Thursday, July 18, 2024


. - Thursday, September 17, 2009

Why small-sided games (3v3)

Young players have limited ability to conceptualize abstractly. Young players think in terms of 1 to 2 degrees of separation from themselves. Children enjoy participation more than observation. From the ages of 4 – 8 the soccer ball represents a toy that belongs to them! It’s about playing and having fun. Research shows that seeing oneself improve is a large component of fun for youth players. With increased time on ball in small-sided, children are more likely to see improvement on the ball. The fewer the players on the field, the more players will get to touch the ball. The more players touch the ball, the more skillful they will become. As skills grow, enjoyment increases.

At this age, we want to distance young players from the external pressure of the adult game and foster younger players to enjoy the game for its intrinsic value, not winning and losing. The aim of the St.Bart’s Academy program is to have fun and progressively challenge young players in the fundamentals of the game.

Educational Development  

Learning is dependent on repeated exposure. The more players touch the ball the quicker their individual technical skill develops. Likewise tactical development is matured in 3v3 games where players are forced to problem solve more often than 6v6, 7v7, 8v8, etc… Players will develop the most when faced with reasonably difficult problems and have repeated exposure to similar problems.

Small-sided games allow younger players to be more involved in playing the game. Playing offense and defense is critical for young soccer players and introduces them to transitional play. The small-sided field space allows players to be more physically efficient in which they are playing and in turn creates more goal scoring opportunities thereby producing more excitement for the players.

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