Coaching soccer is a challenging but rewarding process. It takes years of practice and constant development. You need to master skills such as communication, session planning, and control. Coaching 3 – 4 years old’s is possibly the most difficult age group to work with because a child’s mind is still developing and they have very limited concentration spans. You must be patient, have a great imagination, and be a fun person to be around.
What are the 4 fun soccer drills for coaching 3 – 4 years old’s?
- Steal the Tail: This is a fun game where children have a small tail (bib, vest) placed down the back of their shorts, players must protect this bib from chasers who are trying to pull it out.
- British Bulldog: This game is an evasion game where players have to get from one end of the field to the other with being tagged. If they are tagged they join chasers until everyone is caught.
- Rob the nest: This game is a fun challenging game where players have to get 3 balls, back in their nest to win the game.
How Do You Coach 3 – 4 Year Old’s?
There are three basic elements I feel are essential to coaching 3 – 4 years olds. Number one clarity of information. Make sure the children and their helpers (usually parent/guardians at this age) understand what the rules of the game are. Secondly, fun, the game needs to be simple but enjoyable. Children at this age love stories so the coach should take time to build up the ideas that each game presents. Finally repetition, the more familiar the children become with the game the quicker they will start to develop some of the basic movement and ball skills. For each game, I will try to provide this context.
Clarity of information is about the communication of information. If the drill or activity cannot be explained and shown within 20/30 seconds it is probably too complex. Simplicity is key. Try to provide simple clear detail that allows the children to understand the game without too much confusion. At this age, I would recommend either a helper per player (if parents can get involved) or 3/4 coaches per group of 12/16 players. This will help clarify things and allow players who understand to get going and the ones who do not can be helped.
Fun, the most important thing about starting a child this young in soccer is that they love the game and the challenges it brings. Lots of smiling, praise, and motivation. Try to learn everyone’s name quickly, make the players feel welcome, allow them some time to experiment. Do not get too frustrated if a player cannot do something, simplify it for them. Some kids of this age just won’t get it. Don’t be too hard on them or yourself if they do not understand.
Repetition, If a player is going to improve they need lots of practice of the same sets of skills over and over again. This age is very much about the player and their ball. They do not want to share in general they just want things for themselves so try to create drills where they repeat certain movements of skills over and over with a fun but challenging activity.
Fun Soccer Coaching Drill 1 (Steal the Tail)
HOW IT WORKS: Set up a box to suit the age group and the number of players (20 by 20 for around 10 to 12 players). Approximately half the group place a bib/vest down the back of their shorts with half of the bib hanging out (so it could be grabbed). The players with tails (bibs/vests in shorts) have escaped the people without tails. The players without a bib or vest have to try to catch the people who have a tail, pull it out, then hand it back and this continues for a set period. Players should swap roles every 1 – 2 minutes.
To develop this activity the coach could provide different color bibs/vests to the players and it’s the first player to get the sequence (red, green, orange) by stealing the tails. As a further progression, all players have a ball and they have to balance it on one of their hands. They walk or run around and try to knock the ball off each other’s hands with their spare hand.
The final progression would be to put the ball on the floor and players dribble it around using their feet. The game starts with a couple of chasers who do not have a ball. They aim to get a touch on a ball. If they do this, the player to who the ball belongs has to do a ball mastery skill such as 8 x toe taps to get back into the game. The chasers should be changed every 5 minutes.
PLEASE NOTE: For all of these games a parent or helper could act as the chaser for their child rather than play the game as a large group. I would recommend this if the group is new to soccer.
COACHING POINTS TO MAKE: For the steal, the tail game tries to encourage the player to protect their bib with their body and arms as opposed to running away all of the time. This will help the player learn to deal with contact from opponents. For the ball in hands and feet games, this helps the players work on scanning to look for danger and finally ball control when the ball is on the floor.
Fun Soccer Coaching Drill 2 (British Bulldog)
HOW IT WORKS: Set up a playing area, usually around 20 by 20 or 30 by 30. Create two safe zones on the field, one to start the activity and one to end it. The coach nominates two people to be on (Reds) the rest of the group started in one of the safe zones. When the reds shout bulldog, the rest of the children must run from one safe zone to the other without being tagged. The reds are trying to tag the blacks each time they enter the playing area. If the blacks make it across they must wait for the reds to call bulldog before they can run back to the opposite safe zone. The last three players to be caught win the game.
To develop this game different variations can be added, for example, all the players must have a ball and dribble from one safe zone to the other without their ball being touched. The chasers have to link arms in twos or threes to catch anyone. Add 4 – 6 mini coned gates to the inside of the field, The players being chased have to run through two gates or three gates before they can get into a safe zone. The chasers (reds) have a ball and they must block the gates and tag the blacks to get them to join them in the middle.
REMEMBER: The game and its variations could be played between a child and their helper if the children are new to the game
COACHING POINTS TO MAKE: This is a great game for developing children’s ability to change direction quickly, encourage children to speed up, slow down, to avoid being caught. It helps to support the concept that soccer is directional, Tell the children each successful run is like scoring a goal. The game involves lots of scanning. Run with your eyes up to see chasers, find gaps to safe zones. Basic skills can be added such as dribbling can be practiced in a fun environment.
Fun Soccer Coaching Drill 3 (Rob the Nest)
HOW THE GAME WORKS: Set up a 20 by 20 area then place 2 – 3 players in each corner of the field. in the center of the area place 6 soccer balls. Players take it in turns to run to the center pick up a ball and bring it back to their nest (corner of the pitch).Once the middle area is empty players are allowed to rob otherpeople’snests (corners), theycannotbe stopped by the players of opposing nests. The game finishes when a team gets three balls in their nest.
The natural progression for this game is to get players to dribble the ball using their feet rather than pick it up with their hands. Before the ball is added coaches could change the way players are allowed to collect the ball for example they could be asked to hop instead of run or sidestep instead of running. For advanced players ball mastery moves could be used for example once you have a ball you can only use toe taps to bring the ball back to your nest.
COACHING POINTS TO MAKE: This is a fun game that works on awareness, players need to be constantly looking who has two footballs in their nest and try to rob it. Because the game is a race the players should be encouraged to use close control when they have the ball at their feet, they should be moving with their eyes up because other players could be returning to their nests. Physical components such as speed, agility, and endurance can be developed as a result of this game.
PLEASE NOTE: A parent could play this game with their child if it was a beginner session where they move into the middle area with the child to show them how the game works.
At this age, players are new to the game and our main aim should be to make it a fun enjoyable experience for the children. There will be lots of mistakes, the speed will be slow, some players will get it, others won’t have a clue. Don’t be too hard on the children or yourself as a coach. Utilize parents or guardians to help the children understand, while you run the game.
I would advise that you run all of the games without soccer balls a few times before you add the ball. This will help build familiarity for the child. Ensure you allow for lots of rest periods between bouts, it is not a fitness session for the children it is about fun and participation. Remember to be clear with your information, turn the games into stories that relate to the children of their age. This will boost engagement.
Try to think of small adaptations that allow you to prolong the games and add new skills or techniques to the fun activities. Use parents or ideally have assisting coaches in a 1 to 5 ratio if possible to allow one coach to just coach and another to help players understand, deal with their small problems, help them learn.
Can a 3-year-old play Soccer? Yes, they can but their bodies and brains are still developing so it is important to go slow and be patient, The emphasis should be on body awareness, balance coordination, fun activities, and a love of the game. Ensure you use the correct equipment for their size, so a size 2 ball and mini-goals. Remember children of this age are not mini-adults.
How do you make a Soccer practice fun? Make sure you plan your activities to include a variety of skills, games, and technical skills. Include lots of mini-competitions, use challenges to motivate the players, and allow the players to rest between activities. As a coach make sure you are searching for the things the players are doing well and tell the performer what they are doing well. Catch them being great and they will have fun.
Find below links to articles on this site that may be of some use
- Soccer Drills for Your Next PE Class
- 5 Soccer Drills for Beginners at Home
- Space Wars. In a galaxy far, far away, players hone their dribbling and shooting skills on a moving target. ...
- Duck Tails. Watch your tail! ...
- Knockout. Players learn how to protect the ball and poke tackle their opponents' balls in an epic game of knockout.
- Half-Court Soccer. ...
- Red Light, Green Light.
- Have Fun.
- Don't allow use of hands to pick up the ball while on the field.
- Have a ball for every player at the practice.
- Keep practice moving, no waiting in lines to participate.
- Do not be negative, use positive reinforcement.
- Be enthusiastic.
- Dribbling and Ball Handling Drills.
- Drill #1: Dribble in an open playing field.
- Drill #2: Volcano.
- Drill #3: The Tunnel.
- Drill #4: Obstacle Course.
- Drill #5: Freeze!
- Drill #6: Inside/Outside Circles.
- Drill #7: Side to Side Taps.
Stand away from one player with the ball at your feet. Kick and pass the ball towards the kid but not directly to them. The kid must run towards the ball and kick it while it's in motion and try to strike a goal. Try to target a certain number of goals or simply repeat this Soccer drill for as long as you wish.What are 3 basic skills practiced in soccer? ›
Playing soccer involves several basic skills: passing/shooting, dribbling and controlling (or trapping) the ball. These skills can be learned at any age, and a good soccer player works continually to improve them.How do you make soccer coaching fun? ›
- Plan Ahead. ...
- Be Prepared. ...
- Work on a Variety of Skills Each Training Session. ...
- Use Multi-Skill Drills as Much as Possible. ...
- Keep up the Intensity. ...
- Multiple Drill Stations. ...
- Fun Competitions. ...
- Practice Games.
3- to 4-Year-Old Development: Language Milestones
Speak 250 to 500 words. Answer simple questions. Speak in sentences of five to six words, and speak in complete sentences by age 4. Speak clearly, although they may not be fully comprehensible until age 4.
- Keep It Simple. So often, parents assume they have to find the most elaborate activities and games for their children. ...
- Allow For Creativity. ...
- Be Flexible And Patient. ...
- 1) Number Hunt. ...
- 2) Pasta Necklaces. ...
- 3) Trace Yourself. ...
- 4) Make An Ocean. ...
- 5) Build A City.
- Passing Accuracy.
- Decision Making.
- Passing. This has to be the most important soccer skill you need to know. ...
- Receiving a Ball. This is probably the second most important thing in soccer, after passing a ball. ...
- Trapping. ...
- Dribbling. ...
- Shooting. ...
The goal for this age group is to introduce them to the basic concepts of soccer (dribbling, kicking, running, scoring goals!), help them improve their social skills, and most importantly… Have Fun! Practices should be held once a week for 30 minutes.What should a 3 year old be able todo? ›
At this age, your child is extremely active, mobile and learning in very physical ways. Children at this age are walking, running, kicking and throwing. They are exploring their world and picking up new skills, like kicking a ball or riding a tricycle.How do I teach my child to be more aggressive in soccer? ›
You can teach kids to be more aggressive in sports in several ways: pushing them but not taking the fun out of the game, helping them understand the games(s), overcoming the fear of failure, setting goals, helping them understand their roles, offering encouragement and more.What are the best skill moves in soccer? ›
- The Maradona Turn. The Maradona Turn is something every player practices and its beauty comes from the simplicity of it. ...
- The Cruyff Turn. ...
- The Scissor Kick. ...
- The Rabona. ...
- The Elastico. ...
- The Pullback V. ...
- The Rainbow or the Okocha Flick. ...
- The Knuckleball Free Kick.
Ability to run fast. Explosive speed – the ability to get up to maximum speed quickly. The speed of feet - the ability to move one's feet fast during the execution of moves.What makes a good kids soccer coach? ›
Summarizing the Qualities of a Successful Youth Soccer Coach
Ask them questions and listen to their answers, be a good person and show that you care about them. Be honest and deliberate with your communication. Be concise and paint a picture to help their learning. Always strive to create an engaging environment.
The course will also ask each coach to reflect on their experiences to develop action steps for personal growth in the Six Tasks (Coaching Games, Coaching Training Sessions, Leading the Team, Leading the Player, Managing the Performance Environment, and Leadership).What are the 3 roles of a soccer coach? ›
Essential Job Duties
Recruit and maintain an active men's soccer team roster in order to develop a competitive team. Develop and evaluate player performance. Conduct and supervise all practices.
When coaching, make sure you use a variety of different activities with a good dose of play. Keep activities short, sweet and you'll keep the kids engaged for as long as you need them. Make sure you don't decide for them, give your children the platform they need to speak up and tell you what they want.What questions should a 3 year old be able to answer? ›
By 3 years, a child should be able to answer more complex “what” questions like “what do you wear on your head?”, “what do you eat?”, and “what is she doing?”. By 4 years of age, your child should be able to answer “what” questions about function, such as “what do you do with a fork?”.
They start to understand social skills like sharing and being kind, but only when they're feeling safe and happy. Three year olds often enjoy being and playing with other children. Your child is learning that other people are real and have feelings so they may be upset when other people are upset.What cognitive skills should a 3 year old have? ›
- Correctly names some colors.
- Understands the concept of counting and may know a few numbers.
- Approaches problems from a single point of view.
- Begins to have a clearer sense of time.
- Follows three-part commands.
- Recalls parts of a story.
- Understands the concept of same/different.
- Engages in fantasy play.
- Sing songs.
- Skip and hop on one foot.
- Catch and throw a ball overhand.
- Walk downstairs alone.
- Draw a person with three separate body parts.
- Build a block tower with 10 blocks.
- Understand the difference between fantasy and reality.
- Draw a circle and square.
The most important skills in soccer are ball control, passing, and receiving the ball. Other key fundamentals for soccer players are footwork, dribbling, shooting, precision, trapping, and positioning on the field. Some general athletic abilities that are essential for soccer players are stamina, speed, and discipline.What are the 7 fundamentals of soccer? ›
The first part of the book covers the characters, how to choose your first club, and football's seven basic techniques and skills: passing, dribbling, shooting, controlling, heading, goalkeeping and tackling.What should I teach first in soccer? ›
Yes, we all know kids have higher levels of energy, but showing them the correct way to run should be first up in teaching soccer. Gather your teammates in a straight line and have them run a few laps before practice around the field.How can a 4 5 year old coach soccer? ›
- Keep games small. If you put your players into small groups of seven or less it is easier for you to keep control and the kids see more of the ball and have more fun. ...
- Twos or threes. Play 2X2 or 3X3 games.
Line the kids up or put them in a circle and play some basic icebreaker games to help them get to know you and each other. A great game is for you to stand in the center of the circle and kick the ball to a child. As they kick it back to you, they have to shout out their name.How many times a day should you train for soccer? ›
What is this? Although a soccer player's day is broken up into several stages, there are 2 main training sessions per day – morning and afternoon. Including game days, players will normally train 5 to 6 days per week.
The essentials you need for victory in a soccer game are developed in your practice sessions. A day's soccer practice should be 60 to 90 minutes long and it should prepare you for the situations and opportunities you will encounter in a game.
Ages 3 to 6: A Good Starting Age for Kids Soccer
This is still a somewhat young age to expect a serious level of athletic development, but the other benefits that come along with getting involved in soccer can definitely be of value to a young kid .
Reading books, singing, playing word games, and simply talking to toddlers builds their vocabulary and teaches listening skills.What fine motor skills should a 3-year-old have? ›
- Draw a face.
- Cut along straight and curved lines.
- Copy and trace basic shapes.
- Stack ten cubes.
- String 1-inch beads onto a string.
- Hold a large crayon with thumb and 2 fingers.
- Use preferred hand for writing and cutting tasks.
The best solution to manage your child's stubborn behavior is by diverting their attention – Options and not directives. It can be helpful in a situation when all you hear is a loud “No” in response to your questions. “Give them directions, not orders.” Don't try to direct your kid while he's stubborn.How do you correct aggressive behavior in children? ›
- Stay calm. ...
- Don't give in to tantrums or aggressive behavior. ...
- Catch your child being good. ...
- Help your child learn to express themself by naming emotions. ...
- Know your child's patterns and identify triggers. ...
- Find appropriate rewards.
Hurdle jumps build up strong, limber leg muscles to allow for your players to quickly avoid and duck opponents. Plyometric exercises that involve jumping, loading, sprinting, and changing directions, all help to develop stronger, more explosive soccer players.What are 4 exercises that improve agility? ›
- Plyometric hurdles.
- Speed ladder drills.
- Box jumps.
- Lateral jumps.
- Tuck jumps.
- Dot drills.
The side shuffle is a basic agility exercise involving a lateral movement, deceleration, and acceleration in the opposite direction. To perform the side shuffle: Position two cones or other objects roughly 15 steps apart.What is No 7 in soccer? ›
The No. 7 shirt is reserved for wingers and second strikers, though there are some examples of legendary central strikers who have worn the shirt, thus giving the number classic status.What is the best formation for 7v7 soccer? ›
2-3-1. 2-3-1 is the most classic 7v7 formation out there. It offers fantastic balance in any team and is incredibly easy for young players to grasp. Two defenders being helped by three hard-working midfielders offers plenty of support at the back without overloading defensive areas.
- Break up the routine.
- Incorporate games into practice.
- Think outside the sport.
- Run efficient and effective practices.
- Focus on the person, not just the wrestler.