I can’t believe we are already in week 5! It has been great to watch all of your team’s progress and to see how much fun everyone is having! Remember, our goal is to help teach our players all while having fun. The more fun that they are having the more they will learn (whether they realize it or not!).
One way to help motivate your team is to always be vocal. What I mean by this is to always be encouraging them (celebrate every good pass or kick or goal). Talk to your team, get down on their level (get down on your knees while you talk). Have fun. Kids love it when we act ridiculous and crazy. Enthusiasm goes a long way. If you’re not having fun, the kids won’t either.
Tonight we will be focusing on dribbling and lots of touches on the ball. As I’ve been watching your team I have been impressed in how well they move the ball (passing the ball up the field) at this age. Many of your players are grasping this idea far before they normally do.
Start off with your normal warm-up. Make sure they get moving, get lots of the touches on the ball, and stretch (both dynamic and static stretching)
1. Colour dribbling and Stopping
This is a variation of Red Light/Green Light. Start by having players dribble in in your area. Red Light means Stop, Green Light go.
As they get warmed up with this, have them stop their balls with various parts of the body as identified by colors. Example - red is right hand, blue is left foot, rainbow is forehead, etc. I suggest start by just saying the body part first, and then as they get the hang of it assign a colour to that body part. This is a great game for them as it changes how they think about the movements of their body. They have to process what they are doing, which down the road will help them focus more in the game. As we change how our brains associate movement, the less we actually end up thinking about it when it becomes a normal thing (it becomes a “muscle memory” movement).
2. Number Dribbling
Have players jog with a ball at their feet in the same direction. When you call a number, that many players must come together with balls touching each other. Example: the call is three, players must get in groups of 3. Those players unable to form a unit of three do three push-ups or star jumps or…? Be creative :)
3. Keep Away
Create smaller grids, probably 10x10 would be good, but feel free to make them bigger. In groups of three, play 1 v. 2. Start with the 2 plays having a ball, the other player tries to get the ball. The one who has the ball must dribble and keep it. Those who don’t have a ball try to get one. Once they get the hang of it, change it that only 1 players has a ball, and the other 2 are trying to get it.
We’ve done this one before, but it is a great one to get them moving and dribbling with lots of changes in directions and touches on the ball.
This is a 1v1 (1 beat 1) drill. Set up grid as shown below. However large you want, with pairs of cones 1 yard apart creating “gates.” The goal is for the attacking player to keep the ball and run through as many gates as possible, while the defending player tries get the ball.
To start, having the defending player simple “shadow” the attacker, and not trying to win the ball, but just add some pressure. As they get the hang of it, have the defender work a little harder to win the ball. Let them go for 60 seconds, then switch.
5. Turn and Burn- dribbling with speed
We did this a couple weeks ago, but is a good one to continue out dribbling, now introduce turning and accelerating.
Divide players into two teams – put them in different colored pinnies One team starts on one end of the grid with a ball each. Objective is for players with the ball to dribble towards the players without, who remain stationary. The coach shouts “Turn” and the players with the ball stop, turn and try to dribble back to their starting line. When the players without the ball here the coach shout “Turn” the players without the ball can release and try and steal the balls of the opposing team before they get back over the safe line. Take turns having both teams being attackers/defenders. Do not eliminate players who lose their ball. Let them have another go.
Variations: Introduce specific turns: big toe turn, little toe turn, pull back, etc.
If you have extra time, feel free to have a scrimmage. However, make the playing field larger than normal, and encourage lots of dribbling. Passing is great, and is totally an important part of soccer, but at times dribbling is needed. If there is space in front of the player, they should dribble and take that space. But encourage them not to be a ball hog at the same time. Soccer is a team sport, but sometimes by dribbling we can open up more space and create more options for passes.