I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite simple, easy, and fun soccer drills – best practices – for typical kids around 6-8 years old or for older kids with disabilities. Having coached youth soccer – in a typical league shadowing a child with autism, as well as a Special Olympics team – I found these ideas and drills to work pretty well for all the kids.
Coaching youth soccer is the greatest! I can’t wait to coach kids of my own someday. Have fun!
- Start out informally having kids shoot on goal with coach in goal trying to stop shots and/or do a lap.
- Sit down in a circle.
- Discuss rules:
- Try your best.
- Help your friends (pass the ball, cheer them on, point them in the right direction if they don’t understand).
- Ask questions if you don’t understand. Let the coach know if you need a water break.
- If you get nervous or frustrated, take deep breaths or count to 10.
- Have fun!
- Do warm-up exercises.
- Vote on team name (possibly a new one each practice or game).
- Partners - Everyone gets a partner and kicks the ball back and forth 25 times with each other, trapping the ball.
- Red Light, Green Light
Follow the leader - Form three lines, each with a leader. The leaders dribble the ball, zig zag, go any way they want, and players follow the leaders.
- First without the ball – everyone gets in a line side by side and the coach says green for run, yellow for walk, and red for stop.
- Then have them do the same thing, each dribbling a ball.
- You can have one or two players shout out the colors instead of the coach.
Shots on Goal - Get in two lines in front of the goal. One line passes to the other line which then shoots. Then they switch lines. Players can take turns being goalies.
Circle – Everyone gets in a circle and passes to someone in the circle. The player in the middle tries to steal the ball and if he or she does, then the person who last touched it goes into the middle.
Dribbling - Dribble through cones, zig zagging. Players cheer the player with the ball. “Let’s go Johnny,” clap, clap, clap clap clap. “Let’s go Mary,” clap, clap, clap clap clap…
Sharks and Minnows – (This is a little advanced – you can try it toward the end of season). Players (minnows) get in a line side by side and the coach or coaches (sharks) try to kick a ball at the players as they run from one end of the field to another. Players who get hit with the ball become sharks. Keep doing it until there is only one minnow left.
At the end have everybody shake hands.
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