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Small Sided Games

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Small Sided Games

Information on Football West website including team leader and instructing referee resources: Football Australia Site - make sure you grab the various PDF Files listed at this site.

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Small Sided Games in the Goldfields

  • 5 Years (and Under), 6 Years (and Under), 7 Years (and Under) - as 4 players versus 4 players games without goalkeepers.

  • 8 Years (and Under), 9 Years (and Under) - as 7 players versus 7 players games with a goal keeper each.

  • 10 Years (and Under), 11 Years (and Under) - as 9 players versus 9 players games with a goal keeper each.

These Smaller Pitches and Teams are to encourage "moving into space" and "controlled passing", and to discourage the uncontrolled "big kick".

Goalkeepers and Small Sided Games

The omission of goalkeepers in the 5 Years (and Under), 6 Years (and Under) and 7 Years (and Under) age groups is a point of contention for parents, clubs and players alike.

Goalkeeping is a uniquely specialized position, where typically players develop as keepers at a later age. Most keepers play as field players first before converting to keeping, therefore it is vital that young children are taught field and foot skills before they are taught keeping techniques.

The role of the 'keeper has changed dramatically in recent years, with the changes to the back-pass rule and in tactics where keepers are used as a 2nd sweeper, meaning all goal keepers need to be proficient footballers too.

In the younger age groups, goal keepers can be uninvolved for long periods of the game, leading to boredom, and feeling as though they are not a part of both the team and the game itself. This contradicts the main principles of the Small Sided Games Format, where the emphasis is on fun, enjoyment, player development and learning through playing, where none of these are achieved by a young player in this scenario.

As football is just one of many sports played in Australia, many children grow up playing, or having experience in sports such as netball, cricket, basketball, the Rugby codes and AFL, even as far as playing handball at school. This means that children develop hand-eye skills much earlier and quicker. It is important therefore, that we develop our young footballers, as footballers first before they learn the art of goalkeeping.

To highlight this point Ante Covic (Socceroo and Newcastle Jets GK), started as a GK at age 16.

Paul Robinson Goal Size


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Last Updated: 9:47am 7th April 2014

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