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Soccer Drills #2

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I just sent this Newsletter out and wanted to post it here. Hope it helps all those parents out there. Rec season is just around the corner.

Newsletter Vol. 1.4



U6-U7 Soccer Trapping & Receiving Drill:

Have the players form 2-3 lines, depending on the number of players and coaches. You want to keep the lines small (3-4 players). A coach is going to stand about 7-10 yards from the players in line, facing them. Have the coach roll the soccer ball at the player, and the player should then trap the ball with their foot. They can either trap it by using the bottom of their foot or receive it with the inside of their foot. In either case the goal of this soccer drill is to gain control of the soccer ball so it rests on the ground in front of them. The key to this soccer drill is to start by rolling the ball at the player. Once they understand the basic concept explain that you are now going to roll the ball not just right at them but possibly to either side, at which point they will need to move into position to trap or receive the soccer ball. This soccer drill will teach the basics of moving into position to properly trap and receive a ball on the ground. Once received the player can pass the ball back to the coach and go to the rear of the line.

The 2nd phase to this drill is to move closer (5 yards) and now throw the ball lightly at the players feet (do not bounce but loft it gently so it heads toward their foot in a arcing manner). They should be able to trap the soccer ball to the ground by watching it closely and then placing their foot on top of the soccer ball right as it hits the ground, trapping it between their foot and the ground. Use your best judgment to determine if your players are ready for this. At this age it can be tough to trap to the ground from the air but it is good to at least introduce it to them. It is a timing issue to trap the ball from the air to the ground, so try practicing this for 10 minutes a session and you will start to see a difference.

U8, U9 & U10 Soccer Trapping & Receiving Drill:

This is one of my favorite soccer drills for this age because you can do it as a team practice or individually. I still take my sons and daughter out and do this with them. Split the players up into two groups if you have a lot of them. You will need to have a Goal/Net for each group. Also, you have a choice to use an actual goal keeper (good practice for them) or you as a coach can be in goal. Have the players line up about half way between midfield and the goal, facing the goal. They can be further from the goal if you want, depending on how far you want to send the ball to them. The coach will be in goal, or by the keeper with a stack all of the soccer balls. As the coach you are either going to roll the ball hard at the player, or send the ball in a high arcing manner at the player (simulating a kick). The player will then trap the ball by using either their chest, bottom of the foot or inside of his foot, maybe even their thigh or knee depending on how quickly they can get to it.

The key to this soccer drill is to direct the players to be aggressive and not wait for the ball to come to them on the 2nd or 3rd bounce, but attack the soccer ball and gain control. Move at the ball, trap or receive it to the ground in front of you and then once control is gained dribble forward and shoot on goal (this is where it can be good practice for a keeper also). Point out that typically the person that can control the ball where they want it is going to win the initial battle, so they should be trapping or receiving the ball so it is in front of them and on the ground.

You can also choose to have the keeper send the ball out instead of you. If you have a keeper that can kick it consistently then I recommend doing it, otherwise have them or yourself throw ball out high and hard. Remember, the real goal of this drill is to help players aggressively trap and receive the soccer ball in a controlled manner so they can move forward. Don't just throw it at them, make the player run and adjust to the ball, teaching them to move themselves into position to properly receive or trap the ball. It is okay if it bounces 1 time or even 2 (depending on the kick/throw), but if it starts to bounce 3 or 4 times then the player needs to understand to move towards the ball quicker

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Latest Newsletter




U7-U8-U9 Soccer Heading Drill:

Heading drills can be a challenge for young soccer players, so before going into an actual soccer heading drill I would recommend discussing some basics.

1. Getting in position to head the soccer ball. Discuss moving so the player is facing the ball and their body is directly in front of the soccer ball.

2. Keeping your eye on the soccer ball all the way to the forehead - it will be tough, but they should really try to keep their eyes open all the way in to the point of contact.

3. Contact should occur at the upper front part of the forehead, not on top or the side.

4. If possible, they should be trying to strike the soccer ball with their head by moving the head back and then forward. It is a soccer timing skill. The point here is as they gain confidence they should not just be standing and waiting for the ball to hit their head. The below soccer drill will help emphasize this.

A good soccer heading drill to get the basics down is to split players up into partners with each two person team having a single ball. Have one player sit on the ground with their legs straight out. The other player should then stand in front of them (about 2-3 yards). The player standing should lightly throw the soccer ball under handed towards the player sitting. The throw should be a little short so the player has to move towards the ball to hit with their head, rather than waiting for the soccer ball to hit their head. This is a good starting soccer drill for headers.

Once you feel the players have the basics then do the same drill except this time instead of sitting have the player rest on their knees. Again, throw the soccer ball short so the player must lunge or lean into hit. They can cushion themselves from hitting the ground by extending their hands to the ground (almost like a push up). For the players you feel are advanced, challenge them to direct the ball to the left or right of the thrower. Again, this soccer drill will teach them to move forward to the ball and keep their eyes open.

U9-U10-U11 Soccer Heading Drill:

This soccer heading drill will teach directional heading. Split the players up into groups of three with each group having one soccer ball. They should form a triangle with each player being about 5-7 yards apart. One player is going to be the heading person and facing the other two, one player will be tossing the ball towards that player. When the soccer ball is tossed towards the heading player they should lean back and head the ball at the third player. They should be striking the ball with their head, redirecting it towards the receiving player. Repeat the process 10 times and then switch players so that everyone gets a chance to head the soccer ball. This is a good soccer heading drill and should move quickly. Once the header is received by the player they should be throwing it back to be headed again. Emphasize putting some power into it and on target. You can even tell players to mix it up by heading some to the ground at the players feet, and then others up high. Challenge them. Also, have the receiving player trap the ball. It is good practice.

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U7-U8-U9 Soccer Juggling Drill:

Juggling is an under-rated soccer skill in my opinion. It something the kids can do at practice, on their own at home or school and even in groups. Juggling a soccer ball will add soccer touch, soccer coordination, ball control and awareness of the soccer ball in relation to a players body. As a coach, introducing this early to a player is fun because you will be the first to see a difference on the feel in terms touch and control.

To teach the basics there are a few key points to communicate to the group.

1. The goal of control and touch, which means we are not trying to kick or hit the ball high into the air because this is the opposite of control. We want the soccer ball to not touch the ground while the player continues to hit in the air in a controlled manner.

2. Any part of the players body can be used except the hands. Feet, thighs, head and even the chest can be used.

3. Let the players know it is not easy and takes time. Set a base number at first (2, 3 or 4). Each player will be different.

4. Let the players know there is going to be a challenge as the year goes on. Rewards for achievements. These goals will need to be set by you as the coach and will vary based on the age and skill of the kids. For example, demonstrating 5 juggles the player gets a sticker on their bag, 10 a pin, 15 a red marble and so on. I have seen coaches use different colored beads tied to the players bag to indicate how many juggles have been achieved. The players will start to take pride in this and practice on their own. You can also break this up into number of juggles by feet only, head or thigh only. You will be surprised how quickly the number will start to increase, and you will also quickly be able to tell which players that are practicing on their own. Keep pushing them and challenging them. Have an ultimate reward of a metal or trophy. You will see a difference on the field.

Spread the team out and have them start using their thigh. Help them and show them that they do not want the ball to go above their eyes. How many can they do. Maybe write it down and see if they beat it next practice. Move to feet only. This will be a little tougher. They should try to keep the ball below their belly button, but explain if for some reason it does go higher then use the upper thigh to regain control to drop it back down to their feet. Again, how many, challenge them to get to five or higher. After you this, explain why juggling is important and that you will be implementing a rewards program. This soccer drill will teach valuable basics that will serve the player well throughout their soccer playing days. Professional players still juggle today. Touch and control are a huge part of the game so practice as much as you can.

U9-U10-U11 Soccer Juggling Drill:

Pair players up and have them juggle as a team. They should be using their head in this drill, as well as feet, thighs and chest. Make a competition of it. A single player should try to get it back to the other player in one touch, but realistically this sometimes can not happen so allow each player touch it twice before passing, but only one time. If a 2nd time occurs then the count stops. This soccer drill will really start to teach control because they are not just trying to place the ball with touch to themselves, but place it another player. Point out good spots to set your partner up, like the the thigh or head. If the two touch rule is too much, then remove it. This should be fun.

U11-U12-U13 PLUS Soccer Juggling Drill:

This is a tough one. Find a tennis court you can use and tell the player to bring their turf shoes because they are going to play soccer volleyball. This drill is good on a hot day when you want to limit running and have some fun. Split the team up into two teams, equally. Note: I have seen this played with as little as one person on each team, so the number really should not matter, but remember to adjust the size of the court based on the number of players.

This is just like volleyball. Serve by dropping the ball to a players foot and kicking it over the net. Each player can only touch the ball one time and the goal is to get it back over to the other side without it hitting the ground. Players can use anything but their hands. I also run a variation of this soccer drill where the ball can bounce one time.

Let the players know they should try to score by setting up their team mates in a way they can drive the ball down to the ground. A good example might be a header (see heading drills) driving the ball down. They should also look to place the ball with touch to an open space.

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