Small Sided Games


Small Sided Games

The FAI has developed 2 new coaching workshops - Small Sided Games (SSGs), which will be delivered on a nationwide basis, and there will be a number of free places on each course offered to clubs that are involved in the programme.

Similar to the Future Football programme, this is also the first year of these new workshops, and all other clubs/ coaches will have to pay for their attendance.

The reason for the development of these workshops concentrating on the utilisation of SSGs is to promote a more inclusive style of football whereby all players get plenty of touches of the ball (i.e. technical development), whilst also developing tactically as they encounter more instances in a game to attack and defend. The utilisation of SSGs also means that more players can be involved more often, more of the time i.e. a full-sized pitch would allow 22 players to play 11v11, but on the same playing area, a minimum of 64 children can play 4v4 or 56 children If playing 7v7.

Number One Rule, by
What Makes a Great Coach, by

4v4 is the smallest model of soccer that includes all of the qualities found in the bigger game. The shape of the team is a smaller version of what is found in the 11 a side game, in that there is width and depth to the team, with a dynamic shape that allows players to combine and work together successfully with the potential for constant interchanging of positions and roles. A solid understanding of the principals of play found in the basic 4v4 form allows for continued advancement as the player adapt to the added demands placed on them when more players are added to the tactical picture.

7v7 allows the team to have an all round flexibility of roles and positions whether the team is attacking or defending. There is a constant demand on the players to effectively read what their teammates are doing as the players remain mobile and gain an understanding of the importance of maintaining the principles of attacking, defending, and the transition between the two. There is a more complex understanding of defensive shape, with cover being provided wherever the ball is, as well as attacking support and movement; however the fundamental goals of attacking and defending remain unchanged from the 4v4 model.

Both workshops are delivered over a 3-hour period and are inclusive to all club coaches in the sense that the SSGs can be utilised at training and on match days, no matter where their players are on the player development pathway.

In 2013 and 2014 over 1,000 of these workshops were delivered free of charge to grassroots coaches acroass Ireland within participating clubs, and this will be continued throughout 2015.