An Introduction to Developmenal Fours

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This article is taken from United Soccer Academy's Developmental Fours Curriculum.  Contributed by Grant Findlay.

What is Developmental Fours?

Developmental Fours consists of a comprehensive range of innovative game-related practices involving 10 game-like variations to 4-a-side soccer. Each game-related practice aims to isolate and encourage the development of a specific set of skills commonly performed during participation (e.g. dribbling, passing, creative play).

Why Developmental Fours?

Street soccer, which encompasses a number of informal small-sided competitive games organized by children with a strong intrinsic motivation for the love of the game and a desire to experiment with skills and tricks, has always been the basic developer of the world’s most talent players. The ‘free playing’ environment created by street soccer leaves children to their own devices and thus enables them to practice skills and techniques without pressure and/or the fear of failure as well as encouraging them to decide upon their own solutions away from adult presence.

United Soccer Academy formulated and implemented the Developmental Fours program in an attempt to replicate street soccer and thus encourage more 1v1s, more goals scored, more decision making opportunities and much more fun. As a result, United Soccer Academy highly recommends Developmental Fours as an excellent teaching tool for the development of soccer players of all ages and abilities.

Is Developmental Fours just for young players?

In the simplest of terms, no! Developmental Fours can be used as an effective training tool for players of all ages and abilities, from children to adults.

Initially, Developmental Fours was designed to rear a ‘golden generation’ of technically, tactically and physically astute players by exposing them to a stimulating and highly competitive game-like environment during the ‘windows of opportunity’ at 7-14 years of age. It is widely acclaimed, however, that Sir Alex Ferguson, the world’s most successful ever soccer coach, regularly uses the Developmental Fours program as part of both Manchester United’s respective youth and first team training programs.

Click here to download the Developmental Fours Curriculum.