Dealing with players who aren't physically strong and agressive

My U16 team has recently been promoted from division 2 to division 1. The big differenece I have noticed is that div 1 players are physically bigger, fitter, quicker & stronger.  This has resulted in us copping some heavy defeats. My philosophy is to always concentrate on the priciples of play and in particular what the boys do with the ball at their feet.

My team are a really nice set of kids (which is odd for U16s) however I feel this results in them being quiet & timid at times. I get a lot of comments form the sidelines that they need to be stronger & more agressive, which is not really in thier nature.

I really don't want to turn my sessions into strength & conditioning sessions as I strongly beleive that the team should be getting time on the ball rather than weight training & hill sprints.

My thinking is that I should stick to my principles and accept that the heavy defeats are part & parcel of the boys devleopment and design my sessions to cope with some of the game related scenarios, where we have been physically outmuscled. e.g. we have struggled defending corners and crosses into the box, therefore I've designed a session where we work on defending from wide areas with lots of 1-1s, marking & positioning.

I don't think I will have been the first coach to have ever come across this. Who has had any experiecne of this  and what approach did you take to solve this?

  • hi Paul

    the last webinar about challenging is a good listen if you havent already.

    i found in the last 2 yrs as u15's 16's alot of teams seemed stronger than ours.

    it just meant a bit more coaching in technique and scanning skills.

    can you make yourself bigger on the ball?

    is your body shape right to make a tackle?

    is your head up to scan to pass or recieve quicker?

    can you win the foul?

    what are your strengths and weaknesses?