Classroom Tips

How to teach kids soccer | Soccer drills & games for kids

Soccer is one of the most popular sports for children. In fact, according to research done by the Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) in 2018, 4,420,000 children between the ages of 6 and 12 participate in outdoor soccer in the United States. That is a lot of children learning to dribble, strike, and defend!

If you are thinking about starting a children’s activity business where you teach kids soccer, the team at Sawyer has everything you need to run your business efficiently. Use our guide to help you prepare, write lesson plans, and organize your activities. Your students will be soccer stars in no time! 

Soccer drills for kids

With a sport like soccer, it is best to let children learn by doing. To be successful in soccer, children need to develop muscle memory. The only way to do this is by repeatedly practicing certain skills. Soccer drills are activities that teach these skills and give children the opportunities to practice. 

While practice makes perfect, it’s important to make sure your drills are fun as well as educational! If you want your students to enjoy soccer and develop a passion for the sport, keep your activities light and engaging. Use this list of soccer drills for kids to help you plan your activities.

Soccer footwork drills

Footwork is essential to success in the game of soccer. When children practice footwork, they get a better sense of how to handle and move with the ball across the field. It also helps with coordination off the field. Use these soccer footwork drills to help your students.

  1. Toe touches. Players should stand between 2 cones, which are 10-15 yards apart. Using quick touches between the soles of their feet (right under their toes), they should move towards the second cone and then back to the first. They can do this 10 times and increase their speed as they feel more comfortable.
  2. Outside-inside touches. This drill uses the same setup as the first footwork drill. However, for this one, players move between the 2 cones touching the ball with the outside, then inside of their right foot, and then the outside and inside of their left. Speed up the rhythm as they get better.
  3. Step overs. Using the same setup again, this drill helps players practice having the ball under their feet. The child should step over the ball with their right foot and then roll it forward while keeping it close to their body with the same foot. Alternate feet. Practice in a walk and then speed it up as they get more confident.
Photo of soccer drills for kids

Passing drills for youth soccer

Footwork and passing go hand-in-hand. Soccer relies so heavily on team effort, so having strong passing abilities is important to success. Use these passing drills for youth soccer to help you teach this essential skill.

  1. Partner passing. There are a lot of variations of this passing drill. If you are looking for soccer drills for 6 year olds and younger, then you can pair up players and have them practice passing to one another within a grid or along a line. If you are looking for soccer drills for 10 year olds and over, then make it into a game by only allowing first touch passes (when they pass without stopping the ball).
  2. Passing by number. In this drill, each player is given a number. Then, the goal is to have them moving around the field and passing to the next number in order. It’s a fun soccer drill for kids because it can get a little silly as they have to focus on their brain and their feet at the same time. This is also a good warm up drill because it gets the group moving.
  3. Passing through. This is a great passing drill for kids of all ages. Set up 2 players lengthwise on a rectangle and 1 defender in the middle. The offensive players can move up and down their line, but not into the rectangle and the defender can move within the rectangle but not outside of it. The goal is for the offensive players to pass through the defender to each other. The defender’s goal is to stop the ball from going through.

Soccer games for kids

There are so many fun soccer games for kids that you can, and should, incorporate into your soccer practices and training programs. Playing games enhances learning and for team sports, it’s a great way to get children ready to be competitive and have fun on the field. Just remember to model good sportsmanship the whole way through.

Sharks and minnows

This is a fun game for children of all ages and skill levels. Mark off a rectangle on the field and designate two children as sharks. The sharks stand in the middle of the rectangle. The rest of the children stand lengthwise across the rectangle facing the sharks. These are the minnows. The minnows have to dribble through the rectangle to the other end while the sharks try to steal their balls. If a minnow loses their ball, they join the sharks. The minnows that make it to the other end repeat the process, but this time with more sharks to avoid!

Protect the castle

This is a great drill and game for children because it practices defense, offense, passing, shooting, and footwork. Place a cone with a ball on top of it (“the castle”) in the center of a marked off square and designate one student as the defender. Then, set 3 students up along the outside of the square with the ball. The goal of the offense is to knock the ball off of the cone and the goal of the defender is to protect “the castle.” The offense needs to work together and find the holes in the defense. The defense needs to be smart and quick on their feet to protect “the castle.”

Battle balls

Split the group into 2 equal teams and line them up across from one another in a square grid. It can be fairly large, depending on the age of the players. Every child should have a ball. The goal is to have each player dribble down the line towards their opponent and try to knock the other’s ball away while still protecting their ball. It’s a fun game for children of all ages and a great way to end a practice.

Photo of soccer games for kids

Even though you are teaching on the field and not in the classroom, writing a lesson plan is still important. Use our guide to learn how to write a lesson plan and we have a template that you can adapt for your own use, as well!

Get our editable soccer lesson plan template

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Teaching soccer to kids is an excellent way to share your love for the sport while inspiring the next generation of athletes. If you are looking for guidance on managing and running your children’s education and activity business, the team at Sawyer is here to help. We work with educators and coaches every day to save time on admin, spend more time with their students, and grow their business. See how we do it with a free trial or demo today.

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