Foot Surface Dribbling (U8 and up)
Use different foot surfaces to dribble to cone and back (inside, outside, toe, laces).
Ball Control (U8 and up)
Tick tock -- Move ball back and forth between feet. Variation: move forward
Roll ball inside and outside of foot
Drop ball on laces, let it bounce back up and catch
Drop ball on inside of foot, let it bounce back up and catch
Drop ball on thigh, let it bounce back up and catch
Kick ball to self with laces, toe pointed
Robin Hood (U6 and up)
Players go one at a time to center, retrieve balls, and bring them back to the group. Group with most balls retrieved wins.
Freeway (U6, U8)
The ball is your car. Drive your car around the freeway. If it collides with anyone, it becomes damaged and you have to take it to the garage to get repaired. Repair it with 10 toe touches (bottom of feet). Stay on freeway (defined space). Make engine sounds. Variations: Coach is monster truck that players have to avoid. Coach issues “stop” command (trap ball). Coach issues “reverse” command (step on ball, roll it back, and go back where you came from). Coach issues “LH turn” and “RH turn”. Trap ball between legs and turn all the way around.
Round Flag Relays (U6 and up)
Dribble around flag and back. Tight turns around flag. Can set up cones for slalom course with different formations, e.g.,
^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^
Variation: Dribble/pass relay (set up cone where players pass from to next player in line)
Musical Soccer Balls (U6 and up)
Set up several squares. Place all balls in a square. Players jog around the outside of square. Coach takes 1-3 balls out of square. On “go’, players run into square, retrieve balls, and dribble to another square. Players without a ball (1-3 have been removed) can steal one. Once in other square, safe.
Too Few Balls, Too Many Players (#47)
Players line up in 2 lines across from e/o. Balls lined up in center in a line parallel to players. On go, players race to get a ball and dribble it back to their line. Each time, coach removes a ball. Players w/o balls have to help set up for next round.
Attack and Protect (U6 and up)
Provide a 20 by 20 yd grid. Ea. player has a ball. Players dribble around grid trying to kick each other’s balls out of the grid while protecting own ball.
Dribble Across Circle/Square (U6 and up)
Set up cones in circle. Players dribble across circle/square. On “go”, players dribble across the circle, looking out for other players. Can also do with square using either 2 or all 4 sides. Combine with turns (pull/drag back, pull back and step w/opposite foot after turn, cutback, fake instep pass and cut back w/outside of same foot, do all RL)
Dribble Freeze Tag (U6 and up)
Put all players in a square, each with a ball. One or two are “it” and have to tag the others. Players must always keep their balls within reach of their feet. A player who is tagged has to sit on his or her ball until another player comes by and “unfreezes” him or her. Game over when all players tagged.
Variation: “Frozen” players hold ball and stand with legs apart. They are unfrozen when another player passes a ball through their feet
Dribble Team Tag (U6 and up) (#17)
'It' team tags other team until all players are eliminated.
Sharks and Minnows (U6 and up)
Coach starts out as “shark”. Minnows (players) line up against one line. Players must dribble to opposite line without “shark” stealing their ball. Minnows who are caught join shark. Variations: (1) Sharks have to be joined (hold hands or bandana), (2) If minnows leave “pond” (boundary), they become sharks.
Sharks (U6 and up)
Everyone is a “shark”. Object is to kick other players ball out of the square without your ball being knocked out. Once your ball is knocked out, must sit out. If kick someone, automatic red card. (Works on dribbling and tackling)
Red Light, Green Light (U6, U8)
Coach stands about 10 yards in front of players facing away from them. On “Green Light”, players dribble toward coach. On “Red Light” players must stop immediately. Coach turns around to see if any players are moving. Players moving must go back to start line or back up several yards.
Shadow Dribbling (U6, U8)
Variations: Lose your shadow, follow the leader, in pairs or snake; if in pairs, “driver” and “passenger”)
Counting for Points (U6, U8, U10)
Dribble in square, stop when coach raises hand. Coach holds up number of fingers, players must call out number. Teaches players to dribble while looking up. Coach should move around square.
Anatomy Dribbling (U6, U8)
Players dribble in square. Coach says “right foot” and players put right foot on ball. Coach says “left elbow” and players put left elbow on ball. Object is to get players to keep ball close. Ideas: “left elbow”, “left foot’, “belly button”, “hand and foot’, “backside”, “bicep”. Variation: two or more body parts (e.g., “hand and foot”, “forehead, elbow, and feet”, “ear and elbow”, “three right hands”, “four left feet”).
See the Volcano (U6, U8)
Set up cones around the playing area randomly. Each cone represents a volcano. Object is to dribble as close to the “volcano” as possible (to see it) while not hitting it (and getting burned with lava). Teaches quick turning while dribbling.
Bombs Away (U6, U8, U10)
Players dribble around grid while coach launches air balls (bombs) into the grid. Object is to avoid being hit by a bomb. Teaches keeping head up while dribbling.
Grab the Tail (U6, U8, U10)
Each player tucks a “tail” into their shorts. (Can use long strips of an old sheet) Object is to dribble and grab as many other tails as possible while keeping your own. When a tail is lost, that player is out.
What Time is it Mr. Fox? (U6, U8, U10)
Players stand with balls on a line. Coach is in front of them. Coach turns away and walks forward. Players follow behind dribbling. Players say, “What time is it Mr. Fox?” Coach says (make up a time, e.g., “six o-clock”). Coach walks and players dribble some more. After several rounds of asking and telling the time, when the players ask “What time is it Mr. Fox?”, the coach says “Dinnertime!”. The players step on their balls, roll them behind them, turn round and dribble back as fast as they can while being pursued by the ‘Fox’. Works on dribbling, reversing direction quickly. Players can be fox (U10).
Dribble Race (U8 and up)
Two teams. Both have balls. Line up across from each other. Players race to dribble to other line. At line, must stop and control ball as quickly as possible. Team with all players stopped on the opposite line first wins.
Cone Toss (U8 and up)
Players dribble in defined space. Coach tosses cone in. Players must catch. If miss, do 10 toe touches. Variation: Players toss to e/o., avoid being hit by cone. Can use extra ball instead of cone. Teaches looking up while dribbling.
Kick Balls Out of Grid (U8 and up)
Team A in grid w/balls. Team B outside without balls. On “go” team B tries to kick team A’s balls out of the grid. If ball kicked out, can receive pass from other player. Switch roles.
City Country Game (U8, U10, U12)
Set up small grids representing a particular city or country. On command, dribble to “Australia” or “New York”.
Partner Dribbling (U10, U12, U15)
1) Dribble toward partner, get as close as possible with good speed, but keeping control. When reach partner, stop ball, push it back, turnaround, and go the other way. Leave at the same time as partner. Keep head up. Variation: Other foot.
2) Same as before, but start a few feet behind cone. When player reaches partner, he steps beyond the ball and uses the outside of the other foot to push the ball back (not stepping on the ball). 2x w/r. foot and 2x with l. foot.
3) Same as before except step with left foot and use right foot to push ball to the right. Fake to left, cut to right. Keep head up. Go right at other player like he’s a defender, then go by him.
4) Same except step with right foot and push with outside of left foot. Fake to right, cut to left.
1v1 Dribbling (U10, U12, U15)
Try to score by getting past defender and dribbling past end line.
X ^ ^
Attacker tries to score on opposite cones
^ ^ X
Defender serves ball to attacker, then defends goal. If defender wins the ball, he becomes the attacker and tries to score on the opposite goal.
Coaching tips: If attacker gets too close to defender, attacker should first shield the ball and then try to get around the defender.
2v2 Dribbling (U10, U12, U15)
^ ^ ^ ^
X ---à ß-----X
X coach ^ ^
X ---à ß----- X
^ ^ ^ ^
Coach serves ball to either side. Must dribble through goal to score.
Chase Dribble (U10 and up)
Pair off players and give each player a number (e.g,. 1, 2). Players position on the perimeter of the circle directly opposite their opponent. One of each pair has a ball. Coach calls out number (e.g, 2). The two players with this number spring counterclockwise around the circle, one with the ball dribbling and the other pursuing without a ball. Player with ball attempts to dribble around circle and back to his/her space before being tagged by chaser. Players exchange possession of ball after each circuit. Coach can call more than one number as a variation.
Zone Dribbling (U10 and up) (#33)
Create area w/4 zones and a defender in each zone. Player tries to dribble from Z1 to Z4 through defenders. If stopped, takes ball back and continues trying, or can switch with defender. If he keeps going, when he reaches Z4, he takes Z4’s spot and Z4 – Z1 move down. Variation: 6 zones, defenders in z2 and 4 only. Defender in “crab” position.
Cross Toss (U10 and up)
Focuses on trapping. Players line up in pairs about 10 yards apart. One player tosses ball in front of partner. Partner dribbles the ball back, stops and controls it, and returns to his side with the ball. Then, he throws it to the first partner who does the same thing. Race to see which team can get down first.
X ------------------à X throw to partner’s feet
X Xß---------------------- partner dribbles back, stops and controls
X ----------------------à X partner runs back with ball
X ß-------------------X throws to partner’s feet (etc.)
Variation: Both players toss ball to other’s feet at the same time. Then control and dribble to opposite side.
3 in a Corner (U10 and up)
Put 8 balls in the middle of a square. Other players lined up outside square at 3 corners. Object is to get 3 balls in the team’s corner. One player from each team enters square at a time. Player can get balls from middle or steal from another player. Once a player gets a ball in the corner, he tags the next player in line and goes to end of his team’s line. Players outside square cannot protect balls in their corner. Team to get 3 balls in their corner wins.
Marbles (U6 and up)
Players pair up, each with a ball. One player sets ball down. Other player passes and tries to hit ball on ground. Alternate. Variation: Player tries to dribble while 1 or 2 other players try pass into his ball.
Knock Over or Miss Cones (U6 and up)
Put cones in a circle. Define space around cones which players must stay outside of. Players pass to each other through the cones and either try to knock them over or miss them. (Variation: If knocking over cones, reduce the number of cones the second time around.)
Tunnel Passing (U6 and up)
X X (stands with legs apart) X
-------à pass through “tunnel”---à
First 30 seconds, practice. Then, person in middle keep count of successful passes for 1 minute (count out loud). Switch positions. Look at ball, not tunnel when passing. Rotate outside and middle players.
Passing Secret Number (U6, U8, U10)
Divide players into two groups. Assign each player a number. 1 player on each team has the same number. When coach calls a number(s), players with that number(s) run to ball and try to pass to coach. If play goes on too long without a pass, coach counts down 10, 9, 8,…1 “buzzer sound” and calls another number(s). Variation: Call more than one number at once.
Passing Dodge Ball (U8 and up)
All players in 20 by 20 grid except 2 or 3 players who are “it”. Players who are “it’ each have a ball try to pass (inside foot pass) to each other while hitting a player in the grid. If player is hit, he or she picks up his or her ball and joins players outside the grid. Game ends when everyone has been hit. Must hit below waist. 1st violation: yellow card, 2nd violation: red card (out of the game). Variations: (1) Players do not try to pass to each other, just hit players without a ball. (2) Coach tries to hit players by passing ball.
Dribble/Pass Relay Races (U8 and up)
X = player, ^ = cone
X X X X X X ……. dribble…….>>>> …. ^
2 lines of players race dribbling to cone and back (players dribble around cone)
X X X X X X ……. dribble…….>>>> …. ^
2 lines of players race dribbling around cone and passing back
Each player has own cone. Must dribble around and back “X” (e.g., 3 times)
Passing Pairs Game (U8 and up)
2 lines of players pass back and forth to each other. E.g., 20 two touch passes with right foot, 20 two touch passes with left foot. Variations: (1) Have players move farther apart and see if they can still execute an accurate pass. (2) Put 2 cones between each two players through which they must pass the ball. Focus on technique: “Trap, look up, pass”, use inside of foot to pass.
Passing Golf (U8 and up)
Set up gates (two cones close together) around the practice area. See the lowest number of passes a team (2 players) can make in getting through all of the gates.
Pass to Man in Middle (U8 and up)
Player on outside passes to person in middle. Person in middle must control ball, turn around, and pass to the other outside player.
Speed Passing (U8 and up)
Pass back and forth. After one minute practice time, see how many passes players can do in one minute. (Pass ball, trap ball, look up, pass ball back.
Passing into Space (U8 and up)
Players practice passing into the space in front of their partner. Partner must run to catch up with ball and then pass to the space in front of him where 1st passer is running to receive ball. Can set up as a relay.
Split the Middle (U8 and up)
Players pair off and pass to each other between two cones. After each successful pass, they each move back a few steps and pass again. Keep moving back until pass unsuccessful, then return to starting point and start over.
Pass the Buck (U8 and up)
2 or 4 teams
1 team at a time
Play ball to players in the other area
Play for 1 minute
Keep balls in opposite area
One team goes, then other
If ball goes out of cones, doesn’t count
Players must stay in their area
X X X
^ ^ ^ ^
^ ^ ^ ^
X ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo X
^ ^ ^ ^
X X X
Both teams play at the same time
Pass and Stop (U10 and up)
Player 1 passes, player 2 stops. Player 2 advances down field. Player 1 goes to ball and passes again. Switch at end of field.
Inside Out (U10 and up)
Players inside and outside square marked by cones. Players inside pass to outside player who then moves and passes to different inside player.
Pass to Target (U10 and up)
Players inside and outside square marked by cones. 1/2 players inside and 1/2 players outside given pennies. Players inside pass to outside player on their own "team" who then moves and passes to different inside player on their own "team".
Ball Control in a Circle (U10 and up)
All players in a circle except 1-4 players in middle. One ball for each player in the middle. Middle player calls out name of outside player and passes to them. They switch places. Variation: Players in circle jog around.
Monkey in the Middle (or Keep Away) (U10 and up)
Two players pass to each other trying to keep the ball away from a third player. Switch when ball goes out of bounds (player kicking ball out of bounds moves to middle) or after 30 seconds/1 minute. Variations: Play 3 on 1, 4 on 2, etc. Set up a grid where middle players must stay inside the grid and passing players must stay outside of it. Put coach in the middle. If players get 5 successful passes against coach, coach does 5 pushups.
Passing and Moving in Grid (U10 and up)
Two or three players in a small grid. Players pass to each other, but must move after each pass.
File Passing (U10 and up)
X X X -------------------- pass>>>>>> X X X
Player from one line passes to player in other line. Then must run around cone and join back of opposite line.
Passing 3v1, 4v2, 3v3v3, 3v3 with 3 resting (U10, U12, U15)
Each time a ball goes out of bounds, switch places. (Hold penny rather than putting it on to make switch faster). Keep ball away from player in middle.
Stop players periodically and ask how they can help (by moving to a different position, for example. First pass is “free”.
3 v 3 v 3
n 15 x 30 grid, keep away, 3 teams of 3.
n Keep good space
n Not really keep away, just try to pass to own team around other teams
6 v 3
-- If ball goes out, kick back in
-- Think about creating space, no hiding behind other players
-- If a team gets 3 passes, they get a point
-- Heads up, find teammate
3 v 3 with 3 resting
n 3 v 3 w/one team of 3 out
n Every time ball goes out of bounds, switch teams. (Team that kicked ball out goes out.)
n Team with 2 goals wins
Outer Space (U6 and up)
Player picks a planet. Coach tosses ball to a height that represents that planet’s position in the solar system (e.g, Mercury = low ball, Pluto = high ball). Ball allowed to bounce and then players try to body trap it. Coach players to “run through” the ball. Ask players to pick “inner planet” or “outer planet”. Have players practice on their own first before “game”. Older players can practice the sole trap also.
Teammate Receiving Practice (U8 and up)
Throw ball to teammate who practices receiving it. Use low balls, medium balls, high balls. Receive with foot, thigh, chest, head.
Soccer Bowling (U6 and up)
Object is to knock down balls placed on small cones.
Dribble through Maze and Score (#48)
Set up cone maze in front of goal and last cone that players must be behind to shoot. Can play with or w/o goalie.
Shoot Out (U6 and up)
Set up 2 lines of cones facing each other. Players line up behind cones with a ball. Object is to shoot and knock down cones in opposite line before yours are knocked down. Cannot protect cones.
Keep Your Yard Clean (U6, U8, U10)
Divide large grid into 2 sections. Put half the players in one section and half in the other. Each player has a ball. Players try to kick balls into the opponents grid while keeping them out of their own grid. Whichever team has the fewest balls at the end of time (e.g,. 3 minutes) wins.
Slalom Shooting (U8 and up)
Dribble through slalom course of cones and then shoot at goal. If use goal keeper, shooter and keeper exchange places. Next player in line starts when new keeper is in place.
Slalom course set up with two cones at each gate as shown above. Dribble through cones.
Firing Squad (U6, U8, U10)
Coach stands in goal and says “ready, aim, fire”. Players stand in line facing goal. On “fire” players shoot and try to hit coach. Make sure players back far enough so coach doesn’t get hurt. Everyone shoots at once.
Shooting Dodge Ball (U8 and up)
8 players in the middle, 8 on outside of square. Players on outside shoot at players on inside.
Pass and Shoot (U10 and up)
Players line up in front of goal leaving room to run to goal. First player runs toward goal and coach passes in a ball. Player stops the ball, controls it, and shoots for a corner of the goal. Player retrieves the ball, returns it to the coach and goes to back of line. Can do with 2 lines and two coaches, for each corner of the goal. Players go to the back of the other line after they take a shot.
Penalty Box Soccer (U10 and up)
Goal keeper in each of 2 goals. 3 players on each team. Ball always within penalty area. Not a passing or dribbling game, but a shooting game. After goal scored or keeper catches, keeper throws in.
Kick to Partner Race (U10 and up)
Players pair up, one has a ball. Player with ball drop kicks it using instep to partner, and then advances to partner’s position. Partner returns ball and steps back a few feet. Continue as a race to a point across the field. Teaches kicking with instep. Variation: Partner serves ball to kicker rather than kicker drop kicking it. Ball must be successfully kicked and caught to advance.
Team Shooting (U10 and up)
Middle team are goal keepers. Mark “goal” with cones
Coach says, “Ready, go”. End teams toss ball over head backwards, let ball bounce once, and try to shoot into goal. Everyone shoots at once.
Coach players to keep ball low
Rotate teams after 10 shots
X X X shooting team
^ X ^ ^ X ^ ^ X ^ goalie team
X X X shooting team
Beat the Keeper (U10 and up)
Keeper stands in goal. Players line up in front of goal. Place a flag or cone where players will shoot from. Players dribble to flag and then shoot. If player scores, trades places with keeper. Keepers can keep track of how many shooters they stopped and the keeper with the most shooters stopped wins. Coaching points: shoot with laces, go for corners of goal, keep line moving.
X keeper shoot ß------ X X X X
Top Gun (U10 and up)
Divide group into two teams: one with soccer balls and one without. The team with soccer balls tries to ‘shoot at’ the team without them. Time how long it takes to ‘shoot’ everyone. Players sit down outside playing area when they are ‘shot’. Play within defined area.
STB ‘Steal the Bacon’ Shooting (U10 and up)
Line up players across from each other. Players assigned numbers. When number called (e.g., 1 and 3, 2 and 8) players assigned that number run to win ball, shoot for goal and try to score.
2 goals, 2 lines. Keeper passes to other line after shot.
| X | X
X | X |
Shooting (U10 and up)
X receives oX passes to attacker
pass, dribbles, shoots -> then becomes defender
After finish, go to different line.
If out of bounds, done, switch lines.
Players challenged to make a move on dribble to free themselves for the shot.
Numbers Scrimmage (U6 and up)
Players divided into two groups. Each group assigned a number (e.g., one player in each group will be “1”, “2”, etc). Coach passes ball in and calls out “1”. Both “1”s run in and scrimmage. First player to successfully pass to coach gets a point for their team. (Can also play with one or two goals.) If not successful, after a minute, coach calls out “10, 9, 8 etc” and then calls a new number. If ball goes out of bounds, coach calls new number. Variations: Coach calls out more than one number at a time. Coach calls all numbers at once. U6 -- Use animal names instead of numbers. Have players make animal sounds when called.
Switcheroo (U8 and up)
X X X X
player w/legs apart for goal these two player play each other other goal
Switch goals and players every 30 seconds.
1 v 1 with Small Goal (U8 and up)
Players try to score on opposite goal. Can play a minute, rest a minute. Can have players either dribble through goal in control to score or shoot. Start by defender serving to attacker.
Go for Goal (1 v 1) (U8 and up)
Work on scoring goals, 1 V 1. One from ea. group goes in and tries to score a goal. Coach can play goalie.
X X __________________
X X | Goal |
1 v 1 or 2 v 1 plus 1
The "plus 1" is the goalie.
World Cup (U10 and up)
4 teams of 4. Coach plays keeper. Ea. team picks a name. The team that scores advances to the next round. At the end of each round, the team that doesn’t score is eliminated. Define area of play (penalty box and a little extra – not too big to encourage shooting). If ball goes out of defined area, coach throws in another. Primarily a shooting game.
4 by 4 Plus 4 (U10 and up)
Set up a 25 yard square with 2 goals and a goalie in each goal. 4 players on each team inside square and 4 players on each team outside square. Outside players can pass to inside player but not score. Encourage inside players with ball to get their heads up and use outside players. Encourage outside players to pass quickly to a player in scoring position. Play for 2 minutes or 2 goals. Switch inside and outside after 2 minutes/goals.
Transition (U12 and up)
4 players (2 v 2), 1 goal, two teams. Defense has one goal keeper and one defender. If attacker loses ball, players move to other side and defense becomes offense.
Unbalanced Numbers Activities
2 v 2 with one neutral player who is always on the attacking team. (Whoever’s got the ball – neutral player is on their team.) Start with goal kick. Play with goalie (3rd player).
3 v 3
-- Play with goalie
-- 3 teams of 3 on rotating basis (need three color pennies)
-- 3 v 2 game: one player off to side from one team
-- Team that wins ball stays in and other team goes off.
-- 2 players from off team come in.
-- Team that wins ball gets 3 players in. Team coming in has 2 players in.
4 v 4
-- 3 + goalie on each team
-- 2 neutral players play with attacking team
4 v 4 with no goalie
n Throw in, corner kick, goal kick, just like regular game except defensive player does goal kick
n Stop game periodically to evaluate spacing.
4 v 4 with keeper
6 v 6
n Goal keeper
n 2 defenders, 3 attackers ea. team
n Kickoff, goal kick, corner kick, etc.
n Stop game to check position. Force passing while opposing team standing still.
Heading Wars (U12 and up)
Player in “goal” tosses ball to opponent. Opponent heads ball and tries to score. If scores, switch. Coach players to lean and drive ball low and toward the corner.
Heading Exercise (U12 and up)
n Toss ball to self and head it to partner
n Arch back
n Snap through, almost like taking a bow
Head Juggling (U12 and up)
Coaching points: Arch back so ball is hit straight up. Use arms to balance. Allow players to catch ball in between if struggling. Variation: Paired heading (2 players head to each other.) Head ball so partner has time to get underneath and head it back.
Head-Catch (U12 and up)
Xo -------à X head
^ X X ^
n Keep repeating and moving up field
n When get close to goal, try to head into goal
n Switch after attempt at goal
Head to Goal (U12 and up)
^ X head to goal X head to goal ^
X X o toss X toss X
n Alternate groups trying to head to goal. Each pair gets three tries.
n Head ball down into goal. Contact top of ball.
n Progression: Two players in. Player on outside tosses in. One of the two player heads to goal. The other player plays ball to other team.
Throw-In Dodge Ball (U8 and up)
Divide players into two groups. Half of the players line up in 2 lines facing each other. Other half tries to run between the line while players on the line execute a throw in and hit the running players below the waist. If hit above the waist, thrower gets a yellow card. Two yellow cards and out of the game. Throw-ins must be legal. Can also do with sidefoot passing or shooting. Can put all players on the line and have coach run through: “Hit the Coach”.
Screening Practice (U8 and up)
Players pair up, one with a ball. Player with ball (defender) controls the ball with one foot and turns his side (opposite the foot with the ball) to his partner (attacker) and uses foot farthest from attacker to keep ball away. Attacker tries to gain ball. Defender counts how many seconds he can keep ball. Switch.
Atomic Tackling (U8 and up)
Group players in pairs with ball between them. Say “Ready, go or 1, 2, 3, go”. On “go”, both players strike the ball at the same time with the inside of the foot. Toes pointed up. Hit through middle of the ball. Have kids