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AYSO Curriculum Overview

Graduated Approach to Learning Soccer

AYSO operates a graduated approach to learning soccer, matching skills development, field size, goal size, simplified rules and reduced-sized teams to age-appropriate physical and mental development of the players. Special care is taken to nurture fun, participation, belonging, love of the game, skills development and teamwork, over winning.

Our programs are about playing, and learning through playing. Our goal is that all players play at least 75% of each game, and play time on the team be balanced over the season. This is true in both our Instructional and our Competitive Programs.
Offered in the Fall and in the Spring, the Instructional Program is open to all boys and girls between the ages of 2 and 18. There are no tryouts for the Instructional Program. Interest and enthusiasm are the only criteria for instruction and playing. We welcome any level of experience to join, from beginners to advanced. 

Starting at U10 we offer a competitive track alongside the Instructional track for players that want to excel with stronger training and competition. These teams will play other competitive teams from AYSO and clubs, and in tournaments around the greater Bay Area. Participation on the competitive teams requires succeeding at a tryout. Generally, the principals of play and instruction are advanced by 1 division, meaning that U10 competitive players are being introduced to U12 instructional elements, as well as U10 elements.



Teaching Methods

P.I.E. - Positive Instruction and Encouragement
This concept is so important to AYSO's coaching philosophy, it was written into the National Rules and Regulations.  PIE should always be used too instruct and motivate players.

Say, Show, Do and Review
This method is effective for teaching any age group.  We follow these four steps;
  1. Say: Explain the skill or technique
  2. Show: Demonstrate the skill or technique
  3. Do; Have players perform the skill or technique
  4. Review: Review, correct and confirm the proper technique
Keeping explanations and demonstration brief helps young children stay engaged.

See, Show, Say
This process is used in conjunction with the Say, Show, Do and Review method, observing and correcting players.
  1. See: Coaches observe players' performances, looking to see if the skils, tactics and strategies they have learned are being properly utilized and executed on teh field.  Observation is a silent activity, and entails patiently taking notes while playing.
    1. Make notes (written) on what players are doing
    2. Make notes on the positive outcomes
    3. Make a (one) note on how they can improve
    4. Through the act of seeing, without speaking or directing, focus on analyzing the players.  This analysis becoems the basis for the Show.
  2. Show: Consists of two complementary parts: description and demonstration.
    1. Description: involves briefly telling the players of their execution; then provide them with attainable modification to correct one or two deficits.  This is called analysis and application.  Don't describe every error or apply every remedy.
    2. Demonstration:  show what modification the player can employ to improve their technique most effectively.
  3. Say:  Once the player is executing correctly, let them know.  Say it out loud, so everyone can hear.




Principles of Play 
Introduced as a Player Advances

These principles are additive, and in each step a principle that was introduced in prior years is increased in complexity and scope, in addition to introducing a new principle.

5 Principles of Play


 Attacking DefendingIntroduced
Penetration Delay  U5/U6
Depth -Width  Depth -BalanceU8
Mobility  Concentration U10
 Creativity Composure

 U12
In Kickers, U3 & U4, focus is on physical awareness and fitness. Using soccer and other props such as tunnels, bridges and parachutes, Kickers have fun learning to run with a ball, cooperate in organized play and develop gross motor skills.

In Kinder, U5 & U6, players are introduced to dribbling, kicking, throw-ins and the soccer field.  Players develop keeping a ball and challenging for a ball.

In U8 Fall Instructional Program, the players are on double-sized teams, and on game day the team splits in half and plays on two adjacent fields against another team that is also split in half.  On alternating weeks they split as balanced strength teams, alternating with strength split.  This gives the best all-around experience to the players, permitting all of them to participate in games with a balanced range of ability on their teams one week, and for the other week, less strong players compete with each other, while strong players are removed to play a game by themselves, against other strong players.  All players of different skill levels benefit by getting more participation, more touches on the ball and broader exposure to skill levels.

Moving up to U10 is a big step, where the full laws, including the offside law, is applied.  Referees use the 3-man diagonal system with a center-ref and two assistant refs to run the touch lines and watch for offside play, fouls, and accuracy in calling plays.

Also at U10 a competitive track is introduced, with higher training and game requirements. Players must tryout to participate in the competitive track, matched against other AYSO competitive teams, club, and tournaments around the greater Bay Area. 

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