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Reasonable Expectations After One Year of Training

After one year (one long or two short outdoor seasons, or one outdoor and one indoor season, depending on local conditions) of formal soccer training, most coaches on the List think that it is realistic to expect most beginners at age U-10 and above to be able to do the following:

  1. Head a fairly gentle ball (they shouldn't even think of attempting teeth-rattlers until around U13 or so).
  2. Be able to execute a decent chest trap (and decide whether to use the head or chest as the ball is coming in).
  3. Know the basic rules for a first defender (delay/deny), and be able to successfully mark/hold an attacker of similar size/speed/skill for a count of about 7-8.
  4. Execute a basic standing tackle and shoulder charge.
  5. Be able to pass a stationary ball thru cones 1 yard apart at distances of 6 yards with dominant foot. Be able to pass accurately with non-dominant foot at the 3 yard distance.
  6. Be able to receive/control with 2 touches/then push pass a moving ball thru cones 1 yard apart at a distance of 4 yards (2-3 yards with non-dominant).
  7. Be able to execute a laces kick with some power and accuracy.
  8. Be able to execute a lofted kick/chip which will clear an average-sized player in their age bracket.
  9. Understand the basic rules on throw-ins, and be able to execute them properly.
  10. Be able to dribble/beat an unskilled defender by use of simple cuts and changes of pace.
  11. Be able to shield the ball and hold in 1v1 situation to count of 8.
  12. Understand basic principles of keepaway (talking, taking the ball where the defenders aren't, basic rules of support triangles, planning your reception to take ball into space/away from pressure).
  13. Understand usual game rules (restarts, fouls, fair play, ref signals, basic offsides if applicable).
  14. Understand/follow the team rules (paying attention, bringing proper equipment to practice, cleanup, subbing, calling if late/missing, no hassle of teammates, etc.).
  15. Be able to juggle the ball with the foot or thigh at least 5-10 times.
  16. Be able to pass the ball appropriately to a teammate who is 10 yards or more away, both when teammate is stationary and when moving (i.e., understands the concept of leading a moving player so that he does not overrun the ball).
  17. Be able to receive a well-struck ball passed with the inside of both feet, and with at least the outside of the dominant foot.
Updated 31 March 1999
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