As an update, we are still doing 4v4s and the kids are doing great. Much thanks to Jason Babcock, we have our group of boys playing 4v4 for 30-45 minutes twice per week. Jason has added some fun twists too–
1. Adding a box in the center of the play area that cannot be entered;
2. Adding a neutral in the box in the center (must be played to before shot);
3. Adding neutrals on each end with 4 goals (2 on each corner) — neutral must be used prior to shot;
And, at the same time, we encourage the boys to maintain a diamond shape, move around, and have fun with it. The interest level in the game is very high (from my perspective of the kids’ participation). They are getting lots of touches on the ball, lots of possession, and learning the game. Here are a couple of other thoughts:
Switching the Field – length 20 yards, width 40 yards, 4 goals
If you want to work on switching the field, make the 4v4 short and wide with 4 goals (on the wide sides). In other words, the goals are only 20 yards apart while the pitch is 40 yards wide. Let them play. It will get crowded very quick. Encourage the attacking team to place one player near the other goal (this is why a wide pitch is great). This will emphasize possession in confined areas and force the kids to look for avenues away from pressure — in this case , near the other goal. You are effectively teaching them to switch the field.
Basic Game – length 40 yards, width 20 yards, 2 goals
The basic 4v4 game is opposite the one above. This is the setup we use (primarily).