Soccer is a game for fun and inclusivity.
Particularly at such a young age, kids should be encouraged to enjoy playing football with their friends. That should be at the core philosophy of any youth football team.
In this guide, we’re going to be giving you a rundown of some of the most fun soccer drills for kids under six years old.
Whether you’re a coach or parent, you can use all of soccer practice plans at home or in your backyard to both have fun while helping your team improve on their basic soccer skills.
Coaching six year old’s new soccer techniques can often be a little difficult, and that’s why all of these drills are designed to keep your participants engaged during the training session.
We’ll be covering all sorts of drills that will develop basic skills from passing to defending, and you’ll only need a few soccer balls and a rack of cones to run them.
Without further ado, let’s firstly look at a few dribbling drills!
Dribbling is one of the most important soccer skills. Every player needs to get comfortable running with the ball at their feet, and getting kids comfortable dribbling with the football from a young age will help them become better players as they grow up.
Raid the nest
This is a fun drill that is great for U6 soccer players.
Set up multiple cones around a group of footballs and have each of your participants stand on a cone.
The objective of the game is for each player to run to the middle of the square, pick up one football at a time and dribble the football back to their starting cone.
Once all the balls have been depleted from the middle of the playing square, players can then run and steal soccer balls from each other’s cones. Remember, though; you’re only allowed to take one ball at a time!!
This drill helps players to improve on their dribbling skills while under time pressure.
Toe Taps In The Box
This drill is excellent to help players improve their first touch.
Coaches will set up two squares of cones. One square will be larger in size, approximately 10 yards by 10 yards, and inside that square, set up a smaller box 5 yards in size.
Each player will stand on a corner of the square and sprint with the ball on the coaches’ whistle towards the central cones. Once in the smaller box, each player will do ten toe taps on top of the football and will then dribble the ball back to where they started, passing the ball to the next player, ready to run behind them.
If you want to make this drill harder, you can add a slalom course that requires players to dribble around a network of cones on their way into and out to the smaller box.
Passing is an essential part of soccer and when coaching six-year-old soccer drills, remember to try to simulate a match environment to help your team get accustomed to passing the ball under pressure.
Here are two of the best U6 soccer passing drills.
For this drill, you need your participants to pair up. Each player should have their own football and should start by standing approximately three yards apart from their opponent.
The objective of the game is for each player to pass their football into the other player’s football, winning a point if they strike the opposition player’s football.
But there’s a catch! You’re not allowed to take a touch of the soccer ball, meaning you have to wait until the ball has stopped moving before either player can take their shot.
Should they kick and miss the other player’s football, the other player then gets a chance to hit the opposition player’s football.
In this drill, coaches should look to get their participants passing the ball using their instep and the correct posture. Players should step into the pass, keeping their head over the ball, and use their momentum to follow through on the pass.
Control The Box
This is a fun team game that is great for coaching six-year-old soccer players how to maneuver the ball around defenders.
This U6 Passing drill requires coaches to set up a 10-meter square. You’ll then have a team of four players enter the square along with two defenders, both wearing bibs. The objective is for the group of four players to pass the ball around and keep it away from the defenders in the middle.
To make this game hard, you can tell your attackers that they cannot run with the football once they get it. That will encourage them to pass the ball and their teammates to get into space away from the defenders. Once the defenders recover the ball back, swap roles around so that everyone gets a turn passing and defending.
This is the best part of football, because who doesn’t love scoring goals!?
Here are two of the best shooting practice plans for under six soccer.
This is a fun drill that will get your team shooting from all distances all around the pitch. For this drill, you’ll need a soccer goal and a few footballs.
If you don’t have a goal and are looking to purchase a portable one for training, I recommend looking at our review on the 10 Best Backyard Soccer Goals, which has some great options for junior players.
Next, you’ll need to set your keeper up in the net and get your players to line up about 30 yards away from the goal. As the coach, you’re going to stand between them and the goal.
Players will then advance forward from the starting point and will pass the ball to your feet. You’ll trap it and set them up for a shot at the keeper.
The drill will go on until everyone has had multiple shots on both their right and left feet. If you’re feeling confident in your skills as a coach, you can play more difficult balls to your players, i.e., chipping the ball up for a volley or pushing the ball into their feet, so they have to work harder to get their feet free before shooting.
Round The Corner Shooting
After you’ve worked on taking a pass and shooting, now we can work on dribbling and shooting. This drill challenges your players to control the ball and set themselves up from a tight angle before having a shot.
Get two lines of players lined horizontally against the goal, approximately 10 yards out from the net. Make sure there’s about a five-yard gap between the two lines too.
Each player at the front of the queue will run into the gap with the football and shoot for the opposite corner of the goal.
Make sure to take turns running each line; you don’t want to pepper your goalkeeper with too many shots coming at them, and ensure each player loops around and has a shot with both feet.
Depending on your team’s age and ability, feel free to increase or reduce the distance to the goal to ensure each player can hit some big bombs into the net.
The idea is to get your team getting the ball out from under their feet, getting around the corner, and striking the ball through with the laces of their cleats.
As much as these drills are all about improving your players’ skills, you also need to mix in a few fun soccer drills, too, and that’s where this one comes in handy.
When I was a junior player, my team loved finishing our Saturday morning U6 practice sessions with a big game of Wembley Doubles.
For those unfamiliar with the game, it involves multiple teams of two, trying to win the football off their opponents and score in the goal.
You’ll need to first split your team up into pairs and get your goalkeeper set up in the net. As the coach, you are the referee, and you’ll start the game by throwing the ball up in the air or booting it to a random part of the field. Then it’s game on. Players can pass the ball to their partners or take on their opposition alone and go for goal.
Once a team has scored, they advance to the next round and sit out the remainder of that round. The game goes on until all teams have been eliminated, with the remaining team missing out on the tournament’s next round. The winners are those that make it through each round and win the final game of the match.
There are a wealth of fun soccer drills for U6 players out there. You can even invent your own and tailor them to your team’s strengths and abilities.
Above all, soccer is a game of inclusivity and fun. Pushing kids to their limits is never going to help them progress as players. That’s why it’s vitally important to fill your U6 soccer practice plans with fun and exciting drills that maintain your player’s attention. That’s how you get young players enjoying the game, making new friends, and growing their skills as soccer players.
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