Below are Soccer Practice Plans for age U4 to U16. (The practice plans for U6 can also be used for U4 and the plans for U12 can also be used for U14 and U16). We use our exclusive "No Lines" Drills because they are better than Line Drills - your players will improve twice as fast, have more fun, and play better. There are many links below that will help you adjust the soccer practice plans to best help your team.
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"We played Dribble Across a Square and Dribble Around the Cone and Pass Relay Race at every practice, and the results were phenomenal." Coach Greg, U9 Coach and Premium Member
"My daughter is averaging 2-3 goals per game. It's been awesome watching her turn into a great player just by religiously doing SoccerHelp drills." Derik, U10 coach, Premium subscriber for 3 years
"My U12 girls won the end of year tournament. The main thing I saw in my girls was a huge increase in their confidence while playing. Some of that was better skills, but more important was being used to playing under pressure and in chaotic conditions due to the SoccerHelp practice games." Philip, U12, WA, Premium Member
Warming Up & Stretching Before Soccer Practice
If your team is age 9 or younger (i.e., U10 or younger), you don't need to worry about warming up. But, if U11 or older, you should spend a few minutes in light warm ups before strenuous play. If you aren't familiar with the need for warming up and stretching and the proper procedures, you should read "Warming Up & Stretching" in the Dictionary. (NOTE: Coaches used to believe stretching was good, but an article in the March 2007 issue of Prevention magazine says: "A review of 23 studies found that stretching before an activity damages muscle tissue, which reduces muscle strength and hinders performance. Start each workout by moving your limbs through a full range of motion." Personal trainer Judy Heller is quoted as saying: "You want to get the fluid in your joints flowing, so they are well lubricated and move with ease.")
Ask yourself "What do I need to teach?" The answer will depend on the age and skill of your players. Keep in mind the following:
The most important skill is dribbling. At early ages or for beginners, the most important thing to practice is dribbling. Many SoccerHelp Practice Games teach dribbling. They are self teaching and players learn by playing the games.
If your team is U4 or U6, you will greatly benefit from Coach Doug's ideas. You can watch video clips of how Coach Doug coaches and the "Hit the Coach" Practice Game at Coach Doug Video Clips . At U4 and U6, Coach Doug and I recommend you focus on dribbling, defense and movement off the ball but NOT passing. Passing is too confusing for U4 and U6 players and teaching it will hold back their development of other skills such as dribbling and movement off the ball.
If your team is U8 or older, you will want to teach control dribbling, speed dribbling into open space, how to "chip" the ball, how to make a Throw-in, and passing and receiving. The best way to teach dribbling, passing and receiving is by playing the SoccerHelp Practice Games that involve pressure and competition. The reason is because they prepare players to perform those skills in games, at "Game Speed" and while under pressure.
Keep in mind that it isn't better to play different Practice Games at every practice. Play the games that are most effective and use the additional time to play games that teach skills you need to work on (such as "Chipping the Ball" or Throw-Ins) or to teach defense or positions.
How to Choose the Best Soccer Practice Drills
I repeat: It isn't better to play different Practice Games at every practice. Play the games that are most effective and use the additional time to play games that teach skills you need to work on (such as "Chipping the Ball", Throw-Ins or "Winning the Ball") or to teach defense or positions.
Here are the games you should start with (Remember, it's VERY important to have at least one ball per player):-- For U4 and U6: "Hit The Coach™", "Monster Invasion™", "Soccer Bees™", "Follow The Leader™", and "Animal Soccer™" These games are easy to set up, fun and teach dribbling and kicking the ball. Your players will want to come to practice, the parents will get involved, your players will learn quickly and everyone will have fun, including you. You will be a very popular coach.
-- For U8 and older: As a Warm-Up, start every practice by playing "Dribble Across A Square Game" and if you have time, "Tick Tock" and "Tap-On-Top Race" (see the 3 Practice Plans below for examples). Then play "Dribble Around Cone & Pass Relay Race" a LOT (use it to teach passing and Aggressive Receiving), "Shoulder Tackle & Strength On The Ball Game" (for as many practices as needed), and either "Win the 50/50 Ball Practice Game", "Defend The Goal & Clear Game™", "Chips/Lofted Passes Game™", or "Throw-Ins Teaching Game™", depending on which skills you need to work on. Scrimmaging is NOT a good way to practice -- it's inefficient, the best players get most of the touches, and it reinforces bad habits. However, if you scrimmage, ONLY scrimmage at your first practice so you can evaluate your players (play the "Small Sided Scrimmage Without a Goalie™" game) AND at subsequent practices ONLY scrimmage for 10 minutes at the end of practice by playing the "Small Sided Scrimmage Without a Goalie™" game.
After your first few practices, choose the Practice Games that you think your team will enjoy OR that teach things your team needs to practice. Let me repeat:It isn't better to play different Practice Games at every practice. Use the same games to warm up and play the games that are most effective (such as "Hit The Coach™" if your team is U4 or U6 and "Dribble Around Cone & Pass Relay Race" if your team is U8 or older. Use the additional time to play games that teach skills you need to work on (such as Throw-Ins by playing the "Throw-Ins Teaching Game™") or to teach defense or positions.
Practice Plan No. 1
(For a 60-minute practice assume 45 minutes of actual practice time. It is VERY important to have a ball for each child.)
At Practice, play games like Hit the Coach, or the other free U6 Practice Games , or the Premium Practice Games, if you subscribe to SoccerHelp Premium. The other Practice Plans below include some Premium Games. There is a coupon at the top of this page.
Have everyone say their name while everyone else repeats the names at several different times during practice. This is a good way to teach names.
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