Quoting Manchester United’s Assistant Academy Director, Tony Whelan, “Seven to ten is the golden age of learning, so we work on their technique at a young age." At Real Madrid, stagnation occurs when “games of interest” are shelved for overly-complicated drills and activities. In both academies, the philosophy is carried out patient consistency. Young players are not young adults.
In observing top academy training sessions, it’s clear coach talking is held to a consistent minimum. When coaches calculate the amount of time they talk while during stoppages of play, much can be derived from practiced habit. There’s a valuable phrase, “Coaches can say a million things by saying nothing at all”. Observation is much more effective than a constant stream of white noise play-by-play on behalf of the coach.
Extra players can serve as “bumpers” or play 2 v 2 or 3 v 3 in a smaller, adjacent, area.