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Youth Football Coaching – Support Play

On this page you can watch a youth football coaching video on support play: Access an animated 3D youth football coaching drill on the principles of support play: Print out a chalkboard football coaching session and a download a PDF, all designed to help football coaches improve their skill of coaching youth football players in support play.

Please take the time to access this youth football coaching information on support play and to watch the Tour Videos to fully appreciate what a membership to Grassrootscoaching.com offers.

Youth Football Coaching – Support Play 

Whenever a team has possession the player on the ball will always need several support options. They will need support behind the ball, both to be able to recycle the ball backwards and keep possession and also as a defensive shield in case the ball is lost. They will need support to the side and forward of their position with the ball.

When coaching youth football players, it is important that the player on the ball always has more than one support option wherever possible.  The support around the ball could be for passes into space or for passes to feet. Once the ball has been passed, the next player on the ball will also need support, so support players around the ball will constantly need to be adjusting their support positions. The support play will also require the player passing the ball to move after the pass to provide support options.

Support players should also look to create space for themselves to be able to better receive a pass. If, for example there is an opponent between the support player and the ball, the support player will have to work hard to find a new support position so that the opponent is no longer between the ball and themselves.

Key coaching factors for youth football coaching, will include focussing on the the timing, angle and distance of the support. Support too late for the player on the ball and the passing opportunity will be covered by an opponent, support too early and the opponents will have time to react to the static support player. Support too close to the player on the ball, things get tight and complicated, too far away there is a danger of the pass being intercepted. The angle of support and the body position of the supporting player also play a part in the key factors of support. 

Youth football players should also be encouraged to use effective communication. Players who give clear and concise information can dramatically improve the support around the ball process. As can support players who use body language or hand signals to assist the player on the ball when supporting.

Tips for coaching youth football players to improve support play

  • Youth Football Coaching Tip 1 -The support players should look to create space for themselves or team mates to assist the player on the ball. 
  • Youth Football Coaching Tip 2 – More than one support position. Recognition of when to support behind the ball and when to support in front of the ball
  • Youth Football Coaching Tip 3 - Support players should take a supporting position where the passer on the ball can see them easily. Support players will also need to be able to adjust their support positions, so that ideally there are no opponents between themselves and the player on the ball.
  • Youth Football Coaching Tip 4 - Good timing, angles and distance of support. Support players should time their support runs and look to get in a position that provides the best support distance and angle for the player on the ball. 
  • Youth Football Coaching Tip 5 - Good communication between the players, verbally and with body language. Communication from the support player can make a huge difference to the quality of the support.
  • Youth Football Coaching Tip 6 - Readjustment of support positions. As the ball moves, so will the support positions for the player on the ball. Players will constantly need to be moving to provide different support positions.

Watch videos

Watch the video to understand and structure drills on coaching youth football players on support play.

Videos: Football coaching | Youth Football | Coaching

See animated drill

This is a 3D animated youth football coaching drill taken from the members' area of Support Play. The title is "2 v 2 support and play with floaters"

Football coaching | Youth Football | Animated drills


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