Soccer, a game of precision and athleticism, requires hard work, determination and the ability to work with a team. Practice is essential for a team to excel, so making the drills fun, team oriented and competitive will help maintain the children’s interest while teaching the required skills. The children need to be active throughout practice to hold their interest. Another goal is to give young children a positive taste during their early experiences with soccer so they’ll have more of an appreciation for the game.
Make a grid that is approximately 25 yards by 30 yards. Adjust this up or down according to the ages and experience of the players. The players should line up on one side, with the coaches in the middle of the area. Each coach should have several soccer balls. When the head coach blows a whistle, all the players should run to the other side of the grid, while the coaches throw the balls at them, aiming from the knees down. The players should try to avoid the balls as they run. The players who are hit will join the coaches in the middle, throwing balls at the remaining players.
Using cones, mark off a 20 yard by 20 yard practice area. Each player on the team gets a ball and lines up on one side of the field. The coach yells instructions, and all of the players must do what he tells them to do. Before he begins, he should demonstrate so the children know what is expected of them. There are several basic commands the coach can start with. “Go” means to start dribbling the ball toward the other side. “Stop” indicates it’s time to stop the ball by putting one foot on it. “Slow” means to dribble slowly. “Speed up” or “accelerate” means to go faster. The coach can tell the players to “turn right,” “turn left,” “reverse” or whatever the teams needs work on. As the players dribble the ball toward the other side of the field, they need to be aware of the other players and not run into them. If they intentionally run into other players, the coach may send them to a penalty area outside the cones and instruct them to dribble a lap.
Very young children will enjoy a freeze drill. Mark off a 20-yard-by-20-yard area and choose one child to be “it.” The other players will each dribble their own balls around “it” while trying to keep the ball away from him. “It” should attempt to touch the other players’ balls, and when he does, the player freezes with his foot on the ball. When players’ balls go out of bounds, they freeze. The next “it” is the last player who remains not frozen.
About this Author
Debby Mayne was managing editor of “Coping with Cancer” magazine and writer for HSN. More than 400 of her short stories and articles and 25 novels and novellas have been published. She has received the “Top Pick” award with Romantic Times with 4-1/2 stars. Debby judges competitions for Writers Digest. Her degree is in Health, PE and Recreation from the University of Southern Mississippi.