The Ultimate Soccer Training Guide For Kids

Coaching young kids to play soccer can be a daunting task and if you read this post then you are definitely new to it. Welcome to my ultimate soccer training guide for kids where I lay out the typical training session for you.



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Before Proceeding…

Training kids is very different from training youths and adults so should know what to expect.

Here is a list of things you should know:

  • PATIENCE – I cannot emphasize this more because you will be dealing with kids who are just excited to get to the training ground. Kids do come in different shapes, sizes, and levels of fitness so expect to be challenged.
  • FUN – A kid’s concentration does not last very long so including fun keeps them hooked during the training.
  • GET PARENTS ON YOUR SIDE – Parents can be a blessing or a curse depending on how you start off with them. An important point is for parents to allow you to do the coaching. Organize regular meetings with them for feedback and updates from you – it is a 2-way street.
  • BE FLEXIBLE – The training might not always go your way so be flexible and leave out one training if you see that it will not work today and do something else.
  • CONFIDENCE – Be confident in your ability to take up the task. The more you coach the more experienced you become and your confidence will build up as well.

A typical training starts with a warmup, stretching, break, drills, breaks in between routines, warm-down, then a final stretch which can take 60 minutes.

In this post, I am not going to discuss soccer gear but you can check it here.

I will not discuss what to eat before training either but you can find it here as well.


Warm Up – 10 Minutes

First and foremost, before every training and on game days warm-up and stretching are a MUST.

Today’s warm-up is light jogging but you can find more ideas on 6 Fun Soccer Warm Up Drills (and Warm Down).

Print the page and keep it handy – I promise to do a PDF copy for download soon.

Light Jogging

Light jogging drill

Warm Up 1

  1. Make 2 lines of 3 cones about 10 meters apart – the wider the line the better to avoid overcrowding
  2. Instruct the kids to jog (not run) from the starting point of the cones.
  3. When they reach the second line of cones they bent over and touch their toes
  4. Return to the starting point then touch their toes again
  5. Jog nonstop for 5 repetitions

Warm Up 2

  1. Same as warm-up 1 but ask the kids to flap their arms as if they are flying – while jogging
  2. Touch their toes when crossing the
  3. “Fly” back to row 1
  4. Touch their toes
  5. Repeat nonstop 5 times

Warm Up 3

  1. Same as warm-up 2 but this time the kids “fly” toward row 2
  2. touch their toes
  3. jog back to starting row 1 (no flying)
  4. touche their toes
  5. repeat 5 times

These 3 warm ups drills should get the kids’ muscles warmed up and ready for stretching exercises.


Stretching – 10 Minutes

CAUTION – DO NOT OVER STRETCH MUSCLES

Butterfly stretch
Butterfly stretch

By now the muscles should be thoroughly warmed up so ask the kids to make a circle around you.

A big circle should give everyone some space to do their stretch.

I posted a detailed stretch exercise here so you can go download and print it (it is free) and use it in this training.

However, the stretches are as follows:

  1. Hip Rotating
  2. Side Twist
  3. Lateral Stretch
  4. Knees and Ankle Twist
  5. Calf Stretch
  6. Hamstring Stretch
  7. Quadriceps (Quads) Stretch
  8. Butterfly Stretch
  9. Shoulder Stretch
  10. Arm Stretch
  11. Tricep Stretch
  12. Neck Stretch

The kids don’t have to do all of these 12 stretches but can do 2 each for the lower body, mid-body, and upper body.

Engage the kids by telling them which muscles are being stretched and why it is essential.

You can find good explanations here.

Always remember to add fun; they can cheat with the stretches until they become familiar.


Water Break

A lot of coaches suggested that water bottles must be placed away from the parents.

The reason is if the children go back to their parents:

  • They either stray away from training and start eating OR
  • They thought the training is over

Maybe not necessary for older kids.

By the way, instruct the kids not to drink too much water.

5 minutes of water break should be enough.


Training Drill For Beginners And Older Kids

Below are two sets of drills – 1 for beginners and the other for older kids who already had some soccer training experience.

You will decide which drills to do according to their soccer experience.

This guide only highlights dribbling, passing, and shooting drills however there are many other drills that you can use in this training.

Please go to my soccer drill page to access more training ideas to use in your program.


Beginner Drills

kids wearing warm gear
Photo by Lukas from Pexels

These drills are designed for young kids who are still getting themselves familiarized with soccer skills.

It does not matter how they do it for the first few weeks but eventually, you will demand the correct way to do the drills.

TRAINING TIP – ALWAYS DO THE DRILL FIRST SO THAT THE KIDS CAN SEE HOW TO DO IT RIGHT

Drill 1 – Ball Dribbling

Simple ball dribbling

Dribbling is one of the basic soccer skills to learn so it should come first.

  1. Give everyone a soccer ball each and start controlling the ball with their feet.
  2. Walk around while controlling the ball with their feet
  3. Run while controlling the ball with their feet

Actually, they can do anything to the ball with their feet – as long as they don’t pick it up with their hands.

Benefits:

  1. Learning how to control the ball with left and right feet
  2. Learning what parts of the feet control the ball better

Drill 2 – Ball Passing

Simple ball passing

Organize the kids in pairs and give them 1 ball for each pair.

  1. Ask the pair of kids to face each other and pass the ball
  2. The kid receiving the ball must pass back
  3. It does not matter how they pass whether good or poorly
  4. Encourage them to use the weaker foot as well

Benefits:

  1. Familiarization with how to pass accurately
  2. How to receive a pass
  3. Developing power in the weaker foot

Drill 3 – Shooting

Happy Kids Playing Soccer
Kids doing a shooting drill

If you have portable goals this would be the time to use them and the more goals you have the more training time each kid has.

Divide the kids into groups like 4 kids per goal.

Set up the goal and ask each kid to shoot and score a goal.

The distance between the kids and the goal depends very much on how far they can kick.

Benefits:


Older Kids Drill

Older kids are much easier to deal with because they have been through soccer training before and already had some soccer skills.

They pay more attention and follow instructions.

At this stage, you should focus more on perfecting the kids’ soccer skills by doing the drills properly.


Drill 1 – Cone Weaving

Cone weaving is actually a dribbling drill but with the addition of cones as obstacles to dribble around.

Place 5 cones in a straight line with a 2 feet space between them.

The number of cones and space is optional so you can use 10 cones or you can increase the space between the cones to 3 feet.

  1. Starting at the first cone your kid will dribble the ball by weaving in and out of the cones
  2. Turn around at the end and dribble the ball back to the starting point by weaving through the cones.
  3. Repeat.
Simple cone weaving dill

Also, if they knock off some cones don’t worry they will improve as they practice more.

Don’t worry if you don’t have any cones because you can use any object you can find such as water bottles.

This drill was taken from 5 Basic Kids Soccer Drills – Excel In Ball Control

Tips:

  1. Speed is the target here so if they can complete 1 set in no time that is good.
  2. Try completing as many sets as possible in 5 minutes
  3. The kids can alternate by starting with their weak feet.

Benefits:

  1. You will improve your dribbling skills
  2. You will get a bit of fitness as you will be running.

Drill 3 – Through Ball Pass

A Through-ball pass is a skill where a player passes the ball ahead of his running teammate.

When the running teammate received the ball he either shoots to score or makes another pass to his teammate.

Use the diagram below as the guide on how to set the drill but it can be a 10 x 10 feet playing space.

This drill requires 2 players called P1 and P2 respectively

Place a cone 5 feet in front of the goal and place P1 and P2 at least another 5 feet behind the cone.

Imagine that the cone is a defender so don’t hit it with the ball.

You can use 2 cones as a goal if you don’t a portable goal yet.

Now the drill is ready to kick off.

  1. P1 stands with the ball and makes a through ball to the space between the goal and the cone
  2. Simultaneously, P2 runs past the cone to meet the ball
  3. P2 strikes the ball into the goal
  4. Repeat
simple through ball pass
Through ball passing drill

Tips

  1. P2 must not get behind the cone before the ball arrives because it will be considered offside.
  2. P2 must communicate with P1 so that the timing of the pass is right
  3. Switch roles between P1 and P2
  4. Switch P1

Benefits

  1. Passing accuracy
  2. Developing the correct timing to kick a rolling ball
  3. Shooting accuracy

Drill 3 – Run ~ One Step Per Square

This is the most simple ladder drill your kid can perform because he or she just steps into each square and then the next.

Just like walking or running in a straight line except that every step is in the next square.

Check this video below from GFS Fitness before performing the drill.

Here is how your kid performs the drill starting with the right foot:

  • From the starting point take the first step in the first square with the right foot
  • Then take the second step in the second square with the left foot.
  • Then the right foot in the third square then the left foot in the fourth square, and so forth.
  • Continue until your kid reaches the end of the ladder.
  • Then your kid returns to the starting point and the first set is completed.
  • Repeat.

The less time it takes to complete 1 set the better.

Variations:

Start off by walking on the squares
When your kid is familiar with the drill, then instruct your kid to run
When reaching the other end of the ladder your kid can walk back, run, or backpedal to the starting point


Scrimmage – 20 Minutes

Some may disagree but for me, a scrimmage is like rewarding for my trainees’ commitment to the training.

It is also time to introduce soccer rules and an opportunity for the kids to discover their true calling – whether she is a goalkeeper, a striker, a midfielder, or a defender.

Older kids may already know their positions so let them play their positions naturally.

Form 2 teams of 6 players on each side and let them play each other.

Put in 2 goalkeepers if you prefer.

You will have a lot of substitutes on the sideline so actively rotate the kids to take turns.

Every kid must have equal playing time – there is no room for favoritism.

Warm Down

The warm-down should be low tempo as the kids are tired already but still important.

Follow the same warmup routine as described but at a lesser repetition and time

Stretch

Similar to the stretches I outlined above then that concludes the training.

Conclusion

This soccer training guide should be the foundation of all your training programs.

You can include other drills that I posted on this blog and do not hesitate to try something different.

Planning for your next training is very important so keep a journal.

I hope you will find this guide very useful and do let me know if I missed something.

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