* Is a good choice for an opening game
20x20 space. 500 hundred touches in 15 minutes. Free dribble (slow speed). One clap or whistle: toe taps/shuffles/inside-outside/sideways roles/outside-outside-bottom of foot backwards etc... How fast? “I’m looking for the fasted feet in town”
Catch the Pigeon*
Set out cones 10 yards apart in two parallel lines. Place 1 player at each cone. Assign numbers to each pair of players (they will be opposite each other). Coach has all the balls. Play a ball (pigeon) in-between each set of players and call out a number. Players must play 1v1 and try and dribble their ball back to their cone (cage) and put their foot on it. The lines of players can be teams and count up how many pigeons your team can catch. Multiple balls can be going at once. Variation 1: Players all start in a bigger cage and bring the ball back their instead. Call out multiple numbers for 1 ball and play 2v2, or 3v3. This can also be done where players play 1v1 and try and score on a goal.
Body Part Dribble*
In a 15x20 yard space, coach has all players dribble a soccer ball. When coach yells out the name of a body part, players must touch that body part to the ball as quickly as possible. Coach should vary body parts and rate at which he calls out body parts. At times, call out body parts consecutively (hand, nose, elbow) during one stoppage or call out two body parts at once (i.e. both hands or both feet).
Juggle & Body Skills
”Drop stop & Roll”. Touch-catch. Move-touch-catch. (Touch=thigh, foot, head). Air scissors. One footed. Combos of body parts. Can you do 5?
Free dribble with 3 speeds. 1=slow (but not walk), 2=medium, 3=fast (without losing control). Variation 1: Add a “turn” on coaches command. (Players will quickly realize that their speed will determine whether or not they can complete the turn). How fast can they go and complete the skill without losing control?
Split players into 3s or 4s and have to groups face each other about 15 yards away. Each player has a ball. Dribble-stop-go. Dribble-hook around-dribble. Dribble-stop-scissors-go. Dribble-stop-feint-go. Dribble-takeover other ball-go. Dribble-rollback-go. Dribble-rollback-take other ball. Dribble-rollback-run around other ball-go back.
3 Skills (should be part of every session)
Rollback, Scissors, Step-over. Free dribble 20x20 space. Vary speed, both feet, start very slow. Turn on command. Combos. Add to relays.
Short Passing Technique
In 2s. 5 yards apart. Inside always. Make it easy & make a friend. 2 Inches/ Equator, heals & toes, 90 degrees/L-Shape, No Stabbing, take a picture. How many? Left foot, right foot. Add movement?
Race Relays / Skills Square*
Divide players into even numbered teams. Take cones and form a square 10-15 yards away. Let the races begin. Vary the skills in the square: Dribble-turn-dribble back. Dribble-stop (on the way)-dribble-turn-dribble back. Dribble-stop-scissors-dribble-turn-dribble back. Dribble-hook around a specific cone-dribble back. Dribble using only weak foot. Dribble with only bottom of foot. Dribble forward in and dribble backwards back. Pass-run-turn-dribble back. Play for something...2 star jumps etc etc.
Shield - Steal
Two players (partners) with one ball. One player starts with the ball and, on the coach’s command, her partner tries to steal the ball from her. Play 30-45 second matches. Whoever has the ball at the end of the time allotment, receives a point. Play many matches. If ball goes out of bounds, one of the players must get it back into play quickly. Coaching points: Show shielding technique with body sideways on to opponent, arm providing protection, ball on outside foot, knees bent, turning as defender attacks, using feel to understand where defender is going. Fix technical shielding errors throughout this activity and make sure entire group knows how to properly shield.
One player with a ball and another player behind them with a ball as well. The player in front can go anywhere in the 20x20 yard box and the player behind must try to keep as close to them as possible and follow where they are going and what they are doing. The leader determines where they are going and the player who is the shadow tries to keep up with them. Then reverse the roles. Players can use both feet to start, then can choose to use one foot, then the other. Variation 1: Now the leader adds in moves while they are dribbling and the shadow player must do the same.
Newcastle / Dutch Circle*
Split group into 2. Half form a circle with a ball each (approx size of center circle). Place a 4 cones in the middle to form a 5x5 yard square. The other half go in the circle without a ball. Players in the square head to players on the outside. Once 2 or 3 yards away they perform a skill then head back into the square before heading to someone new. Players “work” for 30 secs then switch. Skills will be: 2 touch pass, 1 touch pass, volley to hands, thigh-volley, chest-volley, header. Make it competitive...how many skills can you get in during 30 seconds.
Two players, two balls. 2 cones 10 yards apart. The line between the cones is a mirror and players face each other. One leads and the other copies. Feints, scissors, cuts, turns etc...how fast? Variation: one ball is removed and it’s a race for the player with ball to stop it next to one of the cones on their side of the mirror. Defending/shadowing player must get their foot at the cone before the player with the ball.
Every child dribbles a soccer ball in a 15x20 yard space while trying to tag other players with their hand. Players cannot leave their own ball. Have them keep count of how many people they have tagged and, if playing more than one game, see if players can tag more people than they did in the first game. Version 2: Players must tag other players’ knees.
In a 20x25 yard space, similar to other tag games except players try to tag others with their soccer ball, by kicking it at another player’s feet or ball. Have them keep count of how many times they kick their soccer ball and tag another person. Variation 1: If the players tag the coach, they are awarded 10 or 20 points.
Same as tag in that each player dribbles a soccer ball and that they try to tag each other with their hands. In this game, each time a player is tagged he/she must place their hand on the spot on their body where they were tagged. Obviously, if tagged a third time, players have no more hands to cover those spots, so they most go to the hospital to see the doctor. The coach acts as the doctor and performs a magical task (pretend) to heal the injuries of all the little soccer players so they can continue playing the game.
Get “Outta” There
Place two small (2 yard) goals at the end of a field 15 x 10 yards. The coach stands at the halfway line with all of the soccer balls. Half of the players are lined upon his left side and half of the players are lined up on his right side in different colored bibs. When the coach kicks a ball onto the field, the first player in each line runs out and tries to score on their opponent’s goal. If the ball goes in the goal or out of bounds, the coach yells “get outta there” and plays a new ball into the field immediately for the next two players. Variation 1: Coach can stop yelling “get outta there” and see if the 1st players in each line recognize that they should begin play when a new ball is kicked into the field. Variation 2: Coach can vary service of ball. Sometimes play it to one player, sometimes toss the ball up in the air. Variation 3: If the Coach calls out the number “TWO” before he/she kicks a ball on the field, the first 2 players in each line enter the field and play as a team of 2 against each other.
Capture the Balls
Using a 15x20 yard space, set up three or four “home bases” (squares) with cones roughly 2-3 yards wide. Break up the players into teams and have each team get together in their home base. Place all the balls in the center of the space between the home bases. On the coach’s command the teams are free to gather as many soccer balls as they can into their home base. Players cannot use hands and there is no pushing each other or sitting/laying on the balls. Teams try to gather as many balls as possible into their home bases. Teams can steal balls from each others’ home bases. Coach calls time and counts up how many balls are in each base to determine a winner. Coach allows team 1 minute to make up a new team strategy before playing again.
In a 15x20 yard field, each player with a ball. Players try to dribble from one end of the field to the other, all at once, without the “bulldog” kicking their ball out of the field. Coach begins the game as the bulldog. Once players ball is kicked out of the field, they become a bulldog with the coach. Players who reach the other end of the field without having the ball kicked out wait for everyone to collect either as a bulldog or dribbler before game restarts. Variation 2: If players keep their ball close to them, the coach “bulldog” can’t kick their ball out.
Set up many pairs of cones (with roughly 2 yards in between pairs) all around the 15x20 yard area. These pairs serve as gates or many mini-goals. Players each have a ball and must dribble through the gate in order to score. Have players count how many goals they score in 30 seconds and when playing a second time ask them if they can beat their score by one goal. Coaches can vary this by asking players to dribble with left foot or right foot. If players end up dribbling back and forth through only one goal, set up a rule to protect against this.
Follow the Leader*
Coach dribbles with a trail of players following. Coach can: stop, change directions, feint, scissors, step-over, left foot-right foot, change speed, play body ball.
The English Channel
15x20 yard area. 2 Teams. One in France and one in England. Players stay behind the line of cones on the edge of the area (on land). In the middle is the channel with a ball in it (a bomb). Players from each country have to pass their ball to hit the bomb so that it lands on the other country. Only when all balls are in the channel can players go and retrieve their ball.
Head - Catch
Coach stands in the middle of a small circle. Lightly throw the ball to each player and say “head” or “catch”. Players respond by doing the opposite. If they get it correct they stay in the game. If not they sit down. See what player remains at the end. TIP: If they the players get too good at it...ask them questions before their turn. You can also randomly throw the ball at players to catch them. Variation 1: Same game other then players repeat what the coach says out loud and then does the opposite. Variation 2: Players says the opposite out loud and does what the coach asks.