Beautiful game for youth palyers

PART 6Posted o n05/06/ 2013


Using simpli fied small- sided games in traini
ng rather than isolat ed physic al condit ioning
through laps and sprints and techni cal traini ng in
drills is a more integr ated approa ch to player develo
pment. It includ es the physic al, techni cal, tactic al, psycho
logical l and social elemen ts of the
real game and, most import antly, helps players to
develop game intell igence, , the most import ant factor
in footba ll.
There is a better transf er of techni
quethrough playing in games and the physic al
condit ioning is much morefootba ll-specific cific and intensein small- sided games.
All player s, especi ally young players enjoy
playing gamesmuch more than drills, which is hugely motiva
tional. .
All four aspects ofGame Intell igence – percep tion, unders tanding,
g, decisi on-making ing and execut ion
– are improv ed in simpli fied small-
sided games.
For all youngs ters theFUNinogames (3v3 with four goals) offer a superi
or menu of games and variat ions to cover
many import ant game situat ions and develop game intell
igence in attack, defenc e, transi tions and ball posses sion.

1. Ideally kids should play footba ll every
day, often without superv ision.
Just as in times gone by, street footba
ll, or pick-up games that happen natura lly are
a great enviro nment for kids to develop o n
their own without being over-c oached. . Altern atively, y, organi
zed activi ties either in school or at the club/a cademy, ,
will serve this purpos e.

2. Kids should train at least three times
per week for 90 mins.
Unfort unately y footba ll talent, like any
other talent, needs time and dedica tion. Ideally kids
should train regula rly and especi ally using small sided

3. Use games rather than warm-u ps/physical sical
traini ng/drills. lls.
Most coaches today recogn ize the need for
small sided games in traini ng, there are so
many benefi ts, see introd uction above.

4. Give players techni cal homewo rk.
Rather than spend your group traini ng time
working o n techni que, give the young players
techni cal homewo rk, such as wall-b all or other
exerci ses that they can play with the friends to improve
their first touch, passin g, shooti ng, dribbl ing etc.

5. Simpli fied small- sided games should correl
ate with their compet itions. .
It is critic al that the traini ng
is specif ic to the compet itions that the
childr en play. We recomm end that the traini ng
games have less numbers than their compet ition games, e.g. 3v3
traini ng games for 5/7-a- side and 4v4 for 8-a-si de. Also
they must focus o n age-ap propriate ate
topics, not just sized- down adult footba ll.

01. Exerci ses/drills ills o nly ly when
prescr ibed to fix a defici ency.
Drills /exercises ises have their place to correct
techni que and tactic s. We find it is
much more motiva ting for players when the coach helps
them to find any defici encies in their game and then
apply approp riate “corre ctive exerci ses.”

7. Variet y.
Players enjoy variety in their traini ng and
a good menu of traini ng games with associ
ated variat ions not o nly ly keeps it intere
sting but actual ly helps to reinfo rce skills and tactic

8. Repeat specif ic game situat ions until
lessons have been reinfo rced.
Usually a minimum of 5 repeti tions is
requir ed to consol idate learni ng of game
situat ions. It is import ant to give players this
time before moving o nto to a new topic. Through repeti
tion of basic game situat ions, players learn to read the game
and make better decisi ons.

9. Let players choose what they would like,
someti mes.
Giving players respon sibility ty for their activi
ties is very empowe ring to them and offers
a refres hing break from being always told what to

10. Progre ss the games as the players
achieve master y.
Once the players have master ed a given
situat ion, then it is time to stimul ate
them with a new challe nge or a progre ssion
of the same lesson they have learne d. Develo pment thus
becomes a virtuo us path of contin uous improv ement and succes

THE GAME IS THE TEACHE R!Posted inCoachi ng,Horst Wein,Uncate gorized d,Youth Develo pmentOPTIMAL YOUTH FOOTBA LL DEVELO PMENT CHECKL IST
PART 5Posted o n20/05/ 2013

There have been many benefi cial innova tions
in footba ll coachi ng and educat ion in
general over the last decade or so, but not all
coaches have been implem enting them. The genuin ely modern coach
who has the welfare and develo pment of the kids at heart
will endeav our to fulfil the follow ing
criter ia:The coach/ manager r shouldemphas ise develo pment more than result s!
He shouldknow and respect the rights and needs of
his players(see Horst Wein Model) at each age group
and also their indivi dual needs.He shouldhave a good knowle dge of the game
of footba lland the approp riate curric ulum for the
age group he is working with.He shouldact fairly and evenly with all the kids
under his careto help all of them reach their full
potent ial.He shoulduse words and actions of encour agement t
towards the players, creati ng an enjoya ble and friend
ly enviro nment for them to blosso m.He shoulduse less instru ction and more active learni
ng, empowe ring the players through giving them
respon sibility ty and welcom ing their opinio ns.
He shoulduse games more than drills in traini ng, so that the game itself becomes the
teache r.He shoulduse the Guided Discov ery method of learni
ngwith his young player s, employ ing more
questi ons/problems oblems which they must answer /solve for
themse lves. This ensures greater partic ipation n and attent
ion, deeper knowle dge of the game and greater retent ion
of lessons learnt, helping to create decisi on-makers ers o n the
pitch.He should be able touse differ ent games/ variables/pr les/progressions ogressions ions
in traini ngto keep his players intere sted and ensure
steady progre ss, always challe nging the player s,
but not overst retching ng them, so they develop in
a contin uous experi ence of succes s.
He will need a lot ofpatien ce and persev erance, bearing with the foibles of young growing
childr en, and allowi ng them to develop steadi
ly and natura lly. He will also need the
moral courageto defend his players against the pressu res
from the other adults who demand more than is
fair from the player s, especi ally with regards to
result s.
Below is a table compar ing an ideal
modern coach with an extreme example of tradit ional
coachi ng in an enviro nment of “Winni ng at
all costs.”
PLAYER -CENTRED EDThe player ’s innate potent ial is valued
Collab orative e learni ng with the coach
Players empowe red through involv ement

COACH- CENTRED DThe player is consid ered an “Empty vessel”
The Coach as the font of all wisdomPlayers are not as engaged
DEVELO PMENT FIRSTLong term develo pment strate gyRecogn izes the time it takes to develop
Model with progre ssive curric ulumChildr en are allowed to be childr enPlayers experi ence all positi onsAll players get a fair chanceMore rounde d, creati ve players
WINNING AT ALL COSTSShort term winning all import antMust have immedi ate results o n the
pitchThe next game is all that mattersThe adult game is forced o n childr
enEarly specia lization on to win gamesBigger strong er players get most playObedie nt compet itors but lacking in flair

HAS A PLANA comple te Model for Optimal Develo pment
Age-or iented curric ulumStep by step approa ch to coachi ngCovers all topics compre hensively elyPlayers can reach their full potent ial
A collec tion of hints, tips and drills
Not usually age-ap propriate atePressu red approa ch to winningTopics mainly related to winningTalent is often wasted
GAME-O RIENTED DGlobal Method (Games) for “open” skills
Integr ation of techni cal, tactic al, physic
al and cognit ive elemen ts of the game
Teachi ng Games for Unders tanding g (TGfU)
Simpli fied Games at the heart of traini
ngExerci ses for correc tion after the game
Greater motiva tion for players in traini ng
Greater transf er to the real game
DRILLS ORIENT EDAnalyt ical Method (Drill s) for “close d”
skillsSegmen tation of each elementCondit ioning using exerci sesGame usually as a reward at the endCondit ioning drills before the gameLittle motiva tion for players in traini ng
Poor transf er to the real game
GUIDED DISCOV ERYActive learni ngDialog ueEffect ive questi oningDeeper learni ng experi enceGreater retent ion of learni ngCreate Decisi on Makers
INSTRU CTIONSPassive Learni ngMonolo gueOne-way instru ctionsOften counte r-productive uctivePoor retent ion of learni ngCreate obedie nt robotic players
COACHI NG SKILLSKnows how to get the most from his
playersKnows his topics very wellModifi es condit ions/rules ules to suit his
playersKnows when his players are ready to progre
ssSkilled at asking questi onsUses a wide variety of stimuliGives players opport unities s to discov er
things for themse lvesCreates a healthy enviro nment to stimul ate
creati vity and game intell igence
COACHI NG SKILLSUsually focused o n winningFocused o n winning topics mainly
Usually does not use variab lesLess aware of his players progre ssDoesn’t usually ask questi onsOften limited and rigid topicsDemands obedie nce and confor mity to the
accept ed normsConsta nt instru ction frustr ates creati vity
in players
POSITI VE ENGAGI NG ENVIRO NMENTStimul ationGreat varietyEncour agement tProgre ssive – Success builds o n success
Motiva ted players
MILITA RY BOOTCA MPFixing “mista kes”Limited varietyPressu reGames and traini ng often not age-ap propriate
ateDe-mot ivated players

Posted inCoachi ng,Horst Wein,Uncate gorized d,Youth Develo pmentOPTIMAL YOUTH FOOTBA LL DEVLEO PMENT CHECKL IST
PART 4Posted o n11/05/ 2013


The concept of readin ess is very import
ant in youth footba ll develo pment. It is
import ant to recogn ize the stages of childh ood
develo pment when putting togeth er a progra mme of youth
footba ll activi ties. Unfort unately, y, in many cases we adults
involv ed in the game are impati ent
to introd uce young childr en to the adult
game and the adult way of traini ng.
For optimal develo pment in youth footba ll
the follow ing points should be consid ered:

1. The ideal compet ition struct ureswe would recomm end for optimal develo pment
are as follow s:Multil ateral games primar ily before the age
of 77/8/9 years = 3v3 o n four goals
(FUNin o)10 years = 5v511/12 years = 7v713 years = 8v814+ years = 11v11
Childr en younger than 7 still need to
spend a lot of time develo ping their Fundam
ental Moveme nt Skills, someti mes called the ABCs (Agili
ty, Balance and Coordi nation). ). Fun games with lots of
differ ent moveme nts, even without a ball are recomm ended for
this age group. These multil ateral games should
still be used in later years, but to a
lesser extent.
For childr en 7-9 years of age we
recomm end FUNino, our 3v3 game with 4 goals.

10 year olds play 5 –a-side and 11
and 12 year olds play 7-a-si de footba ll.

We highly recomm end that for o ne
e year, players at 13 years of age play
8v8 o n a pitch with the goals moved up
to the 18 yard line.
It is far better for childr en not
to play in a league compet ition until at
least 11 or 12 years of age. Many profes sional
academ ies do not play compet itive footba ll until the
late teens.
There are so many benefi ts to small-
sided games for young player s: more touches o
n the ball, more creati vity and skills exhibi ted,
more goalmo uth action and chances to score, more transi tions
from attack to defence and vice versa, simpler decisi on-making ing and
more repeti tion of basic game situat ions,
to name a few.
2. Delay 11-a-s ide soccer until 14 years
at the earlie st.
Contra ry to popular belief, the game of
footba ll is not a simple game. There are
many tactic al decisi ons to be made in the
complex adult game and having an age-ap propriate, ate, step by
step approa ch to learni ng and experi encing the game will
bear more fruit than rushing childr en as
young as 11 years of age, someti mes, into
the adult game. Also, childr en before the age of
14 usually haven’t experi enced their growth spurt yet and are
very small to be playing o n a full size pitch. The
distan ces young players must run o n
a full size pitch involv es too much anaero
bic activi ty which is unheal thy at this age.

The small- sided games above offer a far
more approp riate struct ure for childr en’s compet
itions. .
3. Multip le Compet itions instead of o
ne e long compet itive league per season
which can create all sorts of pressu res
from the adults, it is far better to have
short tourna ments, o ne e day events, triath lons,
pentat hlons and decath lons. Childr en benefit greatly from variety
and also from shorter compet ition struct ures. In general having a
less compet itive struct ure at the younger
ages reduces stress and enhanc es creati vity along
with many other develo pmental l benefi ts.

4. The right size pitch, ball and goal
for each age group.
In our hurry to have young childr en
play the adult game, we often force them to
play in the same condit ions, forget ting that they
are still develo ping childr en. Just imagine the unfort unate
11 year old goalke eper in the adult goal playing 11-a-s ide.
He may stand no taller than 4’01” and
still has to defend a goal 8 foot high
by 24 foot wide! Size 3 balls are recomm ended
for 01-9 years, size 4 for 10-13 years and o nly
ly from 14 years should the size 5 ball be used. Having
the right size goal makes a massive differ
ence to the young player s. We recomm end
4x2m goals for 5 a side and 6x2m goals for
7 and 8-a-si de footba ll.
5. Address the relati ve age-ef fect.
Many studies like the o ne e below
confirm that across all elite sports, childr en born
early in the sporti ng year have a distin ct
advant age over those born later in the year. In elite
footba ll, early born players are 4 times more likely to succeed
than late-b orns.

Usuall y, the simple st and most effect
ive way to address the RAE, is to have
non-co mpetitive ive game struct ures up until the age
of at least 11 or 12 and ideally until the mid-te
ens. This way, when winning is less import ant than develo pment,
all players are given a fairer chance to
play and more equal access to quality traini ng.

01. Include multil ateral compet itions, , not
just footba ll-specific. cific.
Young footba llers, even up to the early
teens are still develo ping their Fundam ental Moveme
nt Skills (FMS) someti mes called ABCs, (Agili ty, Balance
and Coordi nation). ). Includ ing multil ateral games, with differ
ent moveme nt patter ns will help to establ ish these fundam
ental skills, along with the footba ll specif
ic skills. In traini ng multil ateral activi ties
should make up a good propor tion of the overall
progra mme, as much as 60% at 01 years of age,
then 10% less for each succes sive year.

The above struct ural consid erations ns are
already bearing much fruit across Europe and many countr
ies have moved closer to the ideal game struct ures
recomm ended here with non-co mpetitive ive small- sided games becomi
ng ever more popula r.Posted inHorst Wein,Philos opy,Small Sided Games,Uncate gorized d,Youth Develo pmentHorst Wein o n How To Develop The
Best Youth Soccer PlayersPosted o n06/03/ 2013

Interv iew with Dianne Scavuz zo ofsoccer .com
Feb 11, 2013
Youth Soccer News: Legend ary Coachi ng Mentor
Horst Wein o n Improv ing Youth Soccer Develo
pment in America
“When you do what you have done always,
you will never reach any furthe r” – Horst

Consid ered a coach for the world’s best
coache s, Horst Wein has consul ted for
FC Barcel ona, Arsena l, Inter Milan, Sunder
land, Leeds United, Atleti co Bilbao, Villar eal, Real
Socied ad, Bayer Leverk usen, VFB Stuttg art, Schalke 04,
Mainz 04, St Pauli, TSG Hoffen heim, Deport iva Cali, Peñarol
Montev ideo, Pumas, C.Amer ica, Nacion al Montev ideo, Univer sidad Católi
ca, Liga Univer s, FC Adelai deandFC Kenkre.
Wein has also worked with the Nation al
Federa tions of Englan d, Scotla nd, Spain, Italy,
Austri a, German y, Russia, Estoni a, Sweden, Denmar k,
Finland Argent ina, Mexico, Urugua y, Colomb ia, Chile, Peru, Ecuado
r, Venezu ela, Panama, Austra lia, India and Singap ore. I
t might have been easier if I listed
the Federa tions Horst has not helped.
Player center ed approa ch to coachi ng
youth soccer that puts the child first … Keeping
it FUN and allowi ng a guided discov ery approa
ch for real player develo pment … Launch ing a renais
sance of street footba ll – these are all more than buzz
words for Wein.
Horst Weinis o ne e of the foremo st
mentors of top coaches in the world, having worked
in over 50 countr ies around the world. In the
last 25 years he has mentor ed or influe nced over
11,000 soccer coache s, focusi ng o n presen ting an age-ap
propriate, ate, progre ssive traini ng program for
young player s. Wein has also held coachi ng
assign ments in five Olympic sports, been a lectur er
at numero us instit utions and footba ll federa tions, and
was Direct or of the Sports Depart ment of the Organi zing
Commit tee of theXX Olympi ad.
Wein is the author of 34 sports books.Develo ping Youth Footba ll Players, has sold more than 100,000 copies and
has been select ed as the offici al textbo
ok of both theSpanish Footba ll Federa tionand theFootba ll Federa tion of Austra lia.
As an outspo ken advoca te of a
more child- centered ed approa ch to soccer, Wein
has spoken widely of “game intell igence” ” and the
need for major changes in youth soccer. “It is not suffic
ient to teach your players well,” he has said, “it’s essent ial
for future succes ses to prepare them better
than others .”
Wein shares this passion for youth player develo
pment and tells us what he believ es is
necess ary to prepare youth soccer players to succee d.

Diane Scavuz zo: What is wrong with Americ
an youth soccer?
Horst Wein:One of the proble ms in Americ an
youth soccer is our young players are not playing
small- sided games. Small sided games should be played that
correl ate with their abilit ies. This would solve many proble
ms the Americ an youth is facing nowada ys.

There are many other proble ms, includ ing
the over use of exerci ses, a lack of
variety in drills and traini ng as well as the
the issue that players are not made to feel compet ent
in traini ng and during games at each stage of develo pment.

Most of these proble ms are not even
yet consid ered. The introd uction of 3v3 footba
ll for the younger players under 10 would become a
great starti ng point for Americ an Soccer.

Diane Scavuz zo: Why does Americ an youth
soccer have these proble ms? Is it the size
of the countr y? The youth clubs turning soccer into
a busine ss? A lack of leader ship?
Horst Wein:The size of the country or the pool
of players is not the most import ant factor.
Howeve r, with over 24 million people playing soccer in
Americ a, it is time that this very highly develo ped
country produc es players who are capable of compet ing with the
best in the world o n the highest
Youth footba ll in the U.S. is by
far too compet itive and this is no doubt
a big contri buting factor in holding back develo pment
in Americ a.
It is causing more premat ure drop-o uts
from the game than in any other countr y,
as its struct ure is not child- like. Childr en
are forced to play like adults. Their vital needs are not
respec ted at all.

While many youth clubs or academ ies are
run profes sionally ly in Americ a, this in
itself does not solve a major issue. It is what
program these academ ies use to train the childr en.

Soccer is not made “a la medida del niño” (to the measure of the child) in
the USA; it is a miniat ure game of
adult soccer.
Diane Scavuz zo: Why has this happen ed?
Have Coaches lacked the proper traini ng?

Is the problem the Americ an soccer culture
which grew up o n fast foods and immedi
ate success in other sports?
Horst Wein:America is a relati vely new soccer countr
But even with countr ies with more than
100 years of tradit ion there is a huge
need to educate coaches and parents o n a new,
more holist ic and game-i ntelligent gent approa ch to develo
ping young footba ll player s.
The most import ant human muscle has been
forgot ten comple tely. In the future, Americ ans
have to consid er soccer more a game of knowle
dge – a cognit ive game instead of a physic al
There may be unique pressu res in Americ
an soccer as many parents see sports schola rships
as a ticket to future success and a way of
saving vast sums of money o n college fees.

Also there can be an over-e mphasis s
o n athlet icism, streng th and speed.

In the modern game of footba ll these
talents have become less import ant, being replac ed
by greater skill and especi ally by game intell igence.
It is critic al to consid er the
brain as the greate st power o n the
soccer field. o ne e kg of muscle weight counts
less than 1 mg of brain tissue.
If the natural compet itiveness, ess, athlet icism,
and creati vity of Americ an kids were harnes
sed in a more optimal develo pment model, then America
would truly arrive o n the world stage of soccer in
15 years.
Diane Scavuz zo: Can you tell me who
you think does a great job of player develo
Horst Wein:Any coach who realiz es the need for
an age-ap propriate, ate, player -centered red model of
develo pment will make a signif icant contri bution to
the young soccer player.
Many people involv ed in youth soccer in
America have realiz ed the import ance of small-
sided games, but it has to be assured that these
simpli fied soccer games are used approp riately. y.

Without an optimal develo pment model and approp
riate youth compet itions actual ly in force, the
youth footba ll struct ure in America does not help.
Instead it can do more harm to the young player s.

The proof of this is Americ a’s youth
soccer drop-o ut rate, which is the highest (in
percen tage) in the world.
Why? Young people don’t feel capable of playing
a game which is not design ed for their
physic al and mental capaci ties.
The introd uction of 3v3 footba ll for
the younger players under 10 would be a great
starti ng point for Americ an Soccer, as everyb ody
discov ers after a few months the many benefi ts of
playing the FUNiño game. It would solve many proble ms the Americ
an youth is facing nowada ys, such as
obesity and need for exerci se and to be
with friend s. There is a chapter o n the
many benefi ts in my digital book ebeautifulga Your readers may also downlo ad a
list of 100 benefi ts from working with my
Diane Scavuz zo: What specif ically could we
adapt and modify?
Horst Wein:America could use an optimal develo pment model,
such as my Spanish Youth Footba ll Develo pment
Model which has been in force for 27 years.

This model for youth player develo pment includ
A. Struct ure (Compe titions) s)
Non-co mpetitive ive (no league s) until 14
years of age
7-9 years of ageFUNiño(3v3)
10 years of age 5v5 soccer
11-12 years of age 7v7 soccer
13 years of age 8v8 soccer
14+ years of age 11v11 soccer
B. Style (Coach ing Style)
Player -centered red rather than coach- centered ed

Guided -discovery very rather than instru ction

C. Substa nce (Curri culum)
Game Intell igence for all ages
Games- oriented ed traini ng rather than drills

Simpli fied games in traini ng to correl
ate with the compet itive games for each age
Diane Scavuz zo: How can Americ an parents
improve soccer player develo pment in the USA? What
can parents do better?
Horst Wein:Parents need to realize that young people have
enough pressu res o n them in life and
need to be able to experi ence the game of
soccer footba ll without interf erence from adults.

Diane Scavuz zo: Do you have a favori
te team to watch?
Horst Wein:I enjoy watchi ng teams that play with
the ball and not against it, that play constr
uctively ly and contri bute to the beauti ful game.
Teams that play in such a way exhibit Game Intell igence
as well as creati vity and indivi dual flair.

Diane Scavuz zo: What has been your greate
st challe nge?

Horst Wein:My greate st challe nge has been to
convin ce all people in soccer around the world
that the game of footba ll for childr en should
be like their shoes – it should fit them perfec tly.Most
st adults are impati ent to have childr en play the adult
game of 11v11 instead of allowi ng them
to follow a natural course of develo pment and
enjoym ent of the game. The best players will come
from such a natural struct ure.
My partic ular mission for almost 30 years
now has been to create a model of develo
pment which will allow all young players the chance to
reach their full potent ial in the game of soccer, whatev
er that may be. I believe that I have created a model
that will not o nly ly give each
child a chance to develop optima lly, but o
ne e that is also fair to everyo ne so
that no talent goes to waste and everyo ne involv ed
in the game has a positi ve contri bution to make.

The Beauti ful Game is not just about
winnin g.
It is about using soccer as an import
ant tool to form the charac ter of the
young person, to transm it import ant life skills and
to develop future citize ns. This unfort unately y doesn’t happen
when young people are forced to play a kind of soccer for
which they are not yet ready. They are
forced to play the too-co mplex and too-di fficult
t game as adults, but they are unable to unders
tand it and solve the proble ms which have to be
resolv ed.
All over the world kids are forced to
play as adults, but 20-30 years ago they played
o n the street like kids. So it’s time to
return to nature (as the great philos pher
Jean Jacques Rousse ausaid) to benefit everyo ne and to develop
valuab le citize ns.
All over the world young people play soccer
focused o n a centra lized goal. This way
their percep tion skills are getting dimini shed, and with
time they obtain a “tunnel vision” which is detrim ental for
high perfor mance soccer. That is why I recent ly have re-lau
nched my unique mini-s occer program which is
played with four goals and 3 players per team.
This new program called FUNiño is consid ered in Germany
and Spain as “The Renais sance of Street Footba ll.”

On October 31,Arrigo Sacchi, direct or of Italian Soccer, recomm end
that all clubs in theSerie Aoffer this game and its 32 variat ions
for the kids under 10. Today it’s starti ng
to conquer the world – German y, Italy and Spain
have used it for many years. The coach of
Xavi Hernan deztold me that he used it with Xavi
some 24 years ago.
We call FUNiño “The Beauti ful Game for
kids,” as it is design ed specif ically for
childr en under 10 years of age. We believe it
will make a major global contri bution to youth footba ll
develo pment. FUNiño can cause a major breakt hrough in the thinki
ng of youth footba ll coaches and introd
uce a more player -centered, red, age-ap propriate ate
style of coachi ng.
Diane Scavuz zo: What are yout though ts
o n Jurgen Klinsm ann…
Horst Wein:Jurgen Klinsm ann is a bright coach who
told us that soccer is o ne e of
the less develo ped and invest igated sports …. Klinsm

Diane Scavuz zo: Thank you for sharing your
though ts and wisdom with our reader s.
Posted inCoachi ng,Horst Wein,Youth Develo pmentThe Positi onal Attack – The Beginn ing
of Constr uctive PlayPosted o n28/07/ 2012
As Euro 2012 drew to a climac tic
conclu sion, someth ing remark able emerged from this
tourna ment, finall ly Europe an footba ll had awaken
ed to the value of posses sion footba ll. Even Italy,
with their classi cal counte rattacking king style began to retain the
ball and build constr uctively. ly. In their
quarter final game against Englan d, they had 67%
posses sion and even shaded the master s, Spain in
the first half of the final.
What was very notice able as the tourna
ment wore o n was that teams that resort
ed to the long-b all tactic, from the goalke eper
and defend ers, Ireland and England amongst others, had an early
exit and thankf ully the two teams who tried to keep the
ball and play footba ll reached the final.
Ultima tely, the masters emerged victor ious, vindic ating
The Beauti ful Game and constr uctive posses sion footba
ll, with their histor ic third consec utive major intern ational
l trophy in 4 years.
The Positi onal Attack o nline line Book
Now Availa bleclick here
In order to keep posses sion of the
ball, their must be a culture of keeping the
ball and playing patien tly and constr uctively. ly. Then
there must be a specif ic traini ng progra mme to
achieve high levels of techni cal and tactic al skill based around
the fundam ental princi ple of keeping the
ball, contro lling the game and playing constr uctive
attack ing footba ll.
Great posses sion footba ll must begin at
the back, if the goalke eper and defend ers
learn to be comfor table o n the ball and
to pass constr uctively, ly, this sets the tempo for the
rest of the team. Many restar ts begin with the goalke eper,
and today keepers use their feet 01 times
more than they did a few years ago.
Horst Wein has just releas ed this new
o nline line book to help coaches teach The
Positi onal Attack – playing out from the back:

Buildi ng play from the back – a
coachi ng manualTrain your defend ers to initia te attack
ing moves, safely and confid entlyHelp your back four and goalke eper to
become comfor table o n the ball
Retain more posses sion especi ally from restar
In the modern, game of footba ll based
o n contro lling the game through posses sion,
the best teams are capable of playing constr uctively ly
from the back. This allows them to enjoy more posses sion
as the keeper and back four retain the ball rather than launch
it high and long up-fie ld where it
has to be won again.
Horst Wein brings his unique Game Intell igence
approa ch to coachi ng The Positi onal Attack
includ ingSimpli fied Gamesandguided discov ery questi onsthat will help your players to learn, unders
tand, practi ce and master this critic al aspect
of constr uctive posses sion footba ll.

The Positi onal Attack o nline line Book
Now Availa bleclick here

Includ es:An introd uction to The Game Intell igence
approa ch to coachi ng9 progre ssive simpli fied games with 20
variat ions to coach The Positi onal Attack
Guided Discov ery questi ons for deeper unders
tanding g and better retent ionTactic al Rules for The Positi onal Attack
Intell igent passing
Click o n the image below to find
out more...
Posted inCoachi ng,Horst WeinMini Footba ll gets a makeov er –
introd ucing…Posted o n08/04/ 2012
Horst Wein’s ground -breaking ing develo pment game
Mini Footba ll has been around for a long
time now. The basic game of 3v3 with 4 goals
has stood the test of time as a quantum leap in
youth footba ll develo pment, being used in traini ng for some
of the top clubs in the world.
Having four wide goals immedi ately introd uces
width and helps to prevent the famili ar swarmi
ng at the younger age groups. Also having two goals
to attack with three defend ers means that o ne e
goal is usually less-d efended, d, which means there is always a
better option availa ble. Both of these factors
encour age young players to look before they act
and to think before they execute – so game intell
igence is introd uced natura lly from the earlie st ages.

Howeve r, now in 2012, Mini Footba ll
has grown from a handful of games using the
basic set-up to a comple te progra mme which includ
es 28 offici al games with 35 variat ions, and also
24 prepar atory/correc corrective tive games. As we are about to launch
this new progra mme of develo pment for
7-9 year olds, we figured a new name to
reflect better its standi ng in world footba ll develo
pment was necess ary and we are deligh ted to announ
ce this whole new progra mme – introd ucing…

The Beauti ful Game for Kids

As you may have figured out is the abbrev iated version ofFutbol a la medida del Nino, “footb all design ed for childr en.”

We believe that young childr en all round
the world with a passion for footba ll have
been waiting for over 150 years, since the incept ion
of the game, for a game that suits perfec tly, their
mental and physic al requir ements and their specif ic needs as
childr en, summed up in o ne e
word – FUN. If Nature were to design a
footba ll game, much like Street Footba ll of old,
it would come up with – the first age-ap propriate ate game progra
mme specif ically design ed to meet the needs
of young player s, boys and girls, under 10 years
of age. We hope that this holist ic, game-c entred approa
ch will give millio ns of childr en around the world the
most positi ve start to a lifeti me
of enjoyi ng, as kids, The Beauti ful Game,
just as do the best players in the world!

The progra mme is the result of 27
years of innova tion, practi ce and contin uing
improv ement and is part of the Horst Wein Youth
Footba ll Develo pment Model, which is the offici al textbo
ok of the Spanish Footba ll Federa tion since 1993 and is
used by FC Barcel ona, Athlet ico Bilbao
and many top clubs around the world.
This unique modern coachi ng progra mme includ
es:A player -centred ed approa chto coachi ng, where the child comes first.
A game-c entred approa ch, for optima l, holist ic learni ng.
(No more lines, laps and lectur es). All aspects
of the game: techni cal, physic al, tactic al and
game intell igence are develo ped in an integr ated manner
for greater transf er and effect.A Guided -Discovery very approa chto learni ng, where the coach stimul ates
the player s’ game intell igence through effect ive
questi oning.
The progra mme is design ed for all
ability levels, but encour ages inclus ivity.

has many advant ages over other small sided
games especi ally 4v4 and 7v7. Horst’s unique use
of simpli fied games that are approp riate to each
age group, both for their compet itions and their traini ng,
makes this progra mme far superi or to the tradit ional offeri
ngs for youth develo pment in footba ll.
In total, counti ng the 28 offici al games,
their 35 variat ions and the 24 prepar atory games
the comple te progra mme effect ively includ es 87 games
to keep both coaches and their players stimul ated throug hout, while
also coveri ng all the import ant aspects
of the game for this develo pmental l stage.

The Game is the Teache r!
(along with the other elemen ts of the
Develo pmnent Model) has been proven to nurture intell
igent, creati ve player s, as witnes sed by the
emerge nce of the home-g rown talent o n displa y,
recent ly in the Europa Cup by Athlet ico Bilbao. In 2011
three young Mexican boys who played this game
went o n the win the U17 World Cup.

is destin ed to become the number 1
develo pment game for young players of this age
around the world in the coming years.
- Give your young players the chance todiscov er the magic of The Beauti ful
Gamein a unique game progra mme design ed
especi ally for them
- Enjoy the“renai ssance of street footba ll”

- Be the best coach you can be,
creati ng a player- centred enviro nment where young
talent flouri shes.
- Introd uce your players to game intell
igence, , and establ ish their techni que through
games not drills
- A comple te easy-t o-use manual to
unlock the enormo us creati ve potent ial of
young childr en…
Everyt hing needed for coaches and players to
get started o n the right road to a
great future in footba ll:
28 offici al games (With 35 variat ions)
24 Prepar atory/correc corrective tive games

Over 40 colour illust rations s
Easy to read and implem ent
A season progra mme of compet itions
Games and tests your players will love
A clear guide to coachi ng this age
The Benefi ts of abridg ed…
recogn izes that playing is like breath ing
to childr en – necess ary for their physic
al and mental well-b eing!
Player Benefi ts:
Optimal pitch size and player number s, 4
goals out wide and simple rules means:The game is easy to unders tand and
improve atExperi encing success brings greater confid ence, enjoym
ent and motiva tionMore touches o n the ball, more goals,
more 1v1s and 2v1sLots of dribbl ing, then when they get
tired, lots of passingEstabl ishes all the basic skills – contro
lling, passin g, dribbl ing, shooti ng and tackli
ng.The player has plenty of opport unity to
“be in love with the ball,” to improv ise
and to take risks without fear of making mistak es.
Greater partic ipation n as each player is
vital in a 3 person teamGoals out wide improv es percep tion, periph
eral vision and spatial awaren essReduces crowdi ng or swarmi ngMore time and space to think and make
decisi onsGreat variety of games within a famili ar
struct ure keeps it intere sting for everyo ne
The positi ve enviro nment of discov ery
instead of instru ction is much more stimul ating
than tradit ional coachi ng styleSmaller players make up for their physic al
disadv antages s through clever playEveryo ne usually scores a goal!Rolling substi tutions s and equal playing time
benefi ts everyo neFreque nt repeti tion of basic game situat
ions gives greater opport unity to master them
The two goals create options which stimul ates
creati vity and improv isation. n.Develo ps support play and off-th e-ball play
Learni ng takes place in a fully- integrated
ated holist ic enviro nment, just as in the
game itself. There is no isolat ion or separa tion
of techni cal, tactic al or physic al elemen ts.

More goals, more action, more FUN!
Lifest yle and charac ter benefi ts:Active Lifest yle – combats the impact of
sedent ary lifest yle and obesityConfid ence/Self elf Esteem – through more succes
sful actions and positi ve enviro nment
Endeav our/Persever rseverance ance – learn to never
give upThe Ability to Think – invalu able for
educat ion and lifeEmotio nal Control – conten tment and satisf
action through playSocial Relati ons/Friendsh iendships/Teamwork ips/Teamwork amwork – a
place to belongFair Play – respect for other childr en,
adults and regula tions

Coach Benefi ts:
Coache s, from the earlie st involv ement
in the game, get to learn a modern player
-centred, ed, game-o riented, d, guided discov ery approa ch
and can grow with their players in their unders tanding g
of the game. The coach becomes a guide stimul ating the players
through his skilful use of the games, variat
ions, effect ive questi oning and consta nt encour
agement. t.

will very soon be availa ble as an
o nline line book, see sample pages below:

see conten ts below:
Further inform ation about will be availa ble shortl y…

Posted inCoachi ng,Horst Wein,Small Sided Games,Youth Develo pmentMini Footba ll – A Breakt hrough in
Youth Footba ll Develo pmentPosted o n02/03/ 2012
When Horst Wein introd uced his very own
unique small sided game for 7 to 9 year
old players 27 years ago, the stage was set for
a revolu tion in Youth Footba ll.

And in 1994 The Royal Spanish Footba ll
Federa tion publis hed his age-or iented Youth Footba
ll Develo pment Model, with Mini Footba ll as the
first buildi ng block in a gradua l, progre ssive system
of develo pment, making it availa ble to all Spanish clubs and
youth academ ies. As we all know Spanish
footba ll has gone o n to become the
leading force in world footba ll. They are the current
World Cup and Europe an Cup holder s, and from U16
to senior footba ll level have won more titles in the last
16 years than their two nearest rivals put
togeth er, while FC Barcel ona have won 3
Champi ons Leagues in the last 5 years.

Mini Footba ll, as the first game in
the develo pment model, is consid ered to be
the revival of Street Footba ll, but is played 3v3 with 4 goals
instead of the tradit ional 2 goals and has
many more benefi ts than 4v4 or 7v7 footba ll.
Today, the origin al game has been proven, expand ed and
extend ed to form a comple te progra mme that is specif
ically suited to young players starti ng out
in the game and includ es all the best
practi ces of modern coachi ng.
A comple te progra mme manual for Mini
Footba ll is to be releas ed in mid-Ma
rch as an ebook…
Give your young players the chance todiscov er the magic of The Beauti ful
Gamein a unique game progra mme design ed
especi ally for them.
Experi ence the“renai ssance of street footba ll”
in the 21st centur y.
Be the best coach you can be while
creati ng a player -centred ed enviro nment where
young talent flouri shes.
Introd uce your players to game intell igence
while establ ishing their techni que, in a player
-centred, ed, game-o riented d progra mme.

Coaches and parents can soon learn to unlock
the enormo us creati ve potent ial of the
young talents in their care.

Everyt hing you need to get started o
n the right road for a great future in
footba ll includ ing:

28 offici al mini footba ll games (With
35 variat ions)
24 Prepar atory/correc corrective tive games

Easy to read and implem ent
Over 40 colour illust rations s
Season progra mme of compet itions
Games and tests your players will love
A clear guide to coachi ng this age
With more than 20 player benefi ts

See Mini Footba ll in action with these
short clips:
[tube] http://www.y / .com/watch?v=bJNdHEhTa7c[/tube atch?v=bJNdHEhTa7c[/tube] =bJNdHEhTa7c[/tube] EhTa7c[/tube]
[/tube] ]
[tube] http://www.y / .com/watch?v=gdUARczESTg[/tube atch?v=gdUARczESTg[/tube] =gdUARczESTg[/tube] czESTg[/tube]
[/tube] ]
Mini Footba ll is superi or to both
4v4 and 7v7 footba ll for this age-gr oup:

Why Mini Footba ll and not 4v4 games?
Why Mini Footba ll and not 7-a-si de
footba ll?
A compar ison of two compet itions for
7 to 9 year old players
More inform ation concer ning this fantas tic
resour ce and how to purcha se it will
soon be availa ble here at The Beauti ful Game…

Posted inCoachi ng,Horst WeinThe Need For An Optimal Youth Footba ll
Develo pment ModelPosted o n22/02/ 2012
The game of footba ll is o ne
e of the greate st gifts to humank ind
and is played by millio ns all over the world.
Footba ll in it’s current form has been with us for
around 150 years now, but the evolut ion of player develo pment,
in most countr ies, has not kept pace
with, the game itself, or many other aspects of
life.A new player -centred ed model for develo
pment is necess ary to achieve optimal results
for all young childr en who play the
game – that will enable them to reach their
full potent ial.
The game of footba ll has moved o
n, , at least in some quarte rs, to
a very high playing level, where game intell igence, ,
allied to superi or techni que has seen
The Beauti ful Game reach it’s Zenith
. The footba ll of FC Barcel ona
(and indeed the Spanish Nation al team) has brought
unriva lled success as well as entert aining millio ns
with style, creati vity, excite ment and beauty. Any new model
of value must strive to achieve not o nly ly such great
sporti ng goals, but the lifest yle values
espous ed by this inspir ational l club. Even
the Japane se ladies nation al team has proven that
The Beauti ful Game can win out against the bigges t,
strong est and toughe st players in the world.

Footba ll is alate specia lization on sportmeaning that players cannot be just manufa ctured
or cloned from the very first day. Firstl y,
they must be allowed time to develop the fundam ental
ABCs of agilit y, balance and coordi nation, , then be
exposed to a progre ssive progra mme of age-ap propriate ate learni
ng and then in their mid-te ens be
prepar ed for compet ition. A good model respec
ts the natural order of childh ood develo pment, taking
the time to help them reach their full potent ial and
to comple te each logical stage of develo pment in turn.

The game of footba ll, especi ally when
played constr uctively ly isa very complex gamefor both the coach and the player s.
There are many decisi ons to be made, and
many complex actions to be perfor med. The 11-a-s ide
game that adults play is far too complex and diffic ult
for young player s, physic ally, mental ly, techni cally, tactic ally
and psycho logically. lly.
While footba ll coachi ng has gone through
many fashio ns especi ally the physic al and
techni cal emphas es, today,game intell igence- a proper unders tanding g of the
workin gs of the game, where players use percep
tion, unders tanding g and decisi on-making ing before finally
execut ing the chosen action – is the key factor in
both player perfor mance and team effici ency, i.e. Succes s!

The great Istvan Balyi is often quoted for
his 10,000 hour rule – the time requir ed
for a talent to be fully develo ped – but
just as import ant, if not more so, is the quality
of the conten t, or curric ulum in any such develo pment
progra mme, and critic ally, that the young
talent remains motiva ted to comple te such an
epic task.
Horst Wein develo ped his Youth Footba ll
Develo pment Model over 25 years ago, the first
ever, age-ap propriate, ate, progra mme for traini ng young
footba llers. Since then it has been refine d, expand ed
and updated to include the most valuab le current trends in coachi
ng. The model takes into account all the
critic al consid erations ns mentio ned above and
includ es its own unique featur es and associ ated
advant ages.
Goals of the model:
In order to put any plan into place
it is import ant to determ ine where you
want to go.The Footba ll Develo pment Model is design
ed to achieve the follow ing long-t erm goals:
To develop each boy or girl to their
full potent ial.To develop comple te, all-ro und footba ll
player s.To develop players who can play footba ll
with their head as well as their feet.To develop better human beings.To give the kids a game for lifeTo further the cause of The Beauti ful
Game – constr uctive, , creati ve, exciti ng
footba ll
As well as these long-t erm goals, coaches
need clearer direct ion o n what exactly to
expect for each age-gr oup. There is an over-e mphasis
s o n techni que and physic al condit ioning in
the game today, especi ally for young player s, and creati vity
and game intell igence is often neglec ted
or even frowned upon. This model is also based
o n the precept that good footba ll starts in
head before finish ing with the feet.
A bluepr int for success
In order to reach these goals, a map,
or bluepr int is provid ed:
The style of the coachi ng in the
model is player -centred ed and includ es a
guided discov ery teachi ng method versus the old tradit
ional style of “yell and tell.” Players are includ ed in
the learni ng process and are helped to think for themse lves.

b)Substa nce
The Footba ll Develo pment Model is based
around a progre ssive curric ulum of simpli fied
small- sided games in traini ng rather than drills. A
holist ic game-c entred approa ch ensures the integr ation of
techni cal, physic al and tactic al elemen ts that is proven
to be much more effect ive than the
old analyt ical method.
The Game is the Teache r!
c)Struct ure
The model recomm ends age-ap propriate ate game
formats for compet itions: :
3v3 for 7-9 years
5v5 for 10 years
7v7 for 11-12 years
8v8 for 13 years
11-a-s ide for 14+ years
Advant ages of the Horst Wein Youth Footba
ll Develo pment Model

Age-ap propriate ate games and traini ng are
matched to the childr en’s needs

Firstl y, we must recogn ize that childr
en are not adults and that the 11-a-s ide
game is a comple x, adult- oriented ed game for
grown men and women, who have reached physic al, mental and
emotio nal maturi ty. o n top of that childr en grow
through differ ent phases of develo pment, physic
ally, mental ly and emotio nally.
A compre hensive e curric ulum leaves nothing
to chance

The model provid es all the elemen ts
for the develo pment of player s, much like
a school curric ulum which becomes progre ssively y more
complex and intens e. We would not ask a junior infant
to sit his Leaving Certif icate examin ation, he would not be
prepar ed in any way, mental ly or
emotio nally. Neither does the model place excess ive
demands o n young player s, but provid es them
with all the tools necess ary to advance in the game.

A step by step process guaran tees compet
ence and success
The game is a complex game and it
is vital that the founda tional buildi ng blocks
are in place and that progre ssion is made in
a logica l, step-b y-step manner. This helps the coaches to
grow progre ssively y in their compet ence, just as the players
Player ’s need to feel compet ent to
retain their intere st in anythi ng and especi
ally so in sport, which is option al for many
of them. A model which procee ds in a step-b y-step
manner allows the childr en the time to achieve a good level
of compet ence in their techni que and
tactic al awaren ess for their partic ular age-gr
oup and the coach will o nly ly move them
o n when they are ready to be challe nged furthe
r, without being overst retched. d.
A holist ic approa ch develo ps the
whole player

The Horst Wein model includ es the techni
cal, tactic al, physic al and psycho logical/emot l/emotional
ional elemen ts of player develo pment in an integr
ated manner so that skills are acquir ed in the context
of the game, and the game itself is played in the context
of a fully- rounded d life.
Fun and enjoym ent guaran tee involv ement
and retent ion

Any model which ignores the inhere nt enjoym
ent of playing games over the felt requir ement
to perfect techni que and physic al condit ioning will
be counte rproductive. ctive. Childr en must firstl y, fall in
love with the game in the Fundam ental stage, but even in
profes sional footba ll, players need to be
enjoyi ng the game to sustain consis tent perfor
mance. All over the world young people in their millio
ns are been lost to sport in their early teens due
to the pressu res imposed o n them by adults, rather than
enjoyi ng sport for itself.

Time allowed for natural develo pment helps them
reach their full potent ial

Most kids these days, even as young as
7 years of age are forced into “perfo rming”
each weekend as if it were the Champi ons League
Final. For some reason adults have seen fit to force young
players into game formats that they are not ready for. Childr en
as young as 11 years of age play
the 11-a-s ide game and the 7-a-si de game
is applied to the 7 year olds. A prepub escent
11 year old boy, o n averag e, weighs about 01
stone and is about 4ft 10inch es tall. The goal posts in
the full game are 8ft tall and 24ft
wide, the pitch is about 100 by 80 yards…
something ing is amiss here! It takes time for kids
to reach their full potent ial, after which many will just
contin ue with a very healthy leisure pastti me for life, while
some may go o n to play at
the highest levels, as fully- rounded, d, comple te
footba llers, with great game intell igence, , techni cal
ability and creati vity, but also as comple tely rounded and
genero us human beings.

The Footba ll Develo pment Model recogn izes
the time that nature decrees for the develo pment
of these young footba llers.
“Nature decrees that childr en should be childr
en before they become adults. If we try to
alter this natural order, they will reach adulth ood premat
urely but with neither substa nce nor streng th.”

Jean-J acques Rousse au
Posted inHorst Wein,Youth Develo pmentHorst Wein recomm ends Small- Sided Games for
Grassr oots Footba llPosted o n16/02/ 2012
Horst Wein, who has mentor ed more than
11,000 soccer coaches in 55 differ ent countr ies
around the world, believ es thatsmall sided gamesare the most essent ial element in develo
ping youth soccer player s. This comes from a
man who knows a thing or two about this vital
topic – his book “Devel oping Youth Footba ll Player s”
is the offici al textbo ok of the Spanish Footba ll Federa
tion, and has also been adopted by the
Footba ll Federa tion of Austra lia, having sold
more than 100,000 copies worldw ide.
Small- sided games in Traini ng
Coaches should focus more o n games rather
than drills in traini ng. Isolat ing partic ular
techni ques and concen trating g o n them using
repeti tive drills and exerci ses is known as the “analy
tical method” and often poses diffic ulties when the players come to
apply what they have been working o n
in the real game scenar io. The “global method”
of traini ng involv es creati ng more game-l ike
scenar ios in traini ng that can be more seamle ssly
integr ated into the actual game itself. This is done through creati
ng simpli fied games, which are scaled -down
versio ns of the real game, but that can
focus o n partic ular themes necess ary in the
real game.
The concept of using games rather than drills
and exerci ses has been studied for many years
all around the world. Teachi ng Games for Unders tanding
g (TGfU) has been applied to many differ ent sports and
been found to be very effect ive. In Austra lia, it is
also known as “Game Sense” and “Play practi
There are many benefi ts to this games-
oriented ed method in soccer:Most import antly,players prefer to play games than to do
drills(espec ially the younger o nes). es).

The games can be modifi ed through differ
ent variab les toconcen trate more o n specif ic elemen
tsthat need to be addres sed; The size
of the playing area, the number of player s,
durati on of the game, techni cal rules etc, means
that in the hands of a skilful coach, games may be
used to achieve all the requir ements of playing the real game.
Small- sided games requiresmaller pitchesand can be suited toany number of players.Small sided games provide a muchmore intense physic al workoutthan larger games.Small- sided games allow the coach todevelop the players Game Intell igence, as they may focus o n the
true dynami cs of the game of soccer e.g.
the 2v1 situat ion.
Small sided games in compet ition
This means that the compet itions that young
people play should be tailor ed to the specif
ic requir ements of their age group.
“The compet ition you play should be like
your shoes, it should fit you perfec tly! “

Benefi ts of small sided games in compet
ition (and traini ng)More touches of the ballSimpler decisi ons to makeBetter game-r elated fitnes s, short durati on
of high-i ntensity ty vs lapsMore time with coach per playerEasier to coach especi ally for parent coaches
More opport unities s to solve game proble
msMore attack ing opport unities s (dribb ling,
shooti ng, passing )More defend ing opport unities sMore shooti ng and more goals = more
fun!No hiding place, players don’t get lost in
these gamesMore opport unities s for the full range
of skillsEncour ages better shape and awaren ess of
team-m atesEncour ages faster play, fast transi tion from
defence to attackEasier for young players to have success –
which means enjoym ent and retent ion for these
player s.

Manche ster United conduc ted a pilot scheme
in 2005 which compar ed 4-a-si de soccer to
8-a-si de soccer, the results were very tellin g:

Small- sided Games Around the World
All around the world today the value of
small- sided games has begun to be recogn ized
and many federa tions have introd uced them succes sfully
into youth develo pment progra mmes. The Dutch system focuses mainly
o n 4v4 and later 7v7 games before players are introd uced
to the 11-a-s ide game.
All across contin ental Europe there are variat
ions of either 4v4 or 5v5 for the first
game that young kids play. In the British Isles, Wales
has been leading the way with small sided games being introd
uced there in 1996. The FA in England are determ ined to
introd uce the follow ing struct ures by
2013: 5v5 (7-8 years), 7v7 (9-10 years), 9v9 (11-12
years), 11v11 (13+ years)
This map shows the penetr ation of small-
sided games across the USA in 2009. Red areas
have implem ented small sided games, and blue areas have
partia lly implem ented them. In general USYS (United States Youth
Soccer) recomm ends 3v3 for under 01 years and a progre ssion
to 4v4 or 5v5, 6v6 or 7v7, 8v8 etc.

Small- sided Games in the Horst Wein Model

In the Horst Wein Youth Footba ll Develo
pment Model, the recomm ended progre ssive small- sided
game struct ure is:

3v3 for 7-9 years 5v5 for 10 years
7v7 for 11-12 years 8v8 for 13 years 11-a-s
ide for 14+ years

Along with these compet ition games, each age
group has its own comple te progra mme of
small- sided, simpli fied games for traini ng, which emphas
ize game intell igence and a deeper unders tanding g of
the tactic al situat ions of the game of footba ll. The
traini ng games can be used for prepar
ing the players for their approp riate compet ition
or as correc tive measur es for issues identi fied
during play.
The emphas is is always o n games
for learni ng rather than drills and runnin g.

The Game is the teacher

Many claim that the revolu tionary y game
of Mini-F ootball l (3v3 o n four wide
goals) is arevival of street footba ll.

While many advoca te the benefi ts of
4v4, which is undoub tedly far more benefi cial
than 8v8 (or 7v7), Horst’s own Mini-F ootball l game
which is 3v3 o n 4 wide goals has the follow
ing advant ages over 4v4:

Posted inHorst Wein,Small Sided Games,Youth Develo pment

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