As soccer continues to grow in popularity, it’s the youth element of the sport that’s driving it to new heights. Youth soccer has become a staple of growing up in just about every country, especially as Western countries continue to take to it.
There are issues what come with youth soccer participation, though, and one of the biggest is balancing the need for formal training against the need to keep soccer fun.
Fortunately there are a growing array of tools to help coaches handle soccer training for kids and keep it light and breezy, so let’s look at a few of the major issues coaches face when they go to implement their training tactics.
The Basic Dribbling Drill
Teaching kids to dribble is by far the most important aspect of early training. It’s the foundation for passing, shooting and everything that follows, but it’s a complex task that usually takes years to master.
Given how complicated dribbling can be, setting up drills that are fun can be a challenge. One of the most basic is a straight line cone drill that involves setting up four cones in a large square, then asking the kids to dribble in a straight line from one cone to the next.
The key to this drill is that setting it up keeps everyone involved. Have the kinds form a line, and as soon as the first child makes it from one cone to the other, the next one can start while the first makes the turn to get from cone #2 to cone #3.
That will keep everyone involved, but the real challenge is staying on top of the drill. As the coach, you’ll have four kids dribbling at once, and this can quickly become an exercise in uncontrolled chaos.
The key is to assess the skills of each child as they start dribbling. A good coach will be able to know which kids are capable of doing this without help, and which ones need some training. It helps to have an assistant, and if you do, have that person set up a separate pair of cones for those that need help.
Pull those kids out of the drill as quickly as possible, and without shaming them, then give them the instructions they need to dribble effectively.
As you do, don’t forget to reward the kids who do it well. The actual rewards will depend on your program and what’s considered acceptable but keeping the attention of the more skilled kids is essential.
This is just one basic drill, but you can find others at https://www.cupello.com/. Cupello has been doing soccer training for kids for years, and they have to tools and skills to show you how to get the most fun and the best performance from your young charges.