Early childhood development and the round ball are two inseparable friends. Wherever there is a baby in the house there would be at least a ball somewhere nearby. No wonder soccer is the most popular sport in the world. If you are serious about getting your kid to play soccer in the next 3 years then you will find that these 10 incredibly simple soccer drills for toddlers very useful.
Age Group: Under 3-Years-Old
So either way, your child will definitely benefit along with a lot of fun and quality parent-child engagement time.
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Here are some BRIEF milestones on your baby’s development and when to apply the drills:
Here are some coaching tips:
- Show your baby what to do
- Be patient
- Cheer your baby
- Have fun
I have spent many hours online hunting for toddler soccer drills and below is the list of ideal games.
I also listed my sources at the end of this post so that you can check them out yourselves, they are all excellent websites on baby development.
Ok, without further ado, let’s dive right in:
1. First Kick
Age: 8 Months
The aim is to allow your baby to “kick” the ball with your help. It may be slow at first but after a few tries and cheers from you, your baby will get the hang of it.
Place a ball on the floor.
You sit or kneel on the floor and hold your baby in a standing position with his legs facing the ball. Slowly move your baby towards the ball and urge him to kick it.
As soon as he made his first touch you move your baby to the ball again. Always cheer your baby when he kicks the ball. Repeat.
The ball should be big enough not to miss when kicking and also soft so as not to hurt your baby’s foot.
Age: +12 Months
This is a simple training that only requires a laundry basket and a few balls.
Your baby can sit down next to the laundry basket and fill it with the balls.
After all the balls have been put in the basket your baby can start picking them out of the basket.
You can sit down with your baby and show him or her how to do it.
By the 19th month, your baby will already be able to stand and walk around. It’s time to upgrade the training and make it more challenging.
Move the basket about 2 feet away and make your baby stand and throw the balls into it.
The idea is not to allow your baby to drop the ball but to slightly throw it.
For this training, the ball should be light and big enough to hold with 2 hands.
You can use:
- Tennis balls are great
- Laundry basket or cardboard box
Age: +14 Months
This drill puts more emphasis on eye-hand coordination and ball control.
What you do is line up some objects and ask your toddler to roll the ball to knock them down.
Your toddler can sit or stand from a distance of 1 meter should be enough.
But slowly increase the distance over time so that it gives a bit of a challenge for him or her.
Show your baby how it is done first before asking him or her to do it.
4. Roll The Ball In Sitting Position
Age: +12 Months
This is another exciting drill that does not require you and your baby to move around a lot.
Both you and your baby will sit on the floor facing each other about 1 meter apart or less.
You may place a pillow behind your baby just in case he or she rolls backward.
You may start the training by rolling the ball to your baby and encouraging him or her to roll it back to you.
Place a barrier to forming a corridor so that any stray balls do not go too far.
- As your baby developed and the training becomes easier you can widen the distance from your baby to 2 or 3 meters.
- You can use more than 1 ball
- A slightly big ball will be easier to catch and rolled back to you.
5. Throw The Ball
Age: +19 Months
At around 19 months your baby’s hand should be strong enough to throw a ball around the house. So give your baby a ball and let her play with it.
As long as he or she doesn’t break anything let him or her play as much as possible.
A good drill to train hand muscle and motor skills.
6. Roll The Ball In Standing Position
Age: +16 Months
Same technique as drill number 3 but both you and our baby are standing facing each other.
Stoop and roll the ball to your baby and he will pick it up with both hands.
When he is ready he will roll the ball back to you.
- As your baby master the drill you can make the ball bounce 1-2-3 times before reaching your child.
7. Throw And Catch
Age: +24 Months
This drill is an advanced version of drill number 5 and can be challenging at the beginning because catching is not an easy skill.
You throw the ball and your baby catches it, walks over to you, and gives you the ball. The baby will not throw back to you until later.
The easiest way to start is to stand close in front of your baby and hand him the ball with your 2 hands.
Your baby will reach out with both hands and you slightly drop the ball into his hands.
When your baby is ready he will drop the ball back into your hands.
As you gradually moved a bit further your baby will need to walk over to you to hand over the ball.
- Use a large ball so that it is easier to catch and light enough for your kid to throw.
8. Kick The Ball
Age: +24 Months
This is when the fun begins, after 24 months your toddler can now kick the ball without much effort.
Although he or she can kick the ball that does not mean that your work is done.
Actually, the real training has begun.
The best way to start is to give the ball to your toddler and let him or her have a kick around.
Just make sure he or she doesn’t break anything.
Do not worry about any drill whatsoever allow him to familiarize his foot with the ball.
When he gets better at kicking introduce your toddler to drill number 9.
9. Kick Bowling
Age: +24 Months
Similar to drill number 3 but now your toddler can stand and run around it is time to sharpen his or her passing accuracy.
Line up toy bowling pins (or empty bottles, or stuffed toys) and position your kid at least a meter away.
Show your kids how to aim and kick the ball to knock the pins.
As your kid gets better you can widen the space between the pins or the distance between your toddler and the pins.
This is a great drill for kicking accuracy and strength.
Age: +24 Months
Finally, it is time to play real soccer.
Set up a popup goal in the living room, garage, or the backyard, and instruct your toddler to kick the ball into the goal.
You may join in the drill to assist your child to have as much contact with the ball as possible.
Provide encouragement and cheer him or her up.
You are now officially the coach.
- Make sure all your baby’s toys are not choking hazards.
- Always read the warning on the package when purchasing toys.
Benefits Of Ball Games
The benefits of your baby playing with a ball are:
- Motor skills
- Hand-eye coordination
- Gross & fine motor skills
For soccer, there are a lot of benefits as well:
- Ball-handling skills
- Dribbling skills
- Kicking accuracy
Overall Tips To Training
- Use a softball like a beachball or foam ball
- When rolling and throwing to your kid make sure he is ready
- Do not add too much force to the ball
- Aim directly at the kid’s hands
Soccer training drills for toddlers are designed for the kid to get a “feel” for the ball while having fun with the whole.
It may not look like soccer training yet but you are helping your child to build a foundation, not for soccer only but for basketball and other sports.
Make sure to always include fun so that your kid can stay engaged in the activities.
Have fun and enjoy soccer.
If you any questions please comment below.
Related: Soccer Gift Reviews
Please check these excellent websites for all things, baby: