Short-Sided Games

What Is Short-Sided Soccer?

Short-sided soccer is about what is best for young soccer players. It’s for AYSO coaches, referees, administrators, spectators and anyone else concerned with the development of our youth.

Why Short-Sided Soccer?

Because young players are not adults and need special consideration. Little research or attention has been given this critical period in the development of the under-10 year old players, but most educators agree the early learning experiences are the most important and result in the result in the most retention.

Traditionally, youth soccer programs are viewed from an adult perspective, using the 11-a-side game as a reference. But we need to remember these important points about young players:

  • Children must be treated as children, not as mini-adults.
  • Children are essentially self-oriented and only relate naturally to a friend or two, not to groups of six or more.
  • Children cannot sustain prolonged activity and function best with frequent rest periods.
  • Children have a limited span of attention, so frequent activity changes are necessary.
  • Children focus best when learning activities are fun.
  • More children will have much more interactrion with the ball with fewer players on the field.

Almost 70 percent of AYSO coaches are first-time coaches-parents with little free time. Short-sided soccer is a way to ease adults into coaching as well as te ease children into playing. Be creative and remember, children play games to have fun. Short-sided games help ensure children have fun and at the same time, maximize their learning opportunities.

For a detailed anaylsis of the 3v3 program, see the 3v3 study .