Soccer Club of Ridgefield, youth soccer in Western Connecticut

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  1. Players' Health 
  2. Parent Meeting Checklist
  3. Coaching Philosophy


1. Players' Health - The FIFA 11+ - a complete warm up to prevent injuries

Warming up prior to playing and training is a matter of routine for any serious player. A smart warm-up not only improves your performance, but also helps you to prevent injuries. "The 11+", the new injury prevention programme from FIFA's Medical Assessment and Research Centre (F-MARC), provides a complete, football-specific warm-up and can easily be integrated into a daily training routine.

"The 11+" is divided into three parts: it starts off with running exercises (part I), moves on to six exercises with three levels of increasing difficulty to improve strength, balance, muscle control and core stability (part II), and concludes with further running exercises (part III). The different levels of difficulty increase the programme's effectiveness and allow coaches and players to individually adapt the programme. "The 11+" takes approx. 20 minutes to complete and replaces the usual warm-up before training. Prior to playing a match, only the running exercises are performed, for about ten minutes.

"The 11+" has proven to cut injuries by up to half - if performed correctly and regularly. When it is adopted together with the values of fair play, it enables you, as a player or coach, to protect yourself, your team and your opponents and thus increase everyone's enjoyment of the game.  Click here to see the 11+, a complete warm up to prevent injuries.

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2. Parent Meeting Checklist

 All S.C.O.R. coaches and trainers MUST have a meeting with the parents of the players they train and specific topics must be addressed. Obviously, the provided checklist can and should be supplemented with your own topics, but make sure there is no contradiction between SCORs and your philosophy. The right side space has been provided for your convenience, so that you may make notes before, during or after meetings.


  • Give parents your experience and certifications as a player and coach. Make parents aware and discuss the following documents. They can find them on the website.
  • Coach Evaluation Form - fill out and return Coach Evaluation form to manager 2 weeks prior to end of season.
  • Parent Code of Conduct Responsibilities
  • Player Code of Conduct Responsibilities

Parents' Obligations 

  • Discuss the need to have 1 parent present at all practices.
  • Remind parents to talk to you with concerns and only after consulting with you should they call the CD. Any potential negative discussions between coach and parents must take place 48 hours after event (practice or game).
  • Player pick-up must be arranged by parents on the assumption that coach or trainer is not able to stay behind with player(s).
  • Team commitment to tournaments 

Discuss Players' Obligations

  • Give parents an outline of what you will be expecting from your players including Players' Code of Ethics and Pledge handouts. Parents need to be made aware that their child has responsibilities and players need to sign Pledge before first game of the season. 

Coaching Philosophy & Obligations

  • Make sure your philosophy agrees with that of S.C.O.R. and make parents aware of it. Include issues such as; Attitude, attendance, playing time, positions, season expectations, rain days and anything else that you would like to address. Practice sessions will not be cancelled unless the weather is too bad. When fields are closed you can use
  •  parking lots, gyms, soccer movie or your imagination. 

Tryout Process

  • Discuss Tryout process as described in handouts.
  • Clarify mid-season evaluation process and meaning. 

Additional Soccer Programs

  • Encourage parents to have their children participate in SCOR's supplemental development programs.
  • Encourage parents to have their children attend SCOR camps in the summer.
  • Encourage players to go to High School and local college games.
  • Encourage parents to have their children participate in any other soccer programs of offered across the State.

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3. Coaching Philosophy 

 A renowned sports psychologist once said "A good coach is able to take a player where they have never been before and will not get to on their own."  This in many ways gives meaning to what it is to coach and encapsulates the primary purpose of our coaching staff.  A good youth coach is a 'craftsman' that has pride in developing players' skills and an insatiable appetite for more soccer.


The craft of coaching youth players involves having carefully designed and focused practice sessions in an environment which closely resembles the competitive pressure of a game.


Our objectives for the season are: 

  • Players to possess the fundamentals in ball skills, passing, receiving and shooting
  • Players to continuously develop an insight to the game of soccer
  • Continue to cultivate and feed a true passion for the game of soccer in our players
  • Have an organized and natural progression to teaching soccer so that when our
  • Players move on within the Travel Program they indeed have the tools to compete
Three tasks categorize our objectives: (1) Motivation, (2) Organization and (3) Observation and Instruction 

One of the great rewards of coaching youth soccer is helping to energize a player and stimulate a player so that he or she want wants to improve. Our coaches may be faced with players who are not interested in playing soccer and the coaches have to adjust accordingly. 
Coaches have been instructed to give attention to the disinterested players but not at the expense of the rest of the team.  Interest in playing soccer needs to be developed and will play a big part on our coaches' agendas.


  • Role model
  • Model and teach players to honor the game by setting high standards and demonstrating
  • Respect for the rules, opponents, teammates, of officials and one self.
  • Help players redefine what it means to be a 'winner' by focusing initially on mastery of skills rather than solely on the scoreboard. Of course, as our players develop the needed skills to compete, winning should become more important.
  • Quality practice sessions
  • Concentration - is there an atmosphere to perform and to learn? Is there close attention by players?
  • Fun activities
  • Minimize lecturing
  • No lines, no laps
  • Use assistant coaches to reinforce rules
  • Many touches on the ball
  • Be understanding and patient
  • Treat all 'kids' as equals but separate 'players' according to 'slanted line' theory
  • Give specific instructions that relate to session's topic
  • Mixtures of positive and negative reinforcement but never let a player leave practice on a negative tone
  • Appearance and participation
  • Come to practice and games dressed like a coachDemonstrate skills if able
  • Quietly coach at games so that players can make their own decisions.

Soccer players learn to play better soccer by practicing soccer-like exercises. 'The game is the teacher and this means that the coach organizes conditioned short-sided or small group games to improve players. We call this 'facilitating learning' and our coaches will organize their sessions in a manner that it becomes apparent it is a rehearsal for the game day routine. In other words, we want to allow our players to make their own decisions and learn from their mistakes.


Off-field responsibilities 

  • Parents meetings
  • Explain philosophy
  • Expectations
  • Promote supplemental programs and SCOR camp
  • Pre- practice/game routine
  • Clarification of practice rules and expectations
  • Warm-up
  • Written player rankings submitted to Coaching Director by end of season,
  • Copy submitted to Coaching Director
  • Written lesson plans on file
  • Attend all 3 seasonal pro coaches meetings

On-field organization

  • Number of players 1vs1, 2vs2, 4vs2, 4vs4+2, etc.
  • Size and shape of field
  • Long and narrow for vertical passes, short and wide for shooting and crossing
  • Goals and methods of scoring
  • Emphasis on 'finishing'
  • Shooting into a full goal
  • Dribbling across a line
  • 6 passes equals a goal, etc.
  • Zonal games
  • Restrictions within marked areas



  • Concentration on one or two topics per session
  • Repetition opportunity
  • Less variety of activities throughout season to limit confusion
  • Finding teachable moments: (1) When something is done correctly, (2) When something is done incorrectly, (3) During water breaks, between exercises, ball out of play, players are fatigued
  • Progression: (1) From simple to complex, (2) From individual - block - team format


  • Coaches are required to have written lesson plan prior to session
  • Coaches create their own sessions based on a curriculum objective
  • Coaches are required to coach 3 sessions provided by the Coaching Director

Practice components

  • Warm-up - FIFA 11+ Curriculum
  • 10 minute player-organized short-sided scrimmage
  • Activities - 2 or 3 activities addressing session topics
  • Final game - even numbered game. Coach emphasizes points from the practice
  • Cool-down - FIFA 11+ Curriculum


Observation and Instruction

There has to be a natural progression to teaching soccer where winning is emphasized but not until after the foundation has been set.  Having a coaching staff that understands and agree with SCOR's immediate and long term objectives is vital to our program's continuous success.


The one most important question our coaches should ask themselves after a session is 'Did my coaching alter playing behavior in my players?'


#1 Individual

  1. Observation of players technical, tactical, physical and psychological performance.
    • Technical / passing, wall-passing, receiving, dribbling to beat opponent, dribbling to shield, shooting
    • Tactical / 1 vs 1, 2 vs 2, 5 vs 3
    • Physical / foot-eye coordination, agility, speed
    • Psychological / motivation, concentration, passion

 #2 Blocks

  1. Backs, midfielders and forwards
  2. Backs / 1st, 2nd, 3rd defenders, squeezing
  3. Midfielders / 1st, 2nd, 3rd defenders, possession play, balance, positioning
  4. Forwards / 1st and 2nd attackers, finishing

#3 Team units

  1. Ability to execute phase play (connecting blocks) during 4 main moments in soccer
  2. Possession of ball
  3. Penetration to score, support, mobility mobility, maximizing width and depth, creativity, build-up
  4. Opponent possession of ball
  5. Pressure, cover, balance, compactness, predictability (reading the game)
  6. Transition to possession by the opponent
  7. Changing aim as quickly as possible, squeezing, pressing on the ball, or slowing down
  8. Transition to possession of the ball
  9. 1st play look deep, quick of off-ball support, spread out 

#4 Coaches are responsible for

  1. Season long objectives
  2. Winning is a result of the process
  3. Providing a correct progression to achieve the objectives
  4. From simple to complex
  5. Warm-up
  6. Directional themes
  7. Game

At the end of the session "did my coaching have an effect on the player?"

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