Practice Curriculum for 11 & 12 Year Old Soccer Team


Coaching with Jeff Pill

In last week’s post, I covered a practice curriculum for nine and ten year olds, along with a few reminders to keep in mind during your practice time. Now it’s on to the eleven and twelve year olds. As previously stated, the curriculum below may be too advanced, it may not push your team as much as you’d like. What I think is important is that you have a plan of attack for where you would like to bring the group along. 

Technical Guidelines

  • Kicking with the inside and the outside of the instep.
  • Chipping.
  • Effective shielding from the immediate opponent.
  • Disguise in dribbling: body feints, change of speed and direction, wrongfooting defenders.  Learning three or four moves to use to beat a defender.
  • Beginning of consistent practice of heading – regular, but not much.
  • Side block tackle.
  • Shoulder charging.
  • Shooting bouncing balls: volleys and half-volleys.
  • Now, in receiving balls, players consciously set up their second touch with their first touch.

Tactical Guidelines

  • Switching the direction of play or the point of attack.
  • The overlap.
  • Awareness of the different “climates” in the three thirds of the field: attack, midfield, defense.
  • Continuing to focus on the “three main moments”, with particular emphasis on transition.
  • Understanding the difference between passing to feet and passing to space.
  • Good body position when asking for the ball: facing field or sideways, watching ball and immediate opponent, etc.
  • Making good choices about trying to penetrate or protecting the ball, based on whether or not there is pressure when you receive the ball.  Consistently intelligent first touches upon receiving.
  • Reading the body position of a defender: hips square or hips turned, has she or he committed to winning the ball or not?, etc.
  • Understanding the difference between losing the ball and giving it away.
  • Correct body position of defenders challenging for the ball:  “turned, not square.”
  • Positioning “ball side” as well as “goal side” in marking.
  • Second defender covering the first defender.
  • Solid defensive understanding against one opponent and when confronted by two opponents.

Fitness Guidelines

  • Nothing without the ball.
  • No strength or endurance work.

The Practice Environment

  • “Play time” and a learning environment.
  • Some pressured play in confined areas; games of numbers up and numbers down; one of the best is 5 v 2.
  • No specializing by positions.
  • Duels at full speed: lots of 1 v 1 and 2 v 1 situations.
  • 3 v 3 or 4 v 4 games at every practice.
  • # 4 or # 5 ball; small goals.
  • Emphasis still on technical development: the acquisition of skills.
  • The week’s practice is 75 to 90 minutes long.


  • Equal playing time.  Allow everyone to start at some time during the season, hopefully several times.  This allows them to experience both tasks… starting strong, and coming off the bench.  Both VITAL for their development!
  • 6 v 6 or 7 v 7.  “Eleven after eleven”:  eleven players on a team after eleven years of age.
  • Players play all the “positions”.
  • Friendship tournaments.
  • Focus on enjoyment and the future: no stress on winning

As previously mentioned, be sure to subscribe and check back next week for my curriculum for thirteen and fourteen year olds.

Jeff Pill

About This Author

Jeff is the creator of the famous "PIll's Drills". These drills have been used by thousands of coaches all over the world, and at one time were receiving over 300,000 hits a day. His drills have been used all over the world and translated in to German as well as several other languages.

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