How to prevent a “blow-out” in AYSO Core Soccer

Keeping the score within a 5-goal difference
Coaches: Hopefully you have all had the unfortunate experience of being on the losing side of a blow-out or a slaughter. If you have, you’ll know that it really is no fun for you and even less fun for the kids. If you haven’t had this experience, then take our word for it: it’s no fun and it really isn’t a positive learning experience for either team. Moreover, a slaughter really flies in the face of AYSO principles and philosophies for the regular season.
Thus, as coaches, we must do everything in our power to prevent goal differences larger than 5. Remember: a win, is a win, is a win. Winning by 2 or winning by 6 doesn’t matter (unless you’re on the losing side of things).
So here are some suggestions for preventing a slaughter:
  • DO respect the other team (the coaches, the players, the parents). This means that whatever advice you give your dominant team, make sure you do it in such a way that only your team gets the message. This means it needs to be done at an official break in the action (i.e., quarter or half). If you already know your team is very likely to dominate, you can mention some strategies even before the game.
  • DO plan ahead. If it is obvious your team is dominant, begin employing respectful strategies BEFORE you reach a 5-goal difference. You should know if your team is 3 goals up based on “luck” or “dominance”. If it’s dominance, start using the strategies when you’re only 3 goals up; don’t wait until the difference is 5. (If you wait until you’re 5 goals up and then you’re weakest player scores with the left foot, it’s now 6 goals up. And then the other team accidentally scores on themselves, now it’s 7, …). So plan ahead!
  • DO continue to challenge your players AND the other team:


  • all shots must be with the left foot (but don’t make it obvious)
  • no shots should be taken unless we’ve completed 6 passes in a row (but don’t make it obvious)
  • only those players who haven’t scored in the past 3 games can score now (but don’t make it obvious)
  • no dribbling, only 2-touch play (but don’t make it obvious)
  • all shots must come from outside the penalty area (but don’t make it obvious)
  • give different players different opportunities on the field
  • have your weaker players challenging the other team’s strongest players
  • if you’ve got a great goalkeeper, don’t play them in goal
  • remember: if the other team scores, THAT’S GOOD!! (but don’t give the goal away)
There are other ways to challenge your team while not running up the score. These are just a few suggestions. Feel free to ask other coaches and our Regional Coach Administrator for more suggestions.
The bottom line is this: Be respectful. No one likes to lose big.