What are Small Sided Games? Small-sided games are exactly what the name suggests - games played on smaller pitches with fewer players on both teams.
As players get older the only things that may differ are coaching points, game conditions and the intensity of the games. Small sided games are especially vital at younger age groups and have a great impact on a player’s development.
Ensure you play Summer Soccer this year to gain the benefits!
Why Play Small Sided Games?
Players have more touches on the ball. More touches equals faster skill development, there is no argument here!
Realistic to the full size game. When coaching on a larger pitch, you will break down the pitch into areas, creating small sided situation within a larger area.
Increased repetition of skills and techniques. Players cannot hide. Players cannot just rely on early development of physical capabilities which often leads to stand outs on larger pitches.
Creates more 1v1 situations. Players of any position NEED to be comfortable 1on1. Long gone are the days where defenders just defended, everyone needs to be able to play!
Quick transitions. With the pitch being smaller, there are more changes in possession. Jose Mourinho has said “Games are won and lost in transition”.
Encourages creativity. Something which is severely lacking with today’s young players. A lack of kids just playing, has led to a lack individual creativity. Coaches are eager to kick every ball in a match which means players don’t make their own decisions and simply don’t get the chance to be creative.
Players can play in multiple positions. Good players can play anywhere. Developing players to play in different areas of the pitch will lead to a greater understanding of the game.
Demands high-intensity levels. It’s fast paced. The game is getting quicker and quicker as technology advances, and we need players to know that. In small sided games players have less time to make decisions, increasing that process.
Generates more goal scoring opportunities. This is the hardest thing to do in a game of football. If we give players more opportunities to do this, they will naturally become better at it.
Small sided games are enjoyable for all players. Do you enjoy your job? If not, if you did would you perform better? I don’t think there is an argument here! Let players have fun and watch them get better and better!
How can coaches manage small sided games?
Ensure free-flowing games. Do not keep stopping the game to make coaching points. Coaches should make individual coaching points to the players as the game is going. If the coach wants to make a group coaching point, coaches should aim to get on and off the pitch in 10 seconds.
Create a fun environment for the players. Encourage players to play with a smile on their faces.
Allow players to express themselves. Encourage players to try all their tricks and skills and allow them to make mistakes.
Kick in from the side-line when the ball goes out of play, or use the side boards. This will speed up the tempo of the game.
Encourage players. Positive reinforcement is backed by lots of studies and science! This will keep the intensity levels high