At its April, 2002 meeting the BOD (Board of Directors) voted to overhaul the structure of its Intramural Program. The BOD decided to make a bold and significant move to age appropriate small-sided games to both significantly upgrade our Intramural Program, and to provide a basis for the development of travel ready players.
The BOD carefully looked at the proposed national guidelines for youth soccer from the national and state coaching staffs, and decided to be one of the country’s leaders in intramural youth soccer programming. For more information see http://www.usyouthsoccer.org/coaches/SmallSidedGames/
At the international, national and state level, coaches and administrators alike have seen the tremendous efficacy of small-sided play for practice and games in youth soccer. The coaches have also seen a significant increase in player creativity and enjoyment when switching to small-sided play. After all, if the players can’t have fun, why play? These coaches have also seen that a move to noncompetitive play for the youngest ages has also been extremely advantageous for those players. In light of that experience, the Fairmount BOD decided to adapt these guidelines to our Intramural program as much as possible.
In addition to the restructuring explained above, the Fairmount BOD approved the following in conjunction with the restructuring:
- Fairmount Soccer will provide free training in the appropriate courses for its coaches.
- Parents will be encouraged to attend a Fairmount Training Session to inquire about small-sided play, see how it works, understand why we adopted the model, learn the rules, and appreciate what is expected of Fairmount Soccer parents.
Our Intramural structure requires more volunteers and parental participation which we think is very positive for the players. Please volunteer today to help your children.
More recently, the Board has focused on the development of Travel Soccer teams. Again, using United States Youth Soccer guidelines as a model, Fairmount has attempted to structure the Travel Program in a way that facilitates player development as the primary objective, as opposed to winning games. Certainly, when playing competitive soccer, it is important to focus at some level on the result. The outcome of a particular game, or the overall record for a season, however, should not obscure the fundamental importance of player development, including the need for players to be exposed to all positions on the field. To further improve the Travel program, Fairmount implemented an Academy Soccer program for players who have an interest in developing the skills need for travel soccer, but who are not yet old enough to do so. Like all Fairmount programs, the training curriculum for both Travel and Academy players is based on the small-sided soccer model.
Small-Sided Soccer Rationale
- Because we want our young players to touch the ball more often and become more skillful with it!
- Because we want our young players to make more, less-complicated decisions during the game!
- Because we want our young players to be more physically efficient in the field space they are playing in!
- Because we want our young players to have more individual teaching time with the coach! Fewer players on the field and fewer players on the team will facilitate this!
- Because we want our young players to have more involved playing time in the game which gives them more opportunity to solve problems that only the game can present!
- Because we want our young players to have more opportunities to play on both sides of the ball!
- Because we want our young players to have more opportunities to score goals giving them more excitement!
These reasons will help promote each player’s:
- Individual technical development
- Individual tactical development
- Understanding of how to reduce field size
- Importance and worthiness
- Critical decision making
- Understanding of attacking and defending
- Excitement for the game
- FUN environment of the game.¬π
¬π We have quoted Tom Goodman, Director of Coaching Education, US Youth Soccer, for much of the above explanation of ‚ÄúSmall-Sided” soccer.