SOCCER IS FUN!
Back to Tips
The most important thing to remember is that kids should have fun with Soccer.
It is not important whether you win or lose at this age.
These first years lay the foundation for the rest of their life. If they don't have fun, they will not stick with it.
AS A COACH
Teach the kids to use both feet equally well.
We are all naturally right footed or left footed, but there is no reason that we cannot learn to kick equally well with both feet. Spend some time in each practice, kicking only with the weaker foot (for most kids, the left one). It is a huge advantage to be able to pass and shoot well with both feet.
Teach the kids how to properly kick the ball with the inside of the foot, and the instep of the foot (where the shoe laces are tied). There are other ways to kick the ball, but these are the only two that kids (and most adults) need. The inside of the foot pass is used for precise short and medium length passes and the instep is used for longer passes and hard shots.
-Let the kids use the soccer ball in almost all the practice drills. The kids develop most of their skills between the age of 6-12, so the more drills they do with the ball, the better they will become. (By the time kids reach 15, virtually 100% of their ball skills have been developed, so the first few years are crucial)
Spending time juggling the ball with your feet (picture above) is the best way to develop ball skills.
When the kids start out, they may only be able to kick the ball 1,2, or 3 time before it touches the ground. That is fine. All great players started out this way. They key is to work on it every day, in practice and especially on their own.
They should try to kick it as many times as possible, using the right foot and thigh only, without letting the ball touch the ground. Then they should do the same thing with the left foot and thigh. Then again, using both the right and left feet and thighs. Then try to head the ball as many times as possible. All of these drills will develop better touch, balance and skill. Doing it over and over again is the key, even when they get older.
Another great way of developing better ball control is to have a partner who tosses you the ball 1-2 feet above the ground and try to volley (kick the ball while in the air) back to the player who tossed it to you without the ball hitting the ground. In the picture to the left, you can see this drill. The player kicking the ball can do it 10 times with the right foot, and 10 times with the left foot and then the other player does the same volleying drill.
-Don't worry too much about formations, systems and tactics.
Give each kid a basic idea of where you want them to play and let them play. You can use the half time during games to give additional instructions. Too much sideline instructions (shouting) during the game will just make it harder for them.
-Teach the kids to respect their Coach, their teammates, their opponent and the Referees.
-Teach the kids to 'lose gracefully'.
Everyone who plays soccer on a team will lose many games over the years. The best players in the world all hate to lose, but they have learned to do it gracefully, thanking the opponent for a game well played and the Referee for a job well done.
Soccer is FUN remember !
Kids at every level will play much better and have a much better time if the comments are positive. If there are certain things they should do differently, use the half time to calmly give them new instructions, and spend a few minutes after the game to go over what the team did well and not so well. It is important to point out what needs to be improved and what the team needs to work on to make those improvements. But do it in a positive and constructive manner.
Last Updated: 09/23/2003