Currently, soccer is the number one team sport played by Australian kids (aged 6 – 13), with over 1.19 Million Australian kids regularly playing soccer. This achievement is due to the growth in the A-League and the on-field success in our men’s and women’s international teams.
If you’d like to get your child involved with soccer or simply want to help them improve their soccer skills, this article is for you.
To become the best soccer player at school, kids just need to focus on the following skills: passing, shooting and dribbling. This article, shows you what type of drills you and your child can do at home or at your local park.
As we know all know, passing is a fundamental part of the game, no matter what position you play in.
One way to improve passing is to set up cones in two straight lines as shown in the photo; you stand at one end and your child at the other end. Passing the ball back and forth with each other for 5 to 10 minutes, this way your child is practising his/her passing skills and foot-eye coordination.
This drill is great for parents because you can always control the difficulty of this drill.
To make this drill harder:
- Pass the ball quicker
- Introduce a second ball
- Ask your child to pass the ball on their weaker side
- Move the cones further from your child to make the passing distance longer
- Move the cones closer to make the passing lane more narrow
Kick a ball against the wall can help improve your child’s passing. The idea of this drill is to count how many times you can kick the ball repeatedly before the ball hits the ground TWICE.
This type of drill teaches your child how to control the ball and how much power is required in passing the ball smoothly. If you kick the ball too softly, the ball won’t return to your feet and if you kick the ball too hard, the ball would go pass you or hit the ground.
To make this drill harder:
- Don’t allow the ball to hit the ground
- Set a time timer. E.g. continuously passing the ball for 30 seconds
To win a soccer game, you need to score more goals than your opposition. Nothing brings more enjoyment to a soccer player than scoring a goal for their team.
One way to practice shooting with your child is to set up the cones in two straight lines like the first passing drill. Have your child stand at one end and be striker and you at the other end as the goal keeper. Have your child shoot the ball at you like a penalty or instruct them to dribble a few metres then shoot.
You can always adjust the cones to change the difficulty:
- Make the goal wider by moving the cones wide to make it easier for your child to shoot and score.
- Move the cones further to practice long range shots.
- Encourage your child to shoot with their weaker foot.
- Another way is to have you stand 3 to 5 metres away from the goal line. This time acting as a coach and instruct your child to shoot the position you want. For example, “Shoot left, shoot right, shoot middle”. This way, you can discover which shooting side your child needs improvement.
In the modern game, the ability to dribble the ball is getting increasingly important. This is what makes players like Eden Hazard, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Lionel Messi such popular soccer players around the world. Dribbling is the ability to carry the ball past an opponent while being in control, by simple taps or when moving around an opponent.
Most kids would know the game ‘red light, green light’. To incorporate this game into soccer practice, just add a soccer ball. Have your child line up on one end of the field and when you yell out ‘green’, dribble forward. When you say ‘red’ your child must stop with their soccer ball too. If your child doesn’t stop quickly enough they must go back to the start. This drill trains dribbling, ball control and reaction time.
TIP – You can make it a time-trial to record your child’s progress.
As seen in the photo, this drill can be run with more than one participant. So, get their friends involved! Have a little competition to see who can reach the finish line first.
“Red light and green light” is great for practicing your child’s straight line dribbling. To practice dribbling left and right, set up cones in a straight line with a small gap in between. The player then dribbles round the cone, “left, right, left right, etc.’. As with the previous dribbling drill, you can make it a time trial to track your child’s process.
Professional soccer players still participate in this type of drill within their clubs because it not only enhances their dribbling, it trains ball control and agility. Which are essential in the modern game and continuous improvement is always recommended.
Passing, shooting, and dribbling are the most important skills for young soccer players. By reading this article you may have discovered another important ““skill”, the ability to pass and shoot on both sides. From our experience, one significant difference between good soccer players is the ability to pass and shoot with both feet.
Many kids and professional soccer players have missed a wide-open shot because the ball came to their weaker side. The earlier you help your child develop skills with both feet, the better. He or she’ll have equal confidence in both feet and always be ready to shoot and pass.
Another great way to improve your child’s soccer skills is at sports camps during school holidays. At Australian Sports Camps, we run 3-day soccer camps around the country for kids aged 6-16. Join us at the best sports camps in the country.
Recent special guest coaches have included Jack Hingert, Eugene Galekovic, Roddy Vargas, Matt Jurman, Jamie Harnwell & Caitlin Munoz. Our clinics utilise fantastic facilities in each state with our structured skill development programs delivered by experienced and talented coaching panels.