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Youth Soccer Drills that Teach Critical Soccer Skills

These Youth Soccer Drills Teach Players to be Aggressive and How to Play Fast while Under Pressure

I think some soccer skills are "concepts" that should be taught at the earliest possible age because they are ways of thinking about how to play soccer. The absolute best way to teach these critical skills is by using youth soccer drills that are games and that are "self-teaching". Self-teaching youth soccer drills are games where the game is the teacher and kids learn the skill by playing the game. Because the youth soccer drills involve competition and traffic, players learn to perform the skills fast while under pressure.

This article discusses 4 critical soccer skills and 2 youth soccer drills that are the best way to teach them. You will be amazed at how quickly your players will improve by playing these 2 youth soccer drills. We invented these 2 youth soccer drills and they are copyrighted and exclusive to SoccerHelp.

Links to detailed instructions for the 2 youth soccer drills are at the end of the article.

Here is what a U8 coach said: "I consistently use the Dribble Across a Square game and the Dribble Around a Cone and Pass game. They have done wonders for my team. Last Monday night we played the "top" team in the league from last season (who were undefeated again this season) and beat them 7-1." Coach Chris, U8, TX

  1. Instinctive Dribbling in Traffic (Controlled Dribbling) While Looking Up. The "Dribble Across a Square TM" youth soccer drill teaches this skill. A player can't be good unless he or she is comfortable dribbling a soccer ball in traffic while under pressure.

  2. Acceleration into Open Space and Speed Dribbling. The "Dribble Across a Square TM" youth soccer drill also teaches this skill as well as recognition of Open Space. How to use Open Space is critical to becoming a good soccer player.

  3. Aggressive Receiving. I think one of the mistakes of many U.S. coaches is teaching that "passing" is to feet. The result is that many players only know how to "pass to feet" and their concept of a "pass" is a ball played to a teammate's feet. Receivers start to think this way too and if a pass doesn't come to their feet, they will just stand there and watch it go past or blame the passer for making a "bad pass". You should teach your players NOT to expect a pass to come to their feet. Teach them that most passes WON'T be good. They MUST stay on their toes and ready to move in either direction to stop the ball. Their TOP PRIORITY MUST BE to stop a pass from going past them, because if that happens in a real match the opponent might get the ball. The "Dribble Around Cone & Pass Relay Race TM" soccer drill is the best way to teach "Aggressive Receiving". In addition to stopping a bad pass, this soccer drill will teach the receiver to MOVE TO THE PASS. The rules of this Game allow the receiver to move toward the pass as soon as the ball is passed. Now, the receiver will learn that he can't just rush at the ball because if the pass isn't accurate it will go past him, and one bad pass that isn't stopped will lose the Game. So, the Coach should advise players to watch to be sure the pass is coming toward them before starting their run toward the pass - they should get in line with the pass. The way to do this is move to intercept the ball - that is the first thing to do. Teaching players to move to the pass has many advantages. You may be thinking "There are times when the receiver shouldn't move toward the pass". Yes, that's true, but your players will figure it out. Moving toward the pass will prevent the pass from being intercepted by an marking opponent. It also teaches the receiver to watch the ball's "line" and to NOT wait for the ball to come to his feet. It teaches movement and aggressive play, which are both good things, and that the receiver shouldn't wait for the pass to come to his feet. The teams that move to the ball best will usually win this game. Your players will quickly and clearly see the advantages and want to learn to play this way. Receivers will be motivated to move to the ball because that will allow them to play faster so they can win the game. Be sure to explain this to your players as a "Tip" about how to play faster so they can win the game. If you use this soccer drill, the game is the teacher - all the coach has to do is give "tips" to the players. In this soccer drill, if a bad pass goes past the Receiver, his team WILL Probably lose the game - be sure to tell your players this so they will understand how important it is for the Receiver to stay on his toes and stop all passes. One of the most important things you can do is teach your players that a pass is NOT supposed to be perfect and that they must stay alert, on their toes, and go to the pass, and MOST IMPORTANTLY, do NOT let the pass get past them - they MUST do their very best to stop the ball. The reason to teach this is that it is unrealistic to expect most Rec players to be able to make a perfect pass when under pressure... SO, teach your receivers to NOT expect a perfect pass. In fact, teach them to expect a BAD pass and that they MUST be alert and do their very best to stop bad passes. "Aggressive Receiving" will hugely help your team.

  4. "One-touch play" should be taught as soon as possible because it is a way of thinking about how to receive a pass and it is a much superior way to play as opposed to stopping the ball at feet. By "one-touch play", I don't mean to start with one-touch passing - what I mean is to teach kids that when they receive a pass they can move faster by one-touching the ball into open space either away from a defender or in the direction they are moving so they can accelerate faster. The best way to teach one-touch play is by playing the "Dribble Around Cone & Pass Relay Race TM" soccer drill, it is a very effective way to teach the concept of "one-touch" because the receivers who one-touch the pass they receive into Open Space in front of them and run onto the ball will probably win (because they are able to play faster) and those who stop the ball at their feet will probably lose, so the Game makes it obvious to the players why one-touch play is better and players will want to learn how to one-touch the ball so they can have a chance to win the game. It is a self-teaching game that works well with a "Guided Discovery" method of coaching (how to use a Guided Discovery approach is also explained in the Premium instructions for the Practice Game). One-Touch Play helps teach the use of Open Space and allows players to play faster. "One-touch play" allows a much more creative and faster attack because opponents have less time to react. At high levels of play, fast play is required. Why would you want to teach your players an inferior way to receive a pass and then later try to get them to change? It is easier to teach them the best way to play the first time.

These Youth Soccer Drills Teach Players to be Aggressive and How to Play Fast while Under Pressure

Dribble Across a Square TM

Dribble Around Cone & Pass Relay Race TM

Youth Soccer Drills that Teach Critical Soccer Skills

Youth Soccer Drills for Fun Soccer Practice

Youth Soccer Drills that Teach Soccer Moves

Coaching Youth Soccer Drills

Copyright 1999-2013, David and Kay Huddleston

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