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Balls # size and full size goals in youth soccer.

Have you ever seen youth basketball players play a game or just shooting hoops? Did you notice the size of the ball? It’s the big one, like the one used by the NBA superstar players!

They use that for a very simple reason. Even if seems hard for them to throw that ’big and heavy ball’ up to the sky, by growing up the effort will get easier and easier every day so, with passing of time, ‘the sky up there’ will come closer and closer and the ball lighter; so, scoring baskets will become elementary!

If we give them a smaller and lighter ball, with the passage of time, by increasing the size and the weight of the ball, the proportion will not change; so, the shooting will always have the same difficulty!

The same is in soccer. If we give them soccer ball #5 even at an early age, it will be hard handling it but by growing up, they will get better every day and will soon be shooting rockets on goal!

If instead we give them small and light soccer balls and after awhile pass onto the #4, followed by #5, the proportion between feet, power, weight and size will be always the same without becoming easier.

I believe that giving them small soccer balls is wrong but, naturally, this is my opinion. It is up to you choose what soccer ball size to give them.

But before you arrive at a conclusion, please consider this aspect. Do you know what physical characteristic permits the greatest soccer players to succeed?

I give you a few seconds to think…………..

O.K. this is the characteristic. A very small…….FOOT SIZE!

By having a small foot size, they touch the ball in many different ways, in many different points of the foot and of the ball!

Exactly what will happen with a small kid foot and a big soccer ball #5!

Another aspect that I consider wrong is the size of the goals. At 10 or 11 years old, put keepers in full size goals is simply ridiculous because they will be beaten just by shooting above their head, even in the center of the goal! They could not reach the ball, unless they could FLY!

Players tend to shot there, and not on the ground close to the posts, because in doing this for 99% they will shoot it OUT! So, from their point of view, it is better to shoot above the head of the keeper!

Why do we consider this a goal? By doing this, the players will learn to shoot just high, no matter what the direction is, and never learn to keep the ball low and a couple feet from the posts! When they grow up, they will have to face the reality. The balls that always were going in, now are easy prey of taller keepers, and they don’t know how to shoot hard, on the ground and close to the posts!

The solution?

Instead of using smaller (and expensive) goals, just tie some yellow caution tape across the posts, 1 foot above the extended arms of the keeper! Every shot above the tape is not a goal; it will be like the ball was directed above the crossbar!

There is also a better solution but this requires a very progressive attitude and an open mind!

Until 10/11 years old, I will put 2 small portable little goals, the ones with a flexible arch, in the big goal close to the posts. The keeper will act naturally but the goal will be awarded only if the ball enters the 2 little goals. At 11/12, I will substitute the 2 little goals with 2 lacrosse goals.


Because by doing this, the shot will be on the ground, away from the keeper and close to the post!

In doing this, by growing up, they will shoot rockets in the same spots from outside the big box. But this is only my opinion so, up to you to accept the suggestion or not!

We continue repeating that these are the rules and so, there is no way to change them. But who make the rules? It could be you. So, if you’re in charge of a League and agree with what I stated above, please be progressive and realistic, and put a little bit of good sense in something that, in my opinion, is not right and not develop correctly the skills of the youth players.

Coach Gianni

Posted on 19 Feb 2008 by coachgianni
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