Empower Soccer Coach's Page
PeeWee Training (Ages 3-5yrs-Pre K & Kindergarten)
Some things to remember:
Make it fun! This should be your number 1 goal as you coach pee wee soccer. We want these kids to have a great experience and want to come back each week. You will see that several of the drills have an opportunity for them to make noises and be silly. Join in and be silly with them.
Try not to do any drills where kids are standing in lines. We want every player to have a ball at their feet as much as possible. Dribbling is the most important skill to learn at this age, so don’t get caught up in passing or shooting right now.
Keep things simple. Remember, most of these kids have never played soccer before. Therefore, when you coach, try and say things as simple as possible and have them repeat you.
Make sure and remind kids not to use their hands. It’s probably the only soccer rule they need to know right now.
Pick out 4 – 5 drills to do each week. You can give them a short break in between drills to get a drink, especially on those hot days.
After 20-25 minutes, there will be a whistle blown to let you know you need to transition to a “game”. The game will last around 20-25 minutes.
Game time tips:
Divide up the team as even as possible. You will quickly realize what kids are a little more advanced in their abilities, make sure and split them up. You can change up your teams each week.
When the ball goes out of bounds, pick a player on the team that didn’t kick it out of bounds to start play again. There are no throw ins... just put the ball down and let them kick it back onto the field. Try and pick a player that isn’t quite as aggressive and isn’t getting a lot of touches during game play. This gives them a chance to be involved in the game. When one team scores, send them back to their end of the field and begin play again.
During game play, remind kids not to use their hands.
You can take a water break as needed.
Sometimes pee wee kids will run off the field to their parents. Sometimes they may need a drink or just a quick break. It’s ok. Just keep playing with those on the field and encourage them to come back after a few minutes.
You may have some kids who are hesitant to jump in and play the first few weeks. Don’t make them come out, just encourage them. If they feel better having a parent on the field with them, let their parent know its ok to join them.
If you have an extra pinnie, you can place it on one of the goals to help them remember which goal they are shooting at.
Don’t worry about keeping score and keep it fun!
Peewee soccer drills:
WALK THE PUPPY
Hand out (pretend) leashes to each child. Tell them their ball is no longer a ball, but a puppy. They need to take their puppy on a walk. They can’t let their puppy get too far away, they need to keep the puppy on their leash. They need to keep it close. Have them dribble (with the inside of their feet, you may need to have them all reach down and touch the part of the foot that is used for dribbling) across the field or across a set area.
RED LIGHT/GREEN LIGHT
This is a variation of red light, green light. Have them dribble around the field listening for you to call out a color. Red light (stop and have them put their foot on the top of the ball), green (go), yellow (slow down). The kids also really liked the disco light which meant stop and dance! You can also yell out “honk your horn” and the kids sit on their ball and make a honking sound. You can also call out red light when you need kids to stop kicking the ball and listen to the instructions for the next drill.
TURTLES AND RABBITS
Start this drill by asking which animal is faster, a rabbit or a turtle. Once they have determined which is faster, instruct them that they are going to dribble like a turtle, slowly, or like a rabbit, as fast as they can. They should keep the ball close to them as a turtle and then push it out in front of them a little farther as they dribble fast like a rabbit. After a few weeks, you can combine RED LIGHT/ GREEN LIGHT with TURTLES AND RABBITS. As they get more comfortable dribbling, you can place cones to have them dribble around, trying to not knock over any cones.
HIT THE COACH
A big favorite. Set up a square, not too big and have all the kids dribble around inside and try to hit the coach with the ball. Whoever hits the coach gets to pick an animal for the coach to imitate.
LITTLE, LITTLE, BIG
This one was helpful for dribbling down the field during the “game” portion each week. Have the kids line up on a line and then dribble forward with two small touches and then a big touch where they push it further. Do this to one side of the field then back.
CLEAN THE YARD
This is one of the few opportunities to work on kids shooting at the goal. Spread out all
the balls on the field and have the players line up on the sideline. The goal of this game is to get all of every ball into either goal as quick as they can. Yell go and have them go to a ball (any ball, doesn’t have to be their ball) and dribble it to a goal and kick it in. Once they score, they need to run back to the sideline.
THROUGH THE TUNNEL
This is a good way to get some parents involved in a drill. Ask for some parent volunteers (6-8 is best). Have them spread out around the field with their legs open wide. Instruct the kids to dribble around the field and find tunnels to go through. They can go through the tunnels two different ways. One, they can kick the ball through the tunnel and run around, or they can kick the ball through the tunnel and then crawl through.
PROTECT THE SPACESHIP
Place four cones in the middle of the field to make a square that is about 10 yards by 10 yards. Place one player without a ball on each side of the square. Spread the other players out around the square with a ball. The goal for those with a ball is to kick their ball into the square while those who are at the square (SPACESHIP) are trying to keep the balls out of the square. This is a simple drill to teach them a little bit of defense and kicking the ball out of an area. When a player attempts to kick a ball in the square and it’s kicked out they must retrieve their ball and do it again. You can switch the defenders of the spaceship every 20 seconds to give others an opportunity to protect the ship.
To set up you will need to place out enough cones/pinnies for every player to retrieve one. Place them on one side of the field and have the kids stand on the other side. To add a little fun, you can ask the kids if they know what sound a pirate makes, you may need to teach them. To begin this drill, send a player every 3-4 seconds to retrieve treasure (cone/pinnie) from the other side of the field and bring it back to the ship. You will have to remind them to watch out for the other pirates as they dribble to get the treasure and dribble back. It may be helpful to have them first do this drill with no ball and then add the ball and have them dribble to retrieve the treasure. You can have them sound like a pirate as they are doing the drill.
U7-8 TRAINING (AGES 6-7yrs - Grades 1&2)
Some things to remember:
As a coach of youth U7-8, you need to be passionate and caring. Nurture. Coach must be enthusiastic and sensitive. Encourage sportsmanship. Wins and losses do not matter.
You will be teaching the basic rules of corner kick, goal kick, direct kick, kick-off, drop ball and minor fouls.
Improving hand eye, and foot coordination is improving but not completely mature.
Skeletal system is growing.
No separate running should be done (no laps without a ball).
All activities with a ball.
You are working on:
Self-confidence but not arrogance
Encouragement to compete.
Discipline and good habits.
Can be self-centered.
Need full rest periods and plenty of water.
Need constant reinforcement.
Focus is on them and their friends.
They are beginning to develop time and space relationships.
Easily bruised ego.
Make it fun.
They have a great need for approval and have a fear of failure.
You are working on:
Player Skill Development:
Enhancement of dribbling skills using all foot surfaces.
How to receive and control the ball.
Starting to learn how to pass.
75% of practice should be on technique.
Left and right foot with every activity.
All activities are to be done with a ball.
Rotate players in different positions.
Width and spreading out on the field.
Move up and down the field as a unit.
Penetrate defenses with quick passes.
Still heavy emphasis on individual technique rather than group tactics.
Lots of 1v1. 2v1 and 2v2 towards goal.
Plenty of repetitions.
Use the outside, the inside and the sole of our foot. See these videos:
Using the inside of your foot square to the person you're passing to. See these videos:
Use the laces of the boot/cleat. Keys are locked ankle, non-kicking foot placement and follow through.
Check out this video:
DRIBBLE TO THE CONE
“To score, the ball must go towards the other team’s goal”
“Keep the ball close”
Set up a 5-yard square area with a red cone goal at one end and a yellow cone goal at the other end. Put a single cone in the center of the area. Split your players into reds and yellows and line them up behind the center cone.
Tell the players you want them to dribble the ball from the center cone to the goal of the other team’s color. So yellow players must dribble the ball to the red goal and vice versa.
When you say “go”, the players should dribble the ball into the opposite color goal. When dribbling, players must use just three touches of the ball to get to the goal – one to get it out from their feet, two to move it forward and three for direction.
Once through the goal, they must pick up the ball and run to the back of the line to wait for their next go.
DRIBBLE AND STOP
“Touch the ball to move forward”
“Stop with the sole of your foot on top of the ball”
For each set you need two cones 5 yards apart and a 1-yard cone square in the middle. Put two players at each end. Play this game as a relay. When you say “go”, the first player dribbles the ball to the cone square, stops the ball with the sole of his foot and shouts out “1, 2, 3”, then continues to the far cone.
Players must take a touch of the ball to start it moving and keep it out from under their feet. Don’t worry if most of your players have trouble stopping the ball at first, eventually they will get the skill. Make sure you encourage players with the Call Out phrases: “Touch the ball to move forward” “Stop with the sole of your foot on top of the ball”.
“Touch the ball three times to move forward”
“Keep the ball close in front of you”
Praise good dribbling not just winners
Set up an area with a start line and finish line 5 yards apart. Line up players on the start line with, each with a ball. Make sure they are at least 1 yard apart. This is a straightforward race. When you say “go”, the players dribble the ball to the finish line as fast as they can – player and ball must cross the line, don’t allow players to kick and chase.
The pressure of the race will increase the difficulty of the dribble. You want players to touch the ball at least three times before they get to the other side. You can stagger the start if some players are having difficulty with the pressure of a race.
Call out to your players to “keep the ball in front” but they should also be looking where they are going and not drifting in front of other players. Tell them the technique you want to see – “touch the ball three times”.
“Touch the ball three times to move forward”
“Keep the ball close in front of you”
Set up two cones 5 yards apart for each group. Put two players behind each cone. Each player has a ball.
This activity is run like a relay – when you say “go”, the first player dribbles the ball from one cone to the other. When he gets there, the next player dribbles back and the sequence continues like that.
Players should be taking at least three touches of the ball to control it and get it across to the opposite cone.
Make sure you encourage players with the Call Out phrases: “Touch the ball three times to move forward” “Keep the ball close in front of you”.
GUARD OF HONOR
“Look to where the pass is going”
“Use the inside of the foot”
Mark out a channel 2 yards wide and 5 yards long. Players work in pairs with one pair running with the ball up the channel and the other pairs passing across the channel. When you say “go”, the first of the running players in the channel tries to get the ball to the other end, while the passing pairs try to hit his ball with their passes.
The running players can kick the ball quickly and follow it or dribble. You do not need to coach them at this stage.
The passing players’ technique is put under pressure as they try to hit the ball of the running player. Correct technique is vital even though they will be eager to knock the runner’s ball.
When one runner has got to the end of the channel, the other player can run the gauntlet. Change the runners when they have got to the end and back twice.
“Look to where the pass is going”
“Use the inside of the foot”
Split your squad into pairs. Set up two cones 2 yards apart for each pair of players in your squad. Players pass to and fro between the cones looking at the ball and going for accuracy rather than just kicking the ball.
Make sure the players are looking where the pass is going.
This activity will be a long term one because this is the basic skill players need at any age. Do not worry if at first the players are doing things like stopping the ball with their hands. By the third week the players should understand the best way to receive and pass over short distances is with the inside of the foot.
FILL THE BUCKET
Anytime you add a race or competition into a drill the level of excitement by the kids for that drill increases. This drill not only adds a level of competition but it is also a great soccer dribbling drill.
Divide your players into two teams of at least 3 players each. Each player will need a soccer ball for this drill.
The goal of the drill is for each team to get all of their soccer balls into the “bucket” and all the players back to the end lines. The first team to complete this task wins that round.
CLEAN THE ROOM
This soccer drill emphasizes kicking the ball. It is a fun game in which players will try to keep their side of the field (their room) clean of any soccer balls. Players clean their room by kicking the balls to the other half of the field. The coaches, or designated players, will be on the other side of the field and try to kick balls back into the room.
Split the field up into two halves and scatter all of the soccer balls around in the player’s half of the field. Place two coaches or other players in the other half of the field. Make sure the field is clearly marked into two separate halves.
The players will try to “clean” their room completely of any soccer balls. They have to go quick and try to play the balls away from the coaches so it is hard for them to keep kicking the balls back into the “room”.
This game is not only fun but incorporates ball control and kicking. The game will also get players excited to score goals.
Place four goals using nets, cones, or discs set up in a cross formation like shown below in the diagram. All of the soccer balls should be placed in the middle. The number of soccer balls should be slightly greater than the overall number of players. Place two player at each net. Both players must start to the side of their net on the goal line. The players will run to the middle, grab a ball, dribble it back to their net and kick it in the net.
Once they have kicked it in the net then their teammate can go. If they miss the net they must retrieve their ball and kick it into the net before their teammate can go. Because there are slightly more balls than players some teams will score more goals than other teams. When all the balls are gone add up the number of balls in each net.
TRUCK AND TRAILER
This soccer drill is called truck and trailer because throughout the game one player will have to follow another players movement just like a trailer does attached to a truck.
The game begins by getting the players into pairs and numbering the players 1 and 2. Number 1 will begin by dribbling the ball around the area upon coaches command and two will follow closely behind them wherever they go. Player 2 should not bump into the player in front or lose their ball at any time. Once the players have got this going the coach can start to introduce the below commands.
Change - Both players should do a 180 degree turn to face the other way allowing the other player to now lead the way. Favoured turns for this age group include the drag back and hook turns.
Stop - Both players stop quickly and put their foot on top of the ball.
Outside - Both players rush to the outside of the area as quickly as possible. Last one to the outside or who loses control of their ball does star jumps?
Skill Time - A great way to teach the kids a skill or trick. Once the coach calls this command the players should do a trick of their choice.
WORLD CUP PASSING
This soccer game is great fun for this age group and also ideal at improving players passing technique and accuracy.
The basic idea to this backyard soccer drill will be for the player to pass the ball at their feet toward the soccer ball balanced on top of the cone. If the player knocks the ball off they will receive two points, if they touch the ball without it falling off they receive one point. If the ball falls off then it must be replaced. Time the game and give the kids a couple of minutes to improve their accuracy.
There are plenty of progression ideas for this drill. I always like to start without the soccer ball on the center cone and allow the players to pass the ball to one another. Once every-one is comfortable with basic passing then the ball can be placed upon the center cone and the game can begin by
shouting "GO!". World cup passing becomes more exciting with players counting their score and telling the coach at the end of the game who has the most points. Points could be recorded by the coach or the winner of one game could play the winner of another game until their is a champion.
WARM UP CIRCLE
The players react and move to your call, as follows:
Go left – players side step continuously to the left
Go right – players side step continuously to the right
Two left or one right – players move one or two cones to the side called
Middle – players run into the coach and jockey backwards out
Go – the players sprint across the area and switch places with the player opposite
You can also increase the difficulty by combining calls. Players must be alert and on their toes at all times. They must be able to adjust their feet quickly for every new instruction.
1. Using the centre circle of your pitch the coach stands in the middle and orchestrates the action
2. Give each player a cone to stand behind so they have a starting point
3. The coach gives directions from the centre and the players must react to his call
4. Players must face the coach and go in the directions he calls out
5. Calling out sequences quickly will make players concentrate on doing the right thing
There's a significant amount of content online. Here's some samples:
Dribbling skills — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jwIHc9rz7yo
Dribbling mistakes — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=70k5fJ4A_6g
Dribbling — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QGhTpL_R1Lo
Chipping the Ball — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ImFMcRjt69w
Unfortunately we do not have our own practice plans yet but here are some sample plans from other clubs.
7 v 7 with a goalie - there's a number of ways to line up but here's two basic setups. Formations only work if the players understand that it isn't static and many times player will not understand or forget their positions. That's OK. Don't expect too much from them, just re-educate and be patient.
“Ball behind your head”
“Feet on the ground”
You want to see the ball behind the head and thrown forward. Encourage players to keep their feet on the ground as they throw. Remind players that in a game, the thrower cannot touch the ball again until another player has touched it.
At the moment of delivering the ball, the thrower:
Faces the field of play.
Has part of each foot either on the touch line or on the ground outside the touch line.
Uses both hands.
Delivers the ball from behind and over their head.
The thrower may not touch the ball again until it has touched another player.
“Place the ball on the forward edge of the goal area”
“Kick the ball away from goal towards a team mate”
When the ball is kicked over the back line by an attacking player, the result is a goal kick. The keeper can take the kick or you can have an outfield player take the kick.
Put the ball on the left or right spot (check with ref) and kick the ball away from goal to a team mate.
Emphasize with players that are receiving the ball to get in front of the opposing team and get the ball first.
“Understand the ball must be still when it is kicked” “Understand one player takes the kick”
“Kick the ball forwards”
The referee will give a free kick for various reasons - rough play, touching or heading the ball, etc. It means your team has a chance to get the ball and move it forward.
Whether the free kick taker chooses to pass the ball or shoot at goal, the important thing is to avoid hitting the players directly in front of him, as this may prompt a counter-attack.
Ball must be still. Kicker can only kick it once. Go forward.
“Kick in to the penalty area”
“Defend your goal. Mark the posts. Block the players.”
Corner kicks are given when the defending team kicks the ball out the back line by their goal.
Whether you are defending a corner or taking a corner, this is probably one of the most confusing concepts for this age. Key concepts in defending is have one player at each post and have the other defenders and midfielders either stand in the penalty area or stand by the opposition players (remind them to be 'goal side' - their goal).
For attacking have your kicker kick the ball into the area just in front of goal and enjoy the free for all.