Soccer beginners in the 3- to 5-year-old group must learn how to dribble, pass and shoot. They also must get a handle on the basic team objectives: advancing the ball on offense and taking the ball away on defense. Drills run as fun games are more likely to hold the attention of younger players.
This drill teaches dribbling and shooting. Each player gets a ball and lines up about five steps from the coach. At the whistle, the coach starts slowly running away from the players. The players dribble after the coach and try to hit him by shooting the ball. Set a target number of hits. This drill is less chaotic if done in two or three groups.
This drill teaches dribbling away from defenders. On a grid 20 yards wide and 40 yards deep, one player goes in the middle holding a soccer ball. That player is “It.” All other players line up at one end of the grid with a ball. When a coach blows the whistle, the players dribble their ball toward the other end. The player who is “It” tries to tag dribblers with her soccer ball. Tagged players also become “It” for next round, creating a bigger dribbling challenge.
This drill teaches dribbling control and speed. It features a small circle of cones and a larger circle of cones. Players start inside the smaller circle with their own ball. When the coach yells “explode,” the players must dribble the ball to the outside circle, go around a cone and dribble back inside the circle. The first player to make it back to the small circle with the ball wins.
This drill teaches players to protect the ball from defenders and occurs inside of a circle of cones. Players get their own soccer ball and go inside the circle. Two other players don a “pinny” practice vest. They are the killer whales. Their goal is to take the ball away from players and kick it outside the circle. Players who lose their ball must retrieve it and bring it back inside the circle. The killer whale who kicks the most balls outside in a set period wins. Rotate the whales. Adjust the circle size and number of players as needed.
This drill teaches heads-up dribbling. Each player gets a ball on the field and a coach or parent plays the role of “monster.” At the whistle, the “monster” chases after players, forcing them to dribble away without running into teammates or leaving the field of play. As the players improve, add more “monsters” and have them try to get the ball away from players.