Soccer Definitions - W PDF Print E-mail

At U-8 & older, when the other team has a "free kick", you may want to have your players stand side-by-side between the ball & their goal so they form a "wall" so the kicker doesn't have a straight shot on goal. They will have to stand the required distance back (usually 6 yards for U-8, 8 yards for U-10 & 10 yards for U-12 & older) & they can be given yellow cards if they are too close (although the Referee almost always gives a warning first).

Wall Pass
A "Wall Pass" is when a player passes the ball to a teammate who one-touches it right back. This can be very effective because the defender will turn with the first pass & can't recover to defend the second. If the initial passer passes & then breaks (makes a run) it is called a "give and go". (See "Give & Go").

Warming up and Stretching
The Importance Of Warming Up & Stretching Before Playing. At age 10 and older, children become susceptible to muscle pulls. When you move up to U-11, you should have your team stretch before playing. You should have them do 2 things:
a. Warm Up their muscles by light activities such as jogging or slowly dribbling a ball around the field. (Warming up with a ball is the ideal way if it is practical to do so).
b. Stretch the following muscles: front of thigh, back of thigh (hamstring), inside of thigh & calf. Most injuries are to the hamstring and inside of thigh muscles. Each stretch should be done slowly & held for 10-15 seconds & repeated 2 -3 times. Be sure they do not "over stretch". Stretching should not be painful.
Many coaches skip the "warm up" & go straight to stretching. This is a mistake. The light warm up is important because it "warms up" the muscles which makes them stretch easier & less likely to tear. If you think about it, this makes sense. (Have you ever noticed how all the horses are warmed up before a race?) Many experts also promote post game stretching because it will improve flexibility & reduce muscle soreness.

Often a referee will give a player an informal warning before he gives a yellow card. Players should take any warning very seriously because the next time the behavior is repeated a card will probably be given (See "Cards" & "Fouls").

Similar to "Pace", but also refers to how playable a ball is (i.e., how easily it can be controlled by the receiver). For example, a "through ball" might have "perfect weight", which means that it's distance, spin, pace & playability were perfect for the receiver. The ball must have enough pace to get past the defender, but must be controllable by the receiver. For example, on a hard, fast field, a "soft" through ball or a chip pass with back spin would be more playable than a hard pass.

When to Dribble When to Pass
a. Any time you have a pass, take it. Dribble only when you can't pass or if you can dribble & score.
b. Generally, do not dribble in the 1/3 of the field nearest your own goal (i.e., in your "defending Third") unless you must in order to get past a defender so you can make a pass or a clearing kick, because if you dribble near your goal the other team might steal the ball & score. Especially if the ball is in the Danger Zone, you should clear it, preferably to the side. If you must dribble, dribble toward the side line, not toward the center. (See "Coaching Rules" No. 7 & 8, "Attacking", "Creating Space" & "Attacking Third").

When to Shoot
My rule is: "If you have a shot, take it." This means you should shoot any time you are in scoring range & have a clean shot, but if it is a long shot (i.e., from outside the Penalty Box) chip it at the top of the goal. (A grounder from far out doesn't have much chance of scoring). Sometimes players will pass up a clean shot to try to pass. I tell them "If you have a shot, take it."

Where...From ?
Ask your players "Where will the other team score from?" The answer is, "In front of our goal". Repeat this often until they have it memorized. You must teach them to protect the area in front of your goal & have enough defenders in front of the goal to not let the attackers get clean shots, but you must also leave forwards out (a long pass away) so you have a way to outlet the ball. As players get older, attacks will be less direct & more scores will come from "crossed balls". But, still, most scores will occur "in front of the goal". This is even true for the pros.

Width in Attack
Attackers want to "spread the field" & get width in an effort to find open spaces to move the ball (e.g., down the side lines) & to "stretch" the defense so holes are created that the offense can attack & penetrate. Defenders, obviously, want to prevent this by maintaining cover, depth, support & shape. (See "Support, "Shape", "Depth", "Support Distance", "Spread The Field" & "Stretch The Field").

Width in Defense
Too much width in your defense is bad. The wider your defense is, the more spread out & the easier it is to penetrate. Your defenders should stay close enough together to support each other, but not too close (if they are too close, they lose effectiveness & can't cover enough space). Your defense should be just wide enough to slow down the attack (i.e., just wide enough that the attackers can't easily go around you) & should "shift & sag" so there are multiple layers of defenders between the ball & the goal. As your team gets older & plays better teams, the attackers will start to "switch fields" and use a wide attack as a way to get around your defense & to loosen it up. (See "Support", "Cover", "Support Distance & Relative Position", "Spread The Field", "Creating Space" & "Stretched Defense").

Win the Ball
The term "win the ball" means to gain possession of the ball, often when it is a loose ball or a ball which the other team also has a chance to win. Winning the ball is very important. The team that "wins the ball" the most usually wins the game. Like in basketball, positioning relative to opponents can increase the chance of being able to win the ball. Hustle, speed, a quick start and not being afraid of contact are also important, especially on "fifty-fifty balls" (i.e., loose balls which either team has an equal chance of winning). For example, if you are on defense, a good strategy is to stay behind the opponent. This will allow you to step in front and steal the ball or to defend the opponent even if he gets the ball. (Whereas if you play in front of the opponent and the ball gets past you, the other team might be able to fastbreak toward your goal). When on offense, good positioning on your team's goal kicks might be to stay beside the opponent so you have a chance to win both short and long balls. If your team controls the ball, you should try to get open for a pass so you don't have to fight to win the ball. Whether on offense or defense a player should always be aware of where the nearest opponent is and if an opponent is nearby the attacker will often run to meet a pass so the opponent can't beat him to it.

Right and left fullbacks (i.e., the FB's who play closest to the sideline, as distinguished from the center backs).

Wing Player
In general, any player whose assigned position is the left or right instead of the center. But more specifically, refers to players whose job is to come into the attack by bringing the ball up the side line (i.e., the "wings) & to send good crossing passes into the center. Pure "wingers" aren't used today as much as they used to be. "Wingers" used to be the wide forwards or midfielders (who were sometimes called "withdrawn wingers"). Wing midfielders are sometimes called "winghalfs" or "wingmids" & wing fullbacks are "wingbacks". Today, it is more common to use wingmids or wingbacks to come up to cross the ball than to have wing forwards. "Wingers" who bring the ball up the side are often very fast & excellent dribblers.

The area near the right and left sidelines. Some teams will attack down the "wings" because it is easier to move the ball down the "wings" than down the center of the field.

Work Rate
A term pro's use to describe "hustle" & the extent to which a player is always moving. I think "hustle" is a more suitable term for children.

Worrying the Goalkeeper
It is a foul to harass, interfere with, or obstruct the Goalkeeper by trying to keep him from putting the ball into play (e.g., if an opponent stands directly in front of the Goalkeeper when he is trying to punt the ball). Punishable by a Yellow Card and an indirect kick. (See "Cards" & "Fouls").

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