Great Soccer Drills for Kids

Well-designed soccer drills for kids keep them interested, while improving their skills and fitness.

There are some important considerations when you're planning youth soccer drills. Read these before you begin.

Why Soccer Suits Kids, and Why It Doesn't

Soccer is great for kids, because all they need is footwear and enthusiasm. Soccer is also a great way to improve a child's fitness. They improve their conditioning without even knowing they are fitness training. These are the benefits of soccer drills for kids.

Fun Soccer Drills for Kids
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Just chasing a ball, doing dribbling and passing, improves their leg and core strength, balance, hand-eye co-ordination, and many other benefits.

Soccer is also lousy for kids if training sessions are not well-designed. Under no circumstances should you arrange 11-a-side games with a full pitch. Too often, the kids will be standing around waiting for something to happen. It leads to boredom and cold muscles, and does little to improve confidence and skill levels.

Five-a-side games are much more involving. The goals are smaller, the pitches are shorter, so the kids get many more touches of the ball, and they get much more out of each training session.

Fun Defensive Soccer Drills For Kids

Kids' soccer tends to be a big crowd around wherever the ball is, and run, kick and hope. One way to give your team of kids a strong advantage is to work on positional sense.

Four Square

A good team begins with a solid defense. So this drill will help your kids learn not to drift out of their chosen position, which will help keep the team's shape on the pitch.

Line up the kids in a five-a-side format, with two defensive and two offensive players in a square in front of the goalkeeper. Now shout “attack” or “defend”. The team must maintain their square shape. Players should move as a unit, not individuals.

Start out slowly, then gradually speed up the movement. When they break their shape, stop and explain why it's important not to lose your sense of position in relation to the other players.

One on One Tackling Drill

Set up a narrow rectangle and line up two rows of kids in the middle of one edge. One kid runs to each end of the rectangle, and the coach passes to one of them at random.

The other player must fairly tackle the child with the ball. If the ball leaves the rectangle or the tackler dispossesses them, the attacker loses.

This drill improves close control and tackling, as well as physical fitness.

Goalkeeper Soccer Drill For Kids

This timeless method improves a keeper's fitness, reaction time, and recovery time.

Choose one goalkeeper and one attacker. Have the attacker stand about eight feet away from the goal. Now he should attempt to place (not blast) the soccer ball in one of the corners of the goal. It should not be an impossible save. The idea is to help the goalkeeper, not to score lots of times.

The keeper dives to save the ball, then, from the ground, they throw the ball back to the feet of the attacker. While the ball is moving back to the attacker, the keeper must recover their footing and prepare for the next shot.

We recommend sets of ten shots per keeper. Give them a rest after this, as it's a very intensive training method. For very young kids, you might want to have two or three attackers taking turns, as young kids can take a long time to control or recover the ball for the next shot.

Attacking drills for kids
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Fun Attacking Soccer Drills For Kids

Once you have drilled the importance of a solid foundation to your team, it's time to help them unleash their attacking skills!

World Cup

This is one of the most fun soccer drills for kids. They can play it at recess, or whenever they have spare time, as well as at the end of a training session, to end on a fun note.

The game is winner takes all. The keeper (you should choose a regular keeper, because they get a lot of time in goal) throws the ball randomly out. Every other child must choose a national team (Brazil, France, Spain etc.).

Each time a player scores, they go through to the “next round” of the World Cup. You can have them jog laps, or do close control drills, while they're waiting for the next round. The kid who fails to score in each round is eliminated.

There and Back

Set up a line of cones, spaced about three feet apart, and starting on the 18-yard line (or the penalty spot for younger players). Each player runs towards the cones and must control a pass from the coach.

Then they slalom through the cones, turn around, slalom back, and then shoot at goal. You can opt to keep the net empty, or give your goalkeeper extra training trying to stop each shot.

A Simple Soccer Shooting Drill

This is similar to the older game Headers and Volleys. Instead of crossing a high ball, the wide players (or coaches) pass the ball firmly along the ground.

Players line up on the 18-yard line. They must take turns to run on to the pass and hit their shot first-time into an empty net.

Add a goalkeeper if this is too easy, or move the players closer in if it proves too hard for younger players.

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