their play. They are inclined more toward small group and team activities than their predecessor age group and can usually work cooperatively in groups of 3-6. Peer group attachment and pressure becomes more significant. Adults outside family are becoming even more influential.
This new capacity to collaborate with a small number of elements favors the development of passing. Therefore, the focus remains on motivation and self confidence, but the cooperation, commitment, and competitive components start gaining ground. It’s not a performance stage yet so let’s go slow, but there will be no sin if we start making a difference between winning and losing.
The span of attention is still short even if it has risen in comparison to previous years. Kids now have concrete and sequential thoughts and actions, they are beginning to think in advance of the ball and anticipate things happening. They have the ability to remember or follow more complex instructions and solve high level problems and guided discovery questions. They are developing the ability to focus and stay on task as well as understanding time, space, and collaboration with teammates. This is an evolution from the Micro Division stages, but keep in mind that their abstract thinking is still not fully developed, so when you coach make sure you’re not talking about too complex, hypothetical situations. Brief explanations, using visual, auditive, and kinesthetic channels (you want them to see it, to hear it, and to do it) are more effective. “Show me” are still two great words to use with these age groups.
Last but definitely not least, keep it FUN!
Safety is always very important, understanding it from a holistic point of view. Children needs to feel safe in their environment to open up and experiment. Pay attention to signs like kids with their arms behind their back that show disengagement or fear. Sometimes children are misplaced in environments that are too challenging for them. Remember, if children doesn’t feel safe, he/she doesn’t open up to experience, and if he/she doesn’t experience he doesn’t learn.
Preferred Training Methodologies: Focus on game based methodologies that integrate long free play periods, like Play Practice Play, and/or Analytical to Global. When you use the second method, ensure the global stages are proportionally longer than the analytical. Avoid having analytical stages as the core of your session, as we encourage a game based approach.
Highlight The Core Values Safety, Passion, Humility, Accountability, Tenacity, Unity, and Enjoyment!
So here is a Psycho-Social Cheat Sheet.
- Motivation: 4:1 Coaching Positive to Instructional Comments.
- Self Confidence: Remember that praising by the effort rather than the skill helps children develop a growth mindset.
- Small Groups Collaboration Capacity
- Competitive: Use competition in a developmental way, players can and should compete against themselves as well as others, they should display humility in victory and also accept that losing can teach us valuable lessons.
- Concrete/Abstract Thinking: This age group is more developed that the Micro Division in their understanding of abstractions, but still not fully developed. Short and concrete is more effective. Visual, auditory, and kinesthetic through demonstration.
- Respect & Discipline
- Enjoyment: Keep it fun!
Physical Fundamentals: Physically they are getting stronger, more endurance and power related to body size and muscle mass, motor performance includes a variety of motor tasks that require speed, balance, flexibility, explosive strength and muscular endurance; pace factor is developing well. Gross and small fine motor skills are becoming refined, children in these age groups are growing head to toe.
These boys and girls go through a period of stability in their bodies development until they reach puberty. These years represent a stage of motor coordination, that is more developed than the previous years, in which the kid was working on their segment development and basic motor skills.
One important thing you always need to consider is that they do not need to work on aerobic ranges for long periods, as aerobic capacity develops mainly as a metabolic result until puberty is past. Having your players work on pure aerobic ranges for too long will only create an excess of cortisol (the stress hormone). This will result in your child associating training with a stressful experience and wanting to skip it, so NEVER have children doing training like running around the field for long periods of time. NO LINES, NO LAPS, NO LECTURES
This way, the main physical components of the stage are to promote speed, reaction, spatial orientation, and coordination & balance. Add exercises that result in some safe physical contacts with others; Soccer is a contact sport, so we want children to get used to this, and remember our overall principles when planning: If you can do it though soccer specifics, is always much better!
Physical Cheat Sheet:
- Acyclic Speed & Acceleration
- Spatial Orientation
- Coordination & Balance
- NO Pure Aerobic Activities
- NO Pure Anaerobic Lactic Activities
Technical Fundamentals: The stability period mentioned above provides a wonderful opportunity to focus on technical development. That’s why this stage is commonly understood as the “golden stage” of soccer coaching. A strong technical focus in this stage is responsible of a major part of the overall technical capacity the player will have in the future.
Contrary to the Micro Division stage, you can focus on any technical skill now, just take into account your country's soccer government body regulations when it comes to heading. We recommend a limited number of repetitions and the usage of appropriate balls like volleyballs or even balloons.
Children emulate easily, so using videos of famous players performing moves, as well as cartoons to promote their imagination tends to have a great impact.
Tactical Fundamentals: Children this age have evolved from the Micro Division but remember that their capacity to understand abstractions is still not fully developed. Remember, as well, that Tactics has a foundation and dependency on psychological, physical, and technical development, and that this last area (technique) is the main priority of the stage. Tactically they are introduced to the 1v1, 2v1 and 1v2 roles of attacking and defending.
Both from a technical and tactical point of view, the Rush soccer player at these ages should be able to turn, dribble, shoot, spread out, create passing options, support the attack, create 1v1 or 2v1 situations and change the point of attack. In defense they should be able to protect the goal, steal the ball, make it compact, keep it compact, pressure, cover, balance and try to outnumber the opponent.
Obviously, when you explain these things, do it in simple, concrete way.
Recommended activities: Build the game for your players by having them learn to play from 1v1 to 4v4, and 7v7 scrimmages, passing through even and odd combinations. Small sided games 1v0, 1v1, 2v1, 2v2, 3v2, are ideal in this stage. Spend a lot of training time preferably in these lower numbers (4v4 or less), to sustain a higher level of repetitions and promote creativity. You can still use some fun games (annex I), just don't make these nor analytical activities the core of your session.
A. Ball Control: Expectations
Juggling & Tricks: At the conclusion of the U10 season, players should be able to perform all U6-U10 juggling expectations. Players should begin to feel comfortable on the ball. Requests to perform these skills should come fairly easy.
- Kick Right High: Kick the ball with your right foot as high as you can.
- Kick Left High: Kick the ball with your left foot as high as you can.
- Punt Right Distance: Punt the ball with your right foot as far as you can to a partner up the field.
- Punt Left Distance: Punt the ball with your left foot as far as you can to a partner up the field.
- Punt Right Off Bounce: Kick the ball with your right foot off the bounce as high as you can.
- Punt Left Off Bounce: Kick the ball with your left foot off the bounce as high as you can.
- Kick Catch: Kick the ball with your foot 3-4 feet in the air and catch. Alternate your right and left foot.
- Thigh Catch: Play the ball with your thigh 1-2 feet in the air and catch. Alternate your right and left foot.
- Scoop Ball for Height: See how high you can scoop the ball up in the air.
- Scoop Ball for Distance: Scoop the ball to a partner.
- 5 Kick Catches, Right: Kick the ball with your right foot 3-4 feet in the air and catch. Do this five times in a row.
- 5 Thigh Catches, Left: Kick the ball with your right foot 3-4 feet in the air and catch. Do this five times in a row.
- Head Catch: Head the ball straight up and catch.
- Feet Twice: Juggle the ball with your feet twice in a row and catch.
- Thigh Twice: Juggle the ball with your thigh twice in a row and catch.
- Head Twice: Juggle the ball with your head twice in a row and catch.
- Thigh Foot Catch: Juggle with your thigh then to your foot and catch.
- Head Thigh Catch: Throw the ball up in the air and juggle from your head to your thigh to your foot, catch.
- 3 Juggles: Juggle the ball three times in a row.
- Inside of Foot: Kick the ball with the inside of your foot and catch.
- Feet 3 Times: Juggle the ball with your feet 3 times in a row.
- Thighs 3 Times: Juggle the ball with your thighs 3 times in a row.
- Head 3 Times: Juggle the ball with your head 3 times in a row.
- Punt High, Catch: Punt the ball in the air with your right foot and catch it. Do the same only with your left foot.
- 2 Thighs – 2 Feet: Juggle the ball twice with the thigh then twice with your feet.
- Foot, Thigh, Foot: Juggle the ball from your foot to your thigh and back down to your foot.
- Bounce Kick 5 Times: On a bouncing surface juggle the ball and let it bounce in between each juggle. Do this 5 times in a row.
- 10 Feet Catches: Juggle with your foot and catch. Do this 10 times in a row.
- 10 Head Catches: Juggle with your head and catch. Do this 10 times in a row.
- 10 Thigh Catches: Juggle with your thigh and catch. Do this 10 times in a row.
- Feet 5 Times: Juggle the ball with your feet 5 times in a row.
- Thighs 4 Times: Juggle the ball with your thighs 4 times in a row.
- Head 3 Times: Juggle the ball with your head 3 times in a row.
- Head – Thigh – Foot: Juggle the ball with your head down to your thigh then down to your foot.
- Sombrero: Kick the ball over your head and behind you then kick it again with your foot then catch.
- Inside Foot 2 Times: Juggle the ball with the inside of your foot twice in a row.
- Bounce Kick 10 Times: On a bouncing surface juggle the ball and let it bounce in between each juggle. Do this 10 times in a row.
- High Kick, Thigh, Foot: Kick the ball over your head at least then juggle it with your thigh and back down to your foot.
- Head – Shoulder: Juggle the ball from your head to your shoulder.
- Head, Shoulder, Catch: Juggle the ball with your head then your shoulder then catch.
- Feet 25 Times: Juggle the ball with your feet 25 times in a row.
- Thighs 10 Times: Juggle the ball with your thighs 10 times in a row.
- Head 10 Times: Juggle the ball with your head 10 times in a row.
- ½ Around-the-World: Right foot, right thigh, left thigh, left foot. Continue around twice or 8 touches.
- 2 Left and 2 Right: Juggle the ball twice in a row with your left foot then twice in a row with your right foot.
- Head, Shoulder, Head: Juggle the ball with you head, then shoulder, then head and catch.
- Ball Up with Feet: Pick the ball up with your feet and juggle 5 times.
- High Punt – Foot – Foot: Juggle the ball above your head 5 times in a row.
- Thighs 2 Left, 2 Right: Juggle the ball with your left thigh 2 times in a row then your right thigh 2 times in a row.
- Donkey Kick-Up: Pinch the ball between your feet and hop to pick the ball up and juggle 5 times.
Footwork: At the conclusion of the U10 season, players should be able to perform all U6-U10 footwork exercises with relative ease. Encourage players to have fun with these skills and create new ones.
- Dribbling: Using any part of the foot to move the ball around.
- Foundation: Tapping the ball between your feet. Legs are bent, body is relaxed.
- Left Foot: Dribbling the ball using the left foot only.
- Right Foot: Dribbling the ball using the right foot only.
- Foundation 2: Same as foundation only add a job, ie. “freeze”, or “switch balls”, etc.
- Top Touches: Alternating (gently) touching on top of a stationary ball with the “ball of the foot” in a hopping motion. Must have a rhythm.
- Top Touches 2: Same as top touches only add forward movement to the ball.
- Top Touches 3: Same as top touches only pull the ball backwards.
- Top Touches 4: Same as top touches but first use the left only for a while then the right for a while. Hopping backwards while performing this move.
- Rolling: Rolling the ball with the sole of the foot in a sweeping motion across the body. Using first the bottom of the right then the left foot.
- 360 Inside: Dribble the ball in a full circle using the inside of your right foot than your left foot.
- 360 Outside: Same as 360 inside only use your outsides.
- 360 Sole: Pull the ball with the bottom of your foot in a full circle. Use both your left foot then your right foot.
- Circle: Work the ball around the standing foot. Alternate feet.
- “V”: Pull the ball back with your right foot, pivot 90 degrees, and push ball away and dribble away. Repeat with the other foot in the other direction.
- “L”: With right foot, pull ball back behind the left foot and touch with the inside of the right foot and dribble away.
- Cut: Cut the ball back with a “chopping” motion almost going 180 degrees to where you came from.
- 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.
B. Dribbling: Expectations
Shielding: The players should begin to use the proper shielding techniques on their own. They understand when to protect the ball from defenders and when to dribble. This is an essential skill that needs to be mastered at the older ages.
Avoiding: The players begin to avoid oncoming defenders with thought and proper techniques. The decision to turn away from defenders starts to happen automatically.
Carrying: The players should be able to carry the ball running at 75% of their top speed, using the proper technique. The decision to penetrate via passing, shooting or carrying the ball is introduced.
Attacking: The players begin to be comfortable taking defenders on 1v1. They understand there must be a change of speed, a change of direction and deception and continually work on these concepts. 1v1 attacking is a difficult skill and takes a lot of time to master, coaches must be patient with players and encourage them to take players on during games.
C. Finishing: Expectations
Instep: The players begin to use the proper technique when driving low balls on target. The players begin to strike flighted/lofted balls with both feet. They should be able to hit a designated half of the goal 1 out of 5 times from 10-15 yards.
Side Foot: The players begin to use the side foot on close range finishing by habit. This skill should be executed with relative ease by the conclusion of the U10 season.
Volley: The player can hit a volley with the laces tossed by a teammate from 5 yards away, 2 out of 5 times.
Full Volley: Players understand what a volley is and can throw the ball into the air (above the head) and strike the ball with the laces on goal, from 10 yards out 3 out of 5 times.
Half Volley: Players are introduced to the skill and understand what it is. Players can throw the ball into the air (above head) and strike 1 out of 5 half volleys.
Bent Ball: The players are introduced to the technique of how to bend a ball. This is a difficult skill, some players will have more success than others.
Side Volley: Players are introduced to the technique and can explain what the skill looks like. Players are not expected to do this with any consistency.
D. Passing: Expectations
Side Foot: Toe is up, ankle is locked, and the rest of the body is relaxed. Accuracy of pass is fairly accurate. The importance of timing and the weight of the pass are understood. This is a skill that must be mastered within the next few years of development.
Chip: Players are introduced on the proper chip techniques. This will be difficult to learn but it is important they are shown.
Instep: Players understand that driving the ball creates power and if asked they can show the basic technique.
Volley: Players can accurately return a ball tossed from a teammate 5 yards away with the side foot 3 out of 5 times and with the instep 1 out of 5 times.
Full Volley: Players can accurately return a ball tossed from a teammate 5 yards away with the side foot 3 out of 5 times and with the instep 1 out of 5 times.
Half Volley: Players are introduced to the skill and understand what it is. Players can throw the ball into the air (above head) and strike 1 out of 5 half volleys. No accuracy is expected at this age.
Bent Ball: Players understand when/why they would need to play a bent pass. Not expected to be able to perform the skill yet.
Side Volley: Players are introduced to the technique and can explain what the skill looks like. Players are not expected to do this with any consistency.
E. Receiving: Expectations
First Touch: Players understand the importance of the first touch and are fairly proficient with receiving with the feet. Controlling with the back foot so the body is facing the field starts to become a habit. Controlling with the thighs, chest, and head are shown and worked on.
F. Challenging: Expectations
Block & Poke Tackle: Players are shown and begin to become comfortable with the block and poke tackle and when to use each. Players are encouraged to be fearless and understand that playing defense is a huge part of the game.
G. Heading: Expectations
Very important: remember to use light balls appropriate for the age group (rubber, volley, or even balloons) and limit this training to 10 or less repetitions, ensuring adherence to your country's soccer government body regulations.
Players are shown the proper heading techniques and are able to demonstrate the skill fairly easily without pressure. Use the forehead, eyes stay open, bend at the waist; this starts to become habit.
Defending heading is talked about but not practiced.
H. Attacking: Expectations
Backs: Push up when ball is in other half of the field, go forward and get involved in the attack.
Central Midfielder: Understands that they must be active off the ball and always be an option for a teammate to pass to. Possess good passing qualities and not afraid to have the ball at their feet.
Outside Midfielders: Understand when to go 1v1 with defenders and work hard to get into the attack and to provide width.
Forwards: Are introduced to the “I” formation when their team does not have the ball, high forward pushes up on opposition’s last defender.
Individual Tactics: Players have a better understanding of when to pass, dribble, or shoot and can begin to make these decisions on their own.
Small Group Tactics: Introduce but individual tactics should be the focus at this age group.
Principles of Attacking: Players are introduced to support, width, and depth.
General: Players understand that everyone is involved in the attack. Understanding of when to pass, dribble, and shoot. Every player experiences new positions.
I. Defending: Expectations
Backs: Have the ability to man mark the opposing forwards. They do not sit back but rather push up and step into forwards.
Central Midfielder: Understand they are the “work horse” and must get forward as well as get back to defend.
Outside Midfielders: Realize this position requires a lot of running getting forward and back to defend. They must get behind the ball when the team is not in position.
Forwards: Forwards start the first line of defense. They get behind the ball when their team is not in possession.
Individual Tactics: Pressure, or first defender, on ball is immediate and under control. Begin to understand marking and specifically goal side marking. Players are able to block shots and passes. Players have an introduction to 1v1 defending. They are tenacious and patient.
Small Group Tactics: Covering defender is introduced and players are educated of it’s importance to the team.
Principles of Defending: Players know to get goal side when not in possession of the ball. Understand to put immediate pressure on the ball when they lose it.
General: Players understand the concepts of goal side and pressure. Players are fearless when attacking.
Nutrition: Players should be encouraged to bring water to each practice or game and was introduced to the importance of hydration.
Enjoyment: Players find the game fun and enjoyable, are not concerned with winning or losing, and enjoy playing with friends.
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.
Respect: Players acknowledge when a coach has addressed them.
Passion: The player must begin to develop a passion for the game. He/she attends training and games and does so because they choose to.
Sportsmanship: This player begins to understand being great sport both during winning and losing.
Fear: The player is not afraid of playing soccer. Players enjoy training and games.
General Game Knowledge and Rush Philosophies
- Quiet at half time while coach is talking.
- Participation in training and games.
- An understanding of the rules of the game.
- During a substitution, players wish their teammate in some shape or form a good luck gesture (hand slap). The bench is attentive and supporting to the players on the field.
- Equipment: Players and parents should be informed of the proper training attire and, as best they can, try only to wear soccer related equipment.