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.
Build a grid 20X30 (may adjust if too large or small). Every player must be in the grid with a ball.
The coach jogs around in the grid and players try to kick their balls and hit the coach. The players get a point each time they hit the coach. The coach should yell OUCH each time they are hit to make the game FUN.
- If the players are struggling to hit the coach, the coach should stop for a couple seconds to give the players a chance.
- Ask parents to be the targets so they can get involved as well.
- Have the coach dribbling a ball and the players should try to hit the ball rather than the coach
- Use different parts of the foot: Inside, Instep, Right and Left foot.
- Encourage players to get their head up and look for the coaches while dribbling.
- Make sure the players are striking the ball with the proper part of the foot.
- Help players understand their plant foot dictates where their hips and body will send the ball
- Encourage placement over power
Sharks and Minnows
Build a grid approximately 20X25 yards this field should be adjusted based on the skill level and number of players participating. Each player should have a ball except for 2 sharks.
The players with balls (the minnows) attempt to protect their ball from the two "Sharks". The Sharks attempt to gain possession and knock the minnows (ball) out of the grid. Once this happens, the minnow can run around the grid once and return to the game. Each minnow has two chances to re-enter, and the last 2 minnows remaining become the sharks in the next round.
- Players only use left foot to dribble.
- Players use outside of feet to dribble.
- Players use sole of feet to dribble.
- Help keep the dribblers under control, and not panicked, once the sharks get near them by showing them various turns using various parts of their foot
- Help the players see how shielding the ball can benefit them in a crowd
- Instruct players on how to make themselves bigger by suing their arms to create space and distance
- Inform players to keep the ball close within playing distance
Create a grid about 30X30. Set up about 10 tall cones (the treasure) along one side of the grid. On the opposite side have each player (the pirates) start with a ball. 2-3 players will start inside the grid with an alternate color jersey on. They are defending the treasure (tall cones) along the side of the grid.
- On the coach’s command, the pirates attempt to dribble past the defenders in attempt to take the treasure.
- To take the treasure the players must knock down the cone with the ball.
- Once they have knocked down the cone they must pick up the cone and take it back to their starting point while dribbling the ball.
- If the pirates lose the ball by the defenders, they must start back over at the original starting point.
- Reduce or increase the size of the grid and/or the number of defenders based on age, skill level, and number of kids.
- Allow the pirates to work in pairs where they can also pass to their teammate but must dribble ball back when one steals a cone.
- Keep the ball close and in control.
- Use the bottom of your foot to change directions and control the ball.
- Pick head up while dribbling so they can see where the defenders are.
- Explode past the defenders and dribble with speed.
- Try to work the ball close to the cone as opposed to just hitting the ball at the cone.
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)