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AYSO Soccer Region 44, Sunnyvale CA

AYSO Region 44 Coach Resources

As coaches we are committed to the AYSO philosophy of Player Development which means that we emphasize "development over winning." But that doesn't mean our players (or coaches) don't care about the scoreboard!

In our region, like every AYSO region across the country, we are also committed to the philosophy of Balanced Teams. We do our best to balance teams before the season starts. We do this based on the skill, experience and physical ability of each player with the goal of "balancing" the average ability of players on each team.

However, several factors can tip this balance:

* Skill level, experience and physical differences between players in the same age group can be very large
* Player registration forms may show an incorrect number of years of experience
* New players with 0 years of experience may turn out to be very strong players
* Parent schedule conflicts and/or buddy requests may cause players to switch teams early in the season, after teams have been balanced
* We are not able to balance teams with other Regions in interlock or tournament play.

Whatever the reason, blowouts (games with more than a 5 goal scoring differential) are no fun for anyone. In addition both sides of the blowout are not developing during that game. Below are some tips for preventing and managing blowout situations.

Plan Ahead

At practice you should explain to your players why we avoid blowouts and have a plan in place with your team for avoiding blowouts. Your plan should be discreet so that ideally only your players know that you are challenging your team. Players and coaches yelling across the field that your team should stop scoring is not discreet and can demoralize and humiliate the other team. One way to do this is to have code phrases or code names for when your players are implementing your strategy to avoid a blowout.

Identifying When a Game will be a Blowout

You should try to identify as early as possible if a game will be a blowout. If your team scores 3 goals in the first 5 minutes, then do not wait until the fourth or fifth goal to start implementing your blow-out strategy otherwise it will be too late and your team will be playing keep away for the rest of the game! You should start to challenge your players early so you do not need to resort to too many restrictions later in the game.

Ways to Mitigate a Blowout

There are a number of different strategies that you can use to mitigate a blowout (in order):

  • Switch your players' positions (ex. move attackers to defense and defenders to attack, move your strongest player to keeper). This also improves player development as players can learn new positions.
  • Limit scoring to shots outside of penalty area or shots with less dominant foot
  • Limit scoring to players that have not scored yet during the game (or season) so players are looking to assist other players to give them scoring opportunities. Again this improves player development as players who would normally defend and pass are put in a position to score and players who would normally be scoring are put in a position to defend or pass more.
  • Limit players' number of touches (two or three touches) of the ball.
  • Require X number of players to touch the ball or X number of passes before scoring to promote ball possession and passing and receiving

Example Strategy

Once I see that we may be in a blowout I will start moving players to different positions (up by three goals or two very early goals and seems like we'll be scoring again soon). If this is not sufficient, my strategy will typically involve having the team come up with code names such as "Franklin" or "Tobias". I will typically have three code names. Example is first code-name "Franklin" will be used if we see that the game will be a blow-out early on and the strategy will be limiting scoring to players that have not scored yet during the current game. These players can use the name "Franklin" to let other players know that they can score. "Tobias" will be used when we can only score one more goal so scoring can only be done by players that have not yet scored during the season. The last code name "Raymond" will be used when we want to stop scoring and want to keep possession as much as possible. If you started early enough the first three strategies are almost always enough and you will not need to resort to playing keep away.

Using these strategies you will be able to mitigate the blow-out as well as challenging your team to learn new positions, develop their passing and receiving, awareness, teamwork and communication!

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AYSO Soccer Region 44, Sunnyvale CA

PO Box 64669 
Sunnyvale, California 94089

Email Us: [email protected]
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