Soccer is undoubtedly one of the most popular sports, not only played but also watched in the world. Its fanbase is plentiful and equally as passionate. Its audience includes not just men and adults, though (contrary to popular belief)! Today, we find kids and teenagers, many of which are girls, very interested in this engaging sport called Soccer.
Soccer might be easy to follow, but it’s not very easy to play and absorb. A newbie can easily get lost and unmotivated and want to stop playing altogether. Not every kid necessarily has all the required skills to play Soccer. Some find kicking easy but not dribbling; others find passing the ball easy but not controlling the ball! Very few hopefuls are the kind of players who find every part of this game easy and doable. Even then, absolutely every kid needs practice and must stick with it.
Why Soccer And Its Drills Are Important
Just like almost all outdoor and many indoor sports, Soccer is a great way to keep your health and fitness in check. It promotes coordination between different senses and body parts.
It improves the overall physical fitness of kids, even if they practice the sport only once or twice a week. Players that play more frequently or professionally are visibly at the top of their fitness game because of this wonderful sport.
In children, soccer has proven to bring about an improvement in the growth of the body as well as cognitive processes. Children are found to be more energetic, adaptive, and better at adjusting to different environments.
They also experience fewer mood swings as compared to 4 to 5-year-old kids who don’t. Enrolling kids in soccer and other similar games is a good way to ensure they have a healthy and happy childhood.
For kids just starting with Soccer, its drills and practices slowly help their transition into the stricter rules and ways of the professional game. Soccer drills for 3 and 4 year-olds are mostly about getting them used to physical activity and the essentials of the game.
At this stage, it is important to teach them the importance of warm-ups, teamwork, cooldowns, and other such basic parts of the whole game. Soccer drills also help kids learn the primary actions and movements important to play the sport. These include kicking, dribbling, passing, scoring, and stopping the ball.
Quick feet and a good body balance are also essential in this sport. Kids will also develop faster reflexes and a lower center of gravity to help them achieve their ideal player physique.
Now that you know what the benefits of soccer are, let’s dig right into the Soccer drills that you can help your students or children take part in. All of these target different movements and skills and can be personalized according to the needs of the 4 or 5-year-old kids.
Alright, let the drills begin!
Shark island or Volcanoes
Keep 4 or more cones to create a big area for dribbling. Every kid will have their own ball and have to dribble around these cones. A parent, a coach, or anyone else can lay within the cones to be the “shark” or ”volcano” of the game.
One person will be designated to shout “shark” or “volcanoes” once in a while, and when they do so, the players must keep their footballs from getting captured by these intruders. All this while, the kids must only dribble the ball.
Create a goal post with the help of cones about 5 yards away. Set up a line of marking with cones or anything else besides this goal post. The players have to line up 20 yards away and take a shot one at a time. If they succeed in striking a goal, they take back a piece of treasure to their fellow teammates.
The piece of treasure can be anything you want. You can set a target of a number of goals to be shot beforehand or make teams to see which one takes back the most number of treasure pieces.
In a boundaried area, kids pass around the ball and dribble it. The rule is to make only two touches to the ball before passing it. Before they pass the ball, they have to take the name of the person they intend to pass it to. This is a great practice for aimed passes. The coach whistles according to their wish, and when they do, the player with the ball is out of the game. This is repeated until we have a winner.
This Soccer drill can be played with 1, 2, or more balls, depending on how skilled all the players are. Remember to keep the sportsmanship alive. Kids out of the game must either watch attentively or cheer for their playmates.
Kids stand in a line side by side with their balls at their feet. When the coach whistles, they must start dribbling towards the other end of the ground. During their run, the coach will shout Green Light, Yellow Light, or Red Light as and when they wish to. On each signal, the players must change their action.
The green signal requires them to dribble fast, the Yellow signal means dribble slower, and Red signal means they must stop and hold the ball. This Soccer drill helps their control on dribbling speed and ability to stop the ball with intention.
A simpler version of the Signal Drill is Freeze. The players stand in a line to dribble across the field. Only this time, the coach will shout “Freeze” and “Run.” At “run,” they must dribble and move ahead; at “freeze,” they must stop wherever they are and not let the ball slip away.
Little, Little, Big or One, One, Two
From one point to another, kids must dribble the ball in a given pattern. They have to kick the ball a little once, then a little again, and the third time kick big.
Repeat this and reach the end following this same pattern. While kicking, the players can shout out “little, little, big” or “one, one, two.” Whoever reaches the end first wins.
All kids must stand in line with their feet wide apart. The player in the front of the queue must kick the ball using the inside of their foot and pass it through the tunnel to the other side. After their turn, they may run back and join the line from the back.
This Soccer drill is very good for players to learn how to kick with the inside of their feet. It is fun and also enhances teamwork and bonding amongst the kids.
Guard the Spaceship
Create a box in front of the goal and call it the spaceship. The players must protect the spaceship by defending it from attack. Another set of players are the attackers. They try to blow up the spaceship by kicking at it while the defenders kick the balls away to save their ship.
This drill works best for the 4-year-old kids to learn to defend and attack with intention and targets.
The coach kicks the ball randomly and shouts out the names of two players. Those two must run at the ball to get hold of it and bring it back to the coach using their soccer skills.
Whoever has the ball must do their best to keep it with themself as the other tries to snatch and deliver the ball to the coach too. This Soccer drill helps in dribbling, ball control, and learning to keep light feet.
A decided number of players stand inside a marked square. Once the coach gives instructions, they start dribbling their respective balls while simultaneously trying to kick other players’ balls outside of the square. Keep on playing till only one kid is left inside the square. They are called the top dog.
This drill works well to teach players how to snatch, control the ball, and multitask.
Using your choice of objects, create an obstacle course for the kids to move through. You may use cones, ladders, hoops, rings, stones, boxes, or literally anything else you want!
Let the players pass the obstacles using different movements like dribbling, kicking, trapping, etc. This is an excellent Soccer drill to help 4/5-year-old kids learn how to control the ball and trap the ball with precision.
If you are looking for something readymade and simple to begin with, you can check out this Set of Plastic Agility Cones, popularly used in Soccer practices.
You could also go with something like a regular Hurdle Set or something more extensive like a complete Speed and Agility Training Set.
Tap Move Tap
By using the inside of their feet, the 4/5-year-olds must kick their respective balls between both their feet. Start with slow movements and increase the speed of the drill as they get more and more comfortable with the game.
To increase the difficulty level, while they tap, move and tap, they can rotate clockwise and anti-clockwise while keeping the control over the ball steady. The players must try to maintain a tempo/ rhythm while kicking.
Pass and Trap
This is one of the easier but powerful Soccer drills. Two kids stand at least 8 feet away with one ball between them. Any player can start the drill by kicking the ball to the other player. They must try to pass as accurately as possible.
The other player has to trap the ball in their place and kick it back, passing it as accurately as possible as well. Repeat this till the two of them get comfortable and start doing well with the passing and trapping.
To increase the difficulty level, increase the distance between the players or add more members to form a circuit of passing.
A brilliant drill to teach 4-year-old kids how to respond fast and accurately.
Mark a circle around one player and make others stand around it. Introduce a ball into the circle and let the player in the center kick it towards somebody in the outer circle.
The player outside must trap and kick it back towards the center. The player standing inside the circle must trap and kick the ball towards the next person in the outside circle this time.
After completing one circle, introduce another ball into the circus. Now the players must attend to two balls being passed around. Repeat until there are four balls in rotation.
Change the player inside the circle after every few minutes. Teach the 4-year-old kids to multitask, be attentive and keep light feet with this Soccer drill.
Monkey in the Middle
With one player standing exactly between them, two players must stand across and pass the ball to each other. The person in between has to try and snatch the ball as it is being passed.
For each pass successfully sent across, the kicker gets a point. And when the ball is snatched by the money in the middle, the kicker must switch places with it.
Count the number of successful passes of each player at the end of the game to determine the winner.
Pass, Run, and Shoot
Stand away from one player with the ball at your feet. Kick and pass the ball towards the kid but not directly to them. The kid must run towards the ball and kick it while it’s in motion and try to strike a goal.
Try to target a certain number of goals or simply repeat this Soccer drill for as long as you wish.
And here is a bonus for you, for staying with me this far!
Balls on Heads
This is not so much of a drill as it is an exercise for self-control. While the kids are being instructed or talked to, they are asked to hold the ball with their hands above their heads.
This is for them to pay attention, learn discipline, stop fiddling and become better students. This drill works amazingly well to complete an organized teaching session without any chaos.
Let this be the only time the kids are allowed to touch the ball with their hands.
Soccer drills teach children the fundamentals of the game. The best drills lay a solid foundation for proper soccer techniques and help kids to love the game! The soccer drills given above will help your 4-year-old child have fun while developing the child’s soccer skills and ensure the best time on the field.
Remember that the children should get this practice at least once a week and for 45 minutes minimum each time. Don’t forget to check if they are warming up before the session and stretching after it. The rest of it will be taken care of once the kids start playing!