We are often asked what drills work best as soccer drills for kids. It is a tough question. There are many drills and practices published online and in books, and good coaches adapt these to the needs of their own teams.
But there are principles which can be applied to any drill and which are essential if we are to get the most out of young players.
Drills need to be:
- Simple to understand
- Involve problem solving
- Short and dynamic
Young players are there because they love the game; they want that love to be enhanced which means enjoying themselves. Their concentration span is limited, so drills must be quick to learn and very active. No long periods of listening to instruction or waiting for their turn.
We want our players to develop mental strength, and to be able to think for themselves. Therefore, drills should be ones that involve them in thinking, rather than simply replicating the coaches moves or instructions.
With these criteria in mind, here are our top three drills to use with kids.
Number One: Individual Skills
Let us start with a great warm up drill, with lots of action, a bit of fun and one which helps to develop good technique.
All that is needed is an area (the penalty area of a pitch works well), lots of balls and some bibs. Players simply dribble around in the area, avoiding contact with teammates. The coach encourages close control and heads up. Then, the drill develops as a player is added as a ‘tackler’. When he or she kicks a ball out of the marked area, the tackled player joins them, doubling the number of defenders. And so on until just one player is left, and this is the winner.
Players develop good close control and learn to keep their heads up while dribbling.
Number Two: Shooting
What is better than scoring a goal? This drill is fast paced and simple. It is easily adapted to develop further skills, such as shooting with the weaker foot.
Simply, it works as follows: There are two goalkeepers who alternate between shots. Three cones mark the playing region for the drill. The ball is passed from player one to player two. Then player two lays off to player three who either shoots, or returns a pass to player one, who shoots.
Player one then moves to the first cone, player two to the second cone, and player three joins the back of the short line. The next player in the line delivers the first pass.
Number Three: Simple Rondo
Rondo drills help to develop touch and speed and are the building blocks towards good technique. They feature two sides weighted in numbers towards the side practicing the skill being developed. Simple 5 v 2 possession games help to develop this. The drills can be developed by adding rules, such as in the example below where the ball must be passed each time to the player in yellow.
Movement and communication develop, as does first touch and sympathetic passing. Attacking players learn to think ahead, so they can be in position to receive not just the next pass, but the ones after that. Meanwhile, the defenders learn to work together to maximize their efficiency.
These are great drills for kids and are particularly good because they can become the basis for more advanced drills. Since the players already know the fundamentals of the drill, more complex variations are more easily learned and understood. For more good drills for kids, check out the link below:
If you like this blog post, you’ll like our book on Soccer Drills for Kids. Click the link below to learn more.