View Full Version : Youth Soccer Coaches?

08-03-2006, 10:32 AM
I'm in need of some soccer help/advice. I'm helping coach a girls' team filled with 1st and 2nd graders and we have about three weeks worth of practice to go before we start our games. I've never played the game nor have I paid much attention to it over the years. Thus, I'm not very well schooled in the sport and am not sure how to go about teaching it to youngsters.

Does anyone out there with experience know of some really good drills for the girls? Most have played the game before and know a few of the fundamentals. Our problem is coming up with useful things to do during practice that are fun for them and hold their attention for more than a few minutes at a time. "Sharks and Minnows" is only fun for so long, then they start to wander. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance. :)

08-03-2006, 10:38 AM
Here's some info from my daughters league. Go to Coach info and click on "Various games for your team." Hope this helps and good luck!!


08-03-2006, 10:41 AM
Here's what I would do.

Small group practice.

Setup some comnes and do 4 on 4, that helsp work on ball control in a small setup. With kids that age the idea is to teach them more about the game then the skillset. That can best be accomplished by shrinking the field of play.

Drills that I would work on would include facing a line against the fullbacks, just simulate a forward rush and work on what each player should do in that instance, this basic offense against - defense posture prettymuch involves everyone, you can do it in shifts.

Other drills, set the team in a circle and have them one touch pass the ball without stopping it, and without kicking it in the air. This will help them work on their ground passes, stress that their bodies are set over the ball when kicking it.

To kill time you can alwasy work on throw ins, set kicks, PK's and dribbing through cones. (make sure you get some cones!!) With girls it's imporatnat to get them to protect their chest when the ball come stheir way, they tend to turn sooner, and IIRC they are allowed to protect their front with crossed arms, so it's good to get that pattern started in their game.

Run, run, run...... evryone hates to run in soccer practice, but its' good to do because that's what the game is built on.. a couple of laps and soem light sprints to end the practice.

08-03-2006, 12:29 PM
I was like you, I volunteered to coach my daughter's U6 team despite knowing about enough soccer to fill an index card. I learned a lot from soccerhelp.com. I didn't pay for the premium stuff but the free things got me started.

Nearly everything we did in practice was a game, not a drill, with everyone playing at once, very little standing around and waiting a turn. And because they love the idea of scoring goals, a lot of things would end with "and then go score a goal." I ran them ragged and they got a lot of touches on the ball. The only drawback to the fast-paced cat-herding type of practice is little opportunity for individual teaching, but that young they learn best just by doing. You'll have a little more leeway to incorporate traditional drills because your kids are a little older.

And being kids, if you play the same thing but call it "Shark Attack!" instead of "Sharks and Minnows," it goes over better. And they LOVED playing "Hit The Coach."

It also helps to map out practice in advance and carry it in your pocket, so you won't waste practice time figuring out what to do next.

Post-practice treats go over well, too. Just be sure to check with the parents and make sure it's OK.

08-03-2006, 01:08 PM
just take time out to do simple passing drills. and take some time to do some fundamentals like trapping the ball or shooting the ball. since they are only in the 1st and 2nd grade it should be a piece of cake

08-03-2006, 06:57 PM
Don't lecture too much. Make sure they all have a ball.
Dribble, Dribble, Dribble. Make them dribble with different parts of the foot.
Inside, outside, front, back, rolling with the bottom of their cleats. Have them play "follow the leader" and see who can come up with the best "moves".

I did U12 for a season and had a hard time keeping their attention. I can't imagine U8 or U9.

Small sided games are always good.

Kids that small don't do the passing thing too well. They like to kick and dribble (teammates, what teammates?). Do whatever you can, but don't get too upset if they don't play well together. It's about skills at this age.

One thing I liked to do was to set up strange "fields" for short sided teams (3v3 or 4v4). Two or three goals on each side...goals on opposite sides...goals in the middle, etc. Made them think of space and positioning.
Of course, they were U12. Might be too complex for U8.

Invest in different colored pinnies for teams and "World Cup". And cones..lots of cones.

Teams are more interesting when they are not RED, BLUE or GREEN but Holland, Brazil, Italy and Lichtenstein (there's always a wise gal).

08-03-2006, 07:11 PM
Didn't see it on this thread, but my kids liked "Traffic" a game where everyone started out on the (4) sides of a square and dribbled through to the opposite side, generating "Traffic".

Good idea is to start practice with a game instead of a run. That way everyone wants to get there early.

08-03-2006, 10:09 PM
Run. Run Away.

That's rule one. :D

08-04-2006, 08:35 AM
Run. Run Away.

That's rule one. :D
I figured that one out quickly...but too late, nonetheless. :(

I have actually coached them before but it was for our neighborhood soccer program. We only had about 8 kids, boys and girls, on a team and only a couple practices before we started the games. Figure in that all the kids weren't at every practice and it wasn't too hard to keep them going for an hour. This time it's for their school team and we'll be playing by "real rules" (the neighborhood games were well organized but there were never any officials and the coaches called the games, very relaxed).

I see my biggest problem as not having a good foundation in the game. I can't think back to what was fun when I was in youth soccer or when I played in school because I never did. I'll make a much better baseball/softball coach...hopefully. :pray:

Thanks to everyone for all the great tips...I will definitely be using them next Monday! :thumbup:

p.s. keep the suggestions coming, I need al the help I can get. :help: