Each week parents email asking about soccer coaching tips. Oftentimes it’s for U7-U8, but also for middle school ages. Either way many of the tips are the same when it comes to technical training and phrases and terms to use. Below I have listed a practice plan to use throughout the season. Feel free to copy or adapt it. Note: This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.
Important technical drills and coaching tips
Teach them to use all parts of the feet and gently correct them when it’s wrong…
Not overly correcting, but let them know once or twice.
Be patient it will improve throughout the season(s).
The parts of the feet should be inside, outside, laces/top and sole/bottom.
When not focusing on form, make some drills a competition because kids of all ages love to compete!
- Stationary drills. Example: 20 seconds to see who can get the most toe taps and bells/foundations.
- Relay races with 3-5 teams, where they have to dribble as fast as they can around a cone 10 – 20 yards away and back. This will help them improve running with the ball – for better speed in open space.
Passing and First Touch:
- One touch passing 5 yards away with a partner
- Two – three touch passing 5, 10 and 20 yards away… This will help them improve trapping/first touch.
2 Team competition complete skill drill
A great drill for all ages and levels is one where there are several skill elements in 1 exercise.
- First team to 10 goals wins…
- Whether you have 8, 10, 12 players – it doesn’t matter… You’ll keep everyone moving and improving in many areas.
- When the 2nd [middle] player makes their first pass, teach them not to stand after. They need to pass and move, so that they can make the speed of play faster.
- On the final pass, instruct the players to pass in front of the teammate with proper weight – not too hard or soft.
- Make sure you motivate and encourage the kids when they hustle and make good plays.
Notice how this U-9 team improves as time goes by…
Yes, there are some bad passes [normal] but there are also great ones.
Kids LOVE competition!
It makes people work harder and have more fun.
“Kids want correction, but they also need encouragement… It motivates them to do their best and enjoy soccer.”
Introducing terms and tactics
Kids are smart, therefore they need to be introduced to these terms early…
The introduction is different from getting to know it well…
Some things the kids need to get to know well, while others just need to be introduced and worked on occasionally because there’s only so much time.
Get this soccer goal – it’s full size, packs into a small 4′ bag and only takes 2 mins to put up.
It’s been my goal of choice for the last 5 years.
Offensive terms to introduce
Important soccer terms to use:
- Through balls
- Checking to and away from the ball
- Give and goes
- Over laps and under laps
- Switch the field or change the field
“Teach players to love the ball and they’ll enjoy soccer even more.”
Coaching tips to help defensive strategy
- Pressure (pressure the player with the ball)
- Step (step to the ball) or Step Up means for your players to step up away from your own goal so there is not tons of space for the opponent to get an easy shot.
- Cover – means for your mids (midfielders) to run back and help the defense. It might be where they need to run behind their own defenders in case the opponent dribbling to the goal gets behind them. Cover might mean for the mid to get back and step in front of the opponent with the ball before they beat your own defender. Teaching kids to cover is important!
Read blog article how to step and cover + video
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