BC Soccer recommends all coaches to obtain soccer training for players at the right stage of their development. As players grow and develop their skills it is important for coaches to be equipped with the right tools at the right time to provide the right environment for players, parents and coaching staff alike. Becoming trained at the right stage and by obtaining the resource material that is available by attending the courses, coaches will be able to impact soccer education in an organized and enjoyable fashion. Every course is progressive and more advanced as the players' ability increases.
This chart provides the guidelines for coaches to select the best course for themselves and the players, respective to the stage of development the coach is working with. Coaches need to know that in the early stages, some players may benefit from curriculum that overlaps between various years due to a difference in ability, interest, and growth factors.
Courses and Workshops
ACTIVE START (Stage 1 ‘First Kicks’ U4-U6)
At this stage, players should participate in stimulating practices and games that develop basic technical skills in a FUN atmosphere. The emphasis should be movement exercises and games that promote a feel for the ball while teaching basic principles of play within a fun but structured setting. Informal games can be set up at the end of practices or as part of a jamboree mixing exercising and games. Play equal time and try all team positions, including goalkeeper, and equal time should be allotted to practices and games.
Course Length: 3.5 hours
FUNDAMENTALS (Stage 2 ‘Fun with the Ball’ U7-U9)
At this stage, players should participate in stimulating practices and games that develop basic technical skills in a FUN atmosphere. The emphasis should be movement exercises and games that promote a feel for the ball while teaching basic principles of play within a fun but structured setting. Mini game formats are used, ranging from 3v3 to 5v5 and a basic league schedule can be created but no standings should be kept. All players should play equal time and try all team positions, including goalkeeper, and equal time should be allotted to practices and games.
Course Length: 7.5 hours
LEARNING TO TRAIN (Stage 3 ‘The Golden Age of Learning’ U9-U12)
This stage introduces players to disciplined training and begins to develop their understanding of principles of play alongside their skills practice. Repetitions are important to develop technical proficiency, but creating a fun and challenging environment is still paramount to stimulate learning and promote a love of the game. Game formats can range from 6v6 to 8v8 as players advance through this stage, and again a simple league schedule can be created, but no standings should be kept – the emphasis is still FUN. All players play equal time and try all team positions, including goalkeeping, and the training to competition ratio should be 2 to 3 training sessions for every game.
Course Length: 14 hours
SOCCER FOR LIFE (Stage 7 ‘Soccer for Health & Grassroots Growth’ U13 - U18+)
At this stage, skill training demands and training loads are increased to develop and refine skills and tactics. Tactical awareness becomes an increasingly important facet of training, alongside mental toughness, concentration, and diligence. Elite soccer groups may express interest in recruiting talented young players, but coaches and parents should be careful to recognize and protect the long-term interests of each athlete. Game formats develop from 8v8 to 11v11 (although no 11v11 prior to 13 years of age) as players grow through this stage, and the season moves toward year-round play that includes appropriate rest and recovery periods.
Course Length: 14 hours