The other day a dad whose oldest daughter is on my daughters rec team asked me what are 3 beginner soccer drills he should be doing with this youngest girls u7 team each week. This guy is a varsity basketball coach for a 6-A high school, so he knows the importance of training and reps. I wanted to give him and you a guide on what drills you should do at least 80% of your practices and how to teach the kids how to think. A strong mindset plays a big role in sports and most athletes need to be reminded to train with a purpose… That is to try your best to improve each day.
“The best players are usually the ones who spend time alone with the ball.”
3 dribbling drills you should do every practice
The 3 drills below are great for ALL ages!
Whether it’s age 6 rec players or pros, it’s something players should always do.
3 dribbling drills to do every week:
- “In and outs”… Using one foot, take 1 touch in and 1 touch out – with 1 step between each touch.
- Two touches with the inside and two touches with the outside of the foot.
- Using both feet takes 1 touch with the right and then 1 with the left… Notice that the player takes 3 steps between each touch, to get on the other side of the ball. Bonus: Coming back, watch how the player takes an extra touch with each foot. So, 2 left and 2 with the right.
A good warm up with the ball to wake up the feet are foundations.
Watch the video below – you can go all 4 directions…
1 touch passing – best beginner soccer drills
By far one of the best drills to do for ALL ages is 1 touch passing.
In this try to use both feet and pass with the inside of the foot only… It’s not that outside is bad, but in this players need to be able to adjust and pass with both feet.
- 3-5 yards apart. Three yards will force the players to react faster because the ball comes back immediately.
- 10-15 yards won’t give you as many reps, but it’s important to practice these also. It’s much harder to be as accurate compared to the 5 yard passes.
In the pros, most of their passes are between 7 and 12 yards…
Youth teams don’t possess the ball as well, which results in more kickball… The reason is because they’re not as good at passing, obviously.
Teaching mentality to kids
Some kids naturally know the importance of repetition, while others need to be reminded every other week.
It’s good to use stories or other hobbies to get their attention…
Example: Piano is something that nobody is natural at, it takes lots of practice. Then even the best pianists go over the basics every single session. Or college/pro basketball players doing the same layup drills as 10 year olds…
Kids can’t have the mindset of “I already know how to do this.” Instead they need to think “I know this, but to stay sharp and keep improving, I need to do it every week.”
“If the rookies want to train with me in the off-season, cool, but they will get bored because I work on the basics for hours.” – Kobe Bryant
Beginner soccer drills to introduce vs do consistently
There’s a difference when it comes to drills you should do often compared to ones you might only do a few times per season.
Coaching is tough because there is so much to teach…
Players need to learn a balance of different skills, tactics, terms and phrases.
The drills listed above are things to do every week, whereas the things to introduce are below.
Skills/terms to introduce:
- Flicks with head and feet [videos]
- 4 best ways to strike with power
- Terms and phrases
- Advanced footskills
- 1st touch out of the air
- Headers and chest control
- Turning different ways [dribbling and receiving]
- Change of direction drills
“Practicing at home give you a BIG advantage over your competition.”
3 stories you have to read
2 stories of players who went from rec or sitting the bench on select at age 11 to getting college scholarships by age 16.
Jillian started training with me [small groups, camps and privates] at different times…
She also got my online ball control courses…
So I would train her in-person for 2-3 months, then she’d stay home and do the ball control courses on her own.
After I didn’t see her for 3-4 months over the Summer, I was shocked at how good she became by practicing on her own at home every day while her parents were at work.
Recently she committed to D1 college soccer at Boise State.
Amanda only played 3 seasons [1.5 years] of club/select soccer her whole life…
She would play rec in the fall and spring, then do Summer and Winter indoor leagues which were mostly club teams.
In addition, she would practice at home in the living room 5/7 days a week.
From age 10 – 13 she did private lessons with me 4 months of the year, my ball control courses and a few Summer 4 day camps.
Now she is committed to play D1 college soccer in Houston.
Matt grew up in a small town, at age 14 he was still playing rec… After doing a 5 day camp with me he learned what to practice when on his own…
He practiced non-stop and each year went up a level traveling 2 hours to Dallas to play club soccer.
After HS, he ended up playing college soccer for a small school in Arkansas…
Gotta love stories like these!
“If we can teach kids the importance of playing at home or the park, you’ll see lots of great development and love for the ball.”
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