By Chris Kouns
USSF A License (USSF Coaching Education Instructor) – NSCAA Premier Diploma (NSCAA Coaching Education Associate Staff Coach) – Head Women’s Soccer Coach – Georgia Gwinnett College
In these activities we are helping children in the formative stages of their soccer development become more comfortable with the ball and adjusting the pressure on the ball so they can still be competitive.
Guard the Castle
Set up a grid that is 12 X 12 yards. Organize the team into groups of four. One of the four players should wear an alternate jersey and be the designated defender (guarder of the castle). Take a ball and place it on the top of a disc cone in the middle of the grid, this will become the “castle”. If you do not have disc cones, a tall cone will work just as good.
It will be up to the 3 attackers to pass the ball around the defender in the grid in attempt to knock down the castle with a pass. The castle is considered knocked down when the ball is knocked off the cone or the tall cone is knocked down with a pass.
- Depending on the age level and skill of the players, you can remove the 12 x 12 grid limitations, or make the grid smaller for very skilled players.
- If players stand next to the cone, you can build a 3x3 grid and not allow players to step into that small grid.
- Require players to complete a certain number of passes before they are allowed to knock down the castle.
- Instruct players to get their heads up to find the pass.
- Make sure the players are passing the ball with proper weight on the ball.
- Make sure players are moving about the grid in order to find open space. Make sure players know it is ok to dribble the ball to space or beat the defender before making the pass.
- Make sure players are making the easiest decisions when passing.
Outline a 20X30 grid with cones. Each of the players need a ball.
Play Simon Says with the team as the players dribble in the grid. If a player does something they are not supposed to, issue them a GOTCHA. See who gets the least number of GOTCHA's. Examples of commands could be: Change direction, stop the ball, stop the ball and put your belly on the ball... etc. Also, try to throw in a trick or two like: kick the ball as far away as you can.
- Without ball
- With ball in hand
- With ball
- Have players do actions like clapping in between their legs and skipping to increase body awareness.
- Focus on dribbling skills and keeping the ball close and under control.
- Focus on players listening skills.
The Greeting Game
Build a grid that is 15X20 yards using cones. Each of the players get inside the grid.
All the players dribble around randomly inside the grid. The coach calls out various types of greetings, which each players then has to carry out with others: shake hands, high fives (one hand), high fives (other hand), shoulder to shoulder, back to back, etc.
- Add dribbling with a specific foot
- Make them do an action before they can complete the greeting (turn the ball and then high five)
- When dribbling, keep the ball close
- Control your body so that you are not over the ball too far and hit someone
- Change speed of dribble after doing a task
By Chris Kouns: USSF A License (USSF Coaching Education Instructor) – NSCAA Premier Diploma (NSCAA Coaching Education Associate Staff Coach) – Head Coach Georgia Gwinnet College Women’s Soccer (GA)