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Hempfield Soccer Guide for Coaching U12

The mission of the Hempfield Area Soccer Club for our U12 program is to field teams that match players to their ability to balance competitiveness and player development.

  • Learning the Game:  Our goal is to teach all players to play to the best of their ability.  That means that all players are given equal opportunities to play and equal attention during practice.

  • Having Fun:  The difference between players that continue to play and those that stop wanting to play is having fun.  To achieve this, we ask that you encourage participation, try to match challenges to abilities for all players, and set goals for performance instead of outcome.

  • Safety First:  It is the coach’s job to ensure that the activities and environment are safe and age appropriate for all sessions.

Player Development:

The typical HASC player entering the U11/12 years has played 4 seasons of U9/10 either with the in-house programs of Hempfield Parks and Rec, the travel program of HASC, or a combination of both.  Players will play 4 seasons of 9v9 play (2 each at U11 and U12) before moving up to 11v11 play at U13 and above.  Players will move up in the fall.  The primary developmental focus at this level should be to prepare players and teams to enter the scholastic system.



Provide a fun and rewarding experience for players, coaches, and parents

Progression of team play, sharing the ball, and general tactics

Continue working on individual skills

Continue working on play in pairs

Introduce play in groups of 4-6


Transition Consideration (U10 – U12):

Players moving up will be moving from 7v7 to 9v9 and playing on a bigger field.

Will have physical challenges of playing on the larger field

Will be adjusting to new positions where each position is responsible for less of the field



Characteristics of U12 Players:

Biggest change from U10 is typically physical growth, though each individual matures at different rates

Players now need to warm-up and stretch prior to engaging in practices or games.

Players now much more accepting of tactical instruction as mental maturity allows for hypothetical and abstract concepts

They are very aware of their peers and their peers’ reactions.  Egos can be very sensitive.

Growth spurts are common and can affect coordination

Proper technique should be a primary focus

Avoid forcing players into overplaying.  This can lead to injury, burn-out, or outright resentment

While formal tactics start to be introduced, creativity and taking chances should be encouraged and praised.

This is now their team.  Ask them for feedback and challenge them to become leaders.

Player Development Objectives:

Dribbling – All sides of the foot

                 -Dribbling around and opponent and out of trouble

                - Turning the ball with pullback, chop (inside), and poke (outside) turns

                - Dribbling with speed in the open field and through traffic

First Touch – Soft first touch to get the ball under control

                -First touch away from pressure and use of shielding

                -First touch with all parts of the body

Shooting the Ball  -  Using the laces or inside of the foot with both feet

                -Shooting for power and accuracy

                -Shooting from the volley

Passing the Ball -  Using the inside of both feet

                -Leading the target and passing to space

                -Introduce chip, switch and long-ball passes

Other Technical Items – Juggling with both feet


                -Defending – Pressure/Cover/Balance, block tackling




Tactical Development

                -Basic individual and team tactics are introduced

                -Combination play (wall pass, give and go)

                -Transitioning from offense to defense and vice versa

                -Support and Cover as the off-ball player attacking and defending


Psychological Development

                -Promote an environment to develop confidence and player enjoyment

                -Imagination, creativity, independent decision making and problem solving

                -Be a part of a team and manage winning and losing as a team



Physical Development

                -Some introduction of conditioning activities is acceptable, but unnecessary

                -Just practicing and playing soccer remains enough physical development

                -Races, duels, and other competitive aspects will drive physical development

                -Introducing warm-up and cool down activities are a must




The U12 travel soccer program through Hempfield Area Soccer Club is primarily focused on providing a fun environment for youth in our community to learn and develop their abilities in the game of soccer.  Individual ball skills remain a focus, while basic tactics, team concepts, and some physical elements are added to players’ development.  Coaches provide positive feedback and encouragement. 

And remember, YOU should be having fun too!

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