Coaching Recommendations to Avoid High Scoring Games

Junior football tends to produce high scoring games, this is part of the enjoyment and as a result of the development phase of these young players, lots of exploration, lots of mistakes = lots of goals. Good competitive games may result in 4-1s, 6-4s, 7-3s even an 8-2 or a 10-3 could be a competitive Junior game but when the score line is finishing in the double digits e.g 12-0s etc it is not beneficial to any of the players . Massively one sided games are of no benefit to anybody (Club, Coach, Player, Parent), the stronger team tend to become bored and don’t have a relevant challenge, the weaker team can become embarrassed, disinterested and potentially drop out of the game – NO goal difference exists within the Junior grades so please be aware of this and limit the massively 1 sided score lines.

There is a great article here which outlines some of the issues with this.

Within the younger grades the leagues/ divisions are deliberately ‘not graded’ as per NZF Junior Framework guidelines, alongside that we encourage clubs to have non graded teams within the early stages of development also – however we are aware that a number of clubs have graded teams from as young as 8 i.e. As, Bs, Cs. As this is the case see the below suggestions that may limit massive score lines, we are advising using these suggestions below if the goal difference between the teams gets past 7 goals.


If you are introducing any of the below suggestions please communicate with the players:

  • The dominant coach should communicate to his/ her players that due to the score line they will have a new challenge (i.e. new condition as below). Within these suggestions avoid limitations such as X player can’t score, this would only serve to limit that individual player.


  • The coach of the non-dominant team should communicate similarly e.g. the opposition team today are very strong and we will set some new challenges to have  a more competitive game.


While communicating to the players please avoid being derogatory towards the opposition players or coaches. We should still encourage all players to enjoy the game and do their best, the intention of the below suggestions is to create a more competitive game for all of the players on both teams.


Suggestions to one sided, high scoring games:


  • 1.) Review the playing numbers
      • The dominant team withdraw 1 player and play 1 player down = 7v6 or 9v8
      • If the team remain dominant add a player for the non-dominant team = 8v6, 10v8
      • If you play 11v11 withdraw to 11v10 and then 11v9 if needed. (Avoid adding players to the 11v11 format)


  • 2.) Set new targets, tasks for the most dominant player(s).
      • only score with non-dominant foot
      • only score with a first time finish
      • encourage to bring teammates into play as well as dribbling and finishing


  • 3.) Mix the 2 Teams:
      • If the score is racking up and the suggestions above don’t work please be willing to mix the teams and play out the time as a training/ friendly match.
        • Split the most dominant players and play out the remaining time as a training/ friendly match.