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U12 Characteristics of Player Development

Characteristics of Player Development

The U12 age group

The purpose of this curriculum is to help trainers and coaches understand the characteristics of this age group and then use age appropriate training sessions. Each weekly link is not a progression to the last one but will give you lots of ideas to make your training sessions enjoyable and fun.

The curriculum guidelines are meant to be flexible as all players of the same age are certainly not at the same developmental level. It is important we challenge all players at a level that befits their ability

The information is not solely based on observation and experience in soccer, but also on research and practice in psychology, child development, physiology, child education, and learning theory.

The MLU Technical Dept. hopes you will all use this curriculum to guide your teams and to help insure our players are being provided the best soccer environment possible.

Characteristics of the U12 Player:

  • Strength building activities require overloading muscles more than endurance
  • Activities – still too young for strength training
  • Flexibility training key to prevention of injury
  • High intensity programs that fail to stress skill development, learning and fun will produce overuse injuries, burnout and high attrition
  • Begin to develop abilities to sustain complex coordinated skill sequences
  • Increased ability to acquire and apply knowledge
  • Movement and abstract thought extend 360 degrees
  • Use of systematic approach to problem solving, game must present the opportunity to think creatively and solve problems while moving
  • More TV and video, less structured play
  • Spend more time with friends and less time with parents
  • Popularity influences self-esteem
  • Whether a child enters puberty early or late has important psychological effects
  • Susceptible to peer pressure
  • Developing conscience, morality and value scale


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