Trying to teach your kid how to play soccer can be a challenge because nobody is giving you a straight answer. Follow this ultimate guide for parents on how to teach your child to play soccer to give you a head start.
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The Challenge For Parents
When I was a kid my dad was a soccer player so I am getting used to seeing soccer ball and training gear lying around our house and sometimes I would follow him to training and matches.
Naturally, I got into soccer when I was young and all my dad had to do is to teach me some basic skills. However, for parents who are new to soccer, it is hard for them to teach their kids even though they can find resources online.
This is because they easily got overwhelmed by the tons of information but no one to tell them where to start step-by-step. This is what this guide is all about, to point you in the right direction.
Tips For Faster Learning
- Teach yourself first as it can be challenging if you have no idea what soccer is
- Start soccer training as early as when your kid is 1 year old
- Give more opportunity for your kick to play with the ball
- Be committed and consistent in training
- Be patient
- Have fun
1. Watch A Soccer Game
If you are a parent that has limited or no idea what soccer is, I think watching a soccer match would be a good start.
So, the best way to familiarize yourself with soccer is to watch a soccer game being played, and the best thing is you can watch it on TV or the best option is to hop on to YouTube and type soccer.
You will have hours and hours of videos to watch so you might wanna grab a paper and pen to write notes, or simply sit down and relax with some popcorn.
At this stage do not be tempted to watch the videos about soccer drills or skills, or any exercises that you might be tempted to click on.
The main objective is for you to observe:
- How the game is being played by two opposing teams
- How individual players perform their roles
- How each team try to score goals to win
- How the referee is applying the rules and why
You will also notice that:
- There are 2 goals at each end of the field
- The playing field is rectangular
- There 2 other officials running on the sideline called Linesman
- Only the 2 goalkeepers can touch the soccer ball
After spending an hour or 2 you will have a fair idea of how soccer is played and some basic rules of the game.
You may feel a bit overwhelmed but that is understandable so do not worry about the advanced stuff yet because things will fall into place as we go along.
2. Basic Soccer Rules
The rules for kids’ soccer are simplified and not as complicated as what you see in adult soccer, so you can breathe a sigh of relief.
Kids’ soccer rules are designed for learning the basics, safety, participation, and most of all, fun. Schools do have their own rules on how the sport should be administered such as age group, enrolment, size of the field, etc.
We are not going to worry about the administration rules but we are going to concentrate on rules applied when the game is played. Young children below 2 years old do not need to be taught any soccer rules at all, just give them the ball to play with.
When they get older then it is time you start introducing some basic rules into their game.
Below is a mixture of soccer rules and safety rules, so let us dive into it.
- Only the goalkeeper can touch or hold the ball in his or her hands.
- All other players are not allowed to touch the ball unless the game is paused.
- Intentionally kicking, pushing, fighting, and spitting on another player is a foul
- You do not kick the ball into your own goal as this will give the other team a free score
- Kick the ball inside the other team’s goal in order to win
- Only play inside the rectangular box
- Do not kick with the toes because it may cause injury to the feet
Also, it is important to play with a soccer ball size 3.
You can refer back to the soccer videos you have watched and look for the rules above.
Also, you can read Basic Soccer Rules For Kids – Crash Course For Parents
3. Soccer Positions
When training your kid at home you are limited to how many siblings can participate compared to playing in a team. So the idea of playing soccer positions in the backyard can be limited but the good news is in soccer there are only 2 basic positions.
The first position is the goalkeeper and the second is the rest of the team playing in the field regardless of whether they play defense, midfield, winger, or striker.
In kids’ soccer, a team can only field 6 to 10 players, depending on the age group, and not 11 as in the adult soccer team. So, some of these positions may not be clearly identified by the coach and it is normal for a defender to play as a winger or a midfielder also playing the striker position.
Worst still, very young kids do not care at all what position they are playing, they just run after the ball.
However, it is a good idea that you know all these positions so that you can do role-play with your kid with various drills available on this website. As they grow older they will start to show interest and become skillful in a particular position.
Here is a rundown of each soccer positions:
- Goalkeeper – this player looks after the team’s goal so that the other team cannot score.
- Defender – this player is positioned in front of the goalkeeper to defend against the opponents from scoring
- Midfielder – this player plays in the middle of the field assisting the striker and the winger
- Winger – this player plays along the sideline and passes the ball to the striker
- Striker – this player scores goals for the team.
If you watch a soccer game again you will see these players performing their position roles.
You can learn more about Soccer Positions Numbers And Roles – Parents Guide on this website.
The perfect way of teaching soccer is to actually go out in the backyard or park and play it with your kid. If your kid is still below 3, don’t worry because I have 10 Incredibly Simple Soccer Drills For Toddlers outlined on this website.
For the first few training do not apply all the rules I outlined in step 2 but just have fun kicking and passing to each other.
However, 2 rules you need to emphasize is not to touch the ball, unless your kid is playing goalkeeping, and not to kick with the toe.
A proper way to kick the ball is by using inside and outside of the foot and on the shoelace area of your kid’s shoe.
You guys probably need to build up your fitness level as well so it’s a good time to have some exercise.
After a few weeks, you should start introducing the soccer rules in step 2 into the scrimmages and slowly make it more competitive, such as scoring goals in order to win.
Before the training starts it’s time to have a quick talk and introduce the new rules.
- Mark out a rectangular or square area and instruct your kid not to play beyond the boundary.
- If the ball goes out then it is your turn to start the game
- Set up two goals, one for your kid and the other for you
- Do not touch the ball unless you are the goalkeeper
- Tell your kid that in order to win he or she must kick the ball inside your goal, not his or her own goal
- Any intentional pushing and kicking the legs anywhere on another player is a foul
- Do not confuse this when players are contesting for the ball because it is a contact sport and players may bump into each other
- Start off with the training and apply the rules as you go
- Do not be too strict on the rules as it may kill all the fun
You may need some equipment to mark the playing area and to set up the 2 goals.
The cheapest option is to use water bottles filled with water or soil to anchor it on the ground, you will need at least 10 bottles for this to work.
Below is a simple diagram of how a small soccer field looks like.
After some time you may need to invest in some cones and mini-goals to make the training more fun and boost morale.
You can check my post on soccer training equipment for kids on this website to find the best cones, mini-goals, and balls.
5. Develop Basic Skills
You may now realize that developing soccer skills, speed, and agility are the requirements to become a good soccer player.
The following are the skills and the drills required and I also link it to the posts within this website.
i.Ball Control And Handling
- 5 Basic Kids Soccer Drills – Excel In Ball Control
- 10 Incredibly Simple Soccer Drills For Toddlers
- 12 Simple Soccer Drills For 4, 5, 6, & 7-Year-Olds + Coaching Tips
- 4 Exciting Soccer Drills For U10 Kids
These drills cover the basics including dribbling around cones, passing accurately, and training on how to kick with the weaker foot.
ii. Kicking Skills
This drill covers the basics of kicking the soccer ball with the correct technique. If kids don’t develop good kicking skills it may develop into a habit that will be hard to break.
This will affect their chances of being selected into any soccer team.
iii. Goalkeeping Skills
This drill concentrate on developing your kid’s goalkeeping skill, especially techniques in catching the soccer ball.
iv. Speed & Agility
- 5 Basic Speed And Agility Drills With Ladder + Including Videos & DIYs
- 4 Basic Soccer Speed And Agility Cone Drills + Simple Diagrams Included
Soccer players sprint and turn a lot on the field so these drills help speed and agility.
Speed and agility help a player develop skills faster and improves a player’s performance during training.
6. Make Time For Training
With the information you have above, you can make up your kid’s training.
Here is a brief rundown as a guide for you:
- Only do one drill per training – I have 8 posts with at least 50 drills. See Step 5 above
- Young kids should not train for more than 1 hour
- Train every day or every second day – Depending on the intensity of the training
7. Online Soccer Training Is Cheap
Investing in online soccer training is a good option if you are too busy to organize training for your kid. Online soccer training courses are cheaper than you would have thought, for as little as $10 a month you can receive professional coaching.
The benefits are:
- Training drills are already structured for your kid to follow
- Visual training with videos
- Receive support from the online trainer
Read my post on Renegade Soccer Training Review – Play With Confidence
8. Be Patient And Have Fun
It is important that you as a parent be patient with your kid’s progress. Learning how to play soccer takes time to develop so you should not be frustrated if your kid is slow.
Show your kid that you are enjoying yourself and get yourself involved in the warm-ups, stretches, and drills. It is a special time when you are bonding with your kid.
9. Basic Soccer Gear Guide For Parents
You may soon find it necessary to equip your kid with the correct soccer gear. This is important as it serves three purposes:
- They reduce injuries
- They improve performance during training
- They give confidence and boost morale
According to FIFA the following gear are mandatory:
I. Soccer Cleats
Soccer cleats (or shoes) are specially designed footwear for playing soccer. The outdoor cleats have studs underneath to provide traction when running on the ground.
They are made of synthetic leather on the outside and neoprene inside with comfortable insoles to cushion the impacts of running.
There different types of outdoor soccer cleats but you should go for firm ground (FG). A good soccer cleat should be comfortable, provide stability, and protect the feet from injuries.
Shinguards are worn to protect the shin – that is the area between the knees and the ankles. They are typically made of hard plastic or similar materials and are worn under the socks.
There are 3 types of shinguards namely slip-in, ankle, and sock shinguard. For beginners, I would recommend the ankle shinguard because it also has pads to protect the ankles.
Wearing socks covers the shinguard and protects the leg against scratches and cuts. A good sock should be breathable and does not hold moisture because if it does it will become heavy and hot.
Socks are made of synthetic fabric, nylon, and spandex that is comfortable, lightweight, and is able to stretch. Find one that can reach the knees.
iv. Shorts And Shirts
Soccer shirts and shorts are also required. Good shirts and shorts are lightweight, durable, and does not hold sweat.
They are usually made of nylon, polyester, and spandex for the waist.
For goalkeepers, they may be required to wear padded shirts and shorts because they can dive for the ball and land on the ground. These pads covered the elbow and knees.
v. Goalkeeper Gloves
Although not required by FIFA, goalkeeper gloves are an important gear that helps in catching the ball and it reduces injury to the fingers.
Gloves are made of padded foam to protect the palm, wrist, and some have finger saves that protect the fingers from hyperextensions.
You may want to read 10 Soccer Protective Gear For Kids – Parents Guide
Teaching soccer to your kid can be a fun and fulfilling experience for you as a parent. Remember if you have no idea about soccer you should start watching games now or read the posts on this website.
Familiarise yourself with the rules and positions because as your kid gets older he or she will be joining the school team. With the number of drills I have on this website, you should have enough for training
You can use household items if you don’t have any training equipment yet and get them later. And finally, always remember to be consistent in your training and include a lot of fun.
Please leave a comment if you have any questions.