This article presents a soccer drill from one of our soccer practice books and unpacks the player and team development principles embedded in the drill. All drills in each of our books are assembled into practice plans to ensure that each practice offers the proper balance between the four pillars of soccer:
Technical Skills – Tactics – Physical Fitness – Mental Fitness
It is this balance, practiced over a season, that has led the tens of thousands of coaches who own our books to improve the performance and social environment of their teams.
We will give you a download link to the soccer drill PDF page, a link to the book that contains the drill, and then explain the four pillars of soccer using a soccer drill player development profile chart.
Kids (U4 – U8) Soccer Drill
Download the drill here: Kids Coordination Drill-6
From our book: Kids Basic Skills
Soccer Drill Profile:
The profile indicates that the emphasis of this soccer drill is on mental training and physical fitness.
Players with a ball in hand are in a 10m x 10m grid. Two players from outside the grid enter and then players with the ball try to “tag” the two by throwing the ball at their legs.
The goal is to improve coordination and awareness in a fun game, which doesn’t involve kicking the ball.
It is important to vary the content of practices for young children and inject some non-technical exercises that provide some fun and laughter. This soccer drill is not intended to develop any particular foot based skill. However, throwing the ball at a particular target can be viewed as introduction to throw-ins and goalkeeping.
This drill, as most drills in our Kids Soccer Basics book is not intended to develop tactical understanding. However, the concept of two players inside the grid running into space is an early introduction to movement without the ball. Also the concept of a target player is introduced.
In our Kids Soccer Basics book fitness training focuses mostly on agility, coordination, and flexibility. Endurance and speed comes from practice small sided games. This drill is designed to develop coordination and agility. The players with the ball need to move closely to their targets without dropping the ball. They need to work out the body mechanics to throw the ball at a moving player and learn to aim the throw below the waist. You will be surprised at the difficulty young kids may have initially and you may have to adjust the drill to foster success. The players entering the grid as targets need to be able to recognize their attackers and avoid being hit by the thrown ball. This requires changes of direction and if the ball is aimed at them a last second jump or side step to avoid being hit.
By the very nature of this soccer drill all seven speeds of soccer come into play.
The players with the ball need to perceive the movement and position of the target players. The target players need to perceive the movement of 6 attackers. The players waiting outside the grid need to be aware of when their turn to enter the grid comes up. So they should stay focused on what is going on. The nature of this drill makes it fairly easy for them to be engaged.
The players with the ball need to anticipate new players entering the grid and the space they are likely to occupy so that they will throw the ball to the spot the target will be in, not necessarily where the target is at the moment. The target players need to anticipate the opposite – which player will throw the ball and to which location so that they can avoid it.
The players with the ball need to decide which target to go for. They can decide individually or communicate and work as a group of 6 going after one target or split into two groups each going after a target. The target players need to decide where the space is that makes it most difficult for the attackers to hit them.
The target players need to react to the position of the attackers and more importantly to the ball thrown at them. If the ball is on target they need to react to avoid being hit. A quick side step or jump might do the trick. The attackers need to react to the movement of the targets.
Movement Without Ball
All players are moving without the ball at their feet and it is obvious how this is the key speed of soccer being trained in this drill.
Movement With Ball
Does not apply since players are carrying the ball in their hands.
The application to game action is the recognition of space and movement and delivering the ball to a target player.
This soccer drill, as is the case with all of our over 500 soccer drills, has coaching points and progression suggestions. It is important to keep players of this age engaged. Generally we don’t like players not being active in a drill, such as those waiting outside the grid. If it turns out that they are bored and are losing interest then modify the drill to set up two grids, each with more attackers than targets and rotate targets and attackers within each grid.