Johan Cruyff: Developing Players Under 10

Johan Cruyff depicts in his book “Futbol: mi filosofia” the areas to consider when developing youth players.

This post addresses the work to be performed with children 10 and under.

Videos and images created in the sports software TacticalPad (follow this link to obtain the Free Trial Demo).

Areas to consider till the age 10:

  • The more technically gifted players will play in the starting 11 in the future;
  • The youngsters get more out of playing;
  • We must little by little get the youngster to get used to play as a team;
  • We must stop gently those who love to dribble and encourage those who are timid so they dribble more often.
  • We must form the youngsters pedagogically without making comparisons amongst them.

Considering Johan Cruyff’s guidance we show below some of the exercises through which the youngsters will develop their relationship with the ball, but always in a game since children love to apply in their play-games.

(1) “The Escape”:


A Fuga


  • In the space depicted above, we place a player in center of the diamond formed by the red cones.  The remainder players also with the ball, place themselves between the red cones and yellow cones.
  • At the Coach’s signal, the “external” players must place themselves in the clock-direction or counter-clockwise, moving the ball with indicated body surface (right foot, left foot), while the “interior” player must also move but in the opposite direction.
  • When the Coach signals again the “external” players must carry the ball as fast as possible towards one of the goals, marked by the red poles.  The “external” players try to reach the goal before the “interior” player impedes him from crossing the goal line with the ball.  If the “interior” player is successful he exchanges functions with the “external” player.


(2) “Fast Field Exchange”:


Troca de Campo Veloz


  • Two even groups on each side of the big box.  In each space all players but one have a ball. The player without a ball tries to steal a ball from a team mate;
  • The player who loses possession either because it was taken by the player without the ball or by losing it out of bounds must try to win a ball back from a different player and so forth;
  • At Coach’s signal all players in possession carry the ball to the opposite space. The player without a ball stays put.  This player tries to get ball from one of the players that comes from the other side. If he can’t he will get the ball from the last player to cross the edge of the box.  The player without the ball tries to get a ball from a different player.


(3) “The Pursuit”:


A Perseguição


  • The team is divided in groups of two.  Each twosome utilizes a triangular space with the vertices 10 meters apart. Each player has a ball
  • At the Coach’s signal the players carry the ball around the external side of the triangle.  The orange 10 tries to catch the red 10.
  • The player “running away” may carry the ball in both directions so not to be caught by its pursuer. We limit the time the pursuer much catch the opponent.  Thereafter the players exchange functions.



Pedro Mendonça


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By Pedro Mendonça

About Pedro Mendonça: Real Madrid Foundation - Football Coach/Professor. UEFA B Football Coach. Physical Education Teacher. Author of: "Tactical Periodization: A Practical Application for the Game Model of FC Bayern Munich"

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