Best Soccer Training for U4, U6, U8 and U10
Train Your Soccer Players for Real Game Conditions
So Are Prepared for Traffic, Chaos and Contact

I get a lot of great soccer coaching ideas from soccer coaches all over the world. Sometimes they are from moms or dads who have played a lot of soccer but are now coaching their kids, and they find that coaching young kids is different from coaching high school players or adults. Like you, I try to continually improve.

One thing I continually hear from coaches is that Soccer Players Will Play as They Practice - if you want to prepare your players to play in traffic, in chaotic conditions, where they are getting bumped, and to be able to play fast while under pressure, then you need train them that way. If you train them using line drills or by dribbling around cones, you aren't preparing them for match conditions and they will lose to a team that has practiced to play fast in traffic and chaotic conditions. If an opposing coach is using better soccer training methods and his or her kids are onball 80% of the time and training using our practice games that involve traffic, chaos, contact and game-like conditions, then you will probably lose unless your kids are more athletic. If you are losing to teams that have less athletic players, you should re-evaluate how you are training your players, because training is the key to rapid improvement.

Below are some soccer training tips for U4, U6, U8 and U10 players:

  1. Be sure the kids are "onball" as much as possible - 100% of the time is ideal. I have looked at hundreds of games and that the challenge is to find or create games that are fun BUT ALSO teach real soccer skills and have every kid with a ball ("onball") all the time. For example, Crab Soccer is fun but kids end up crawling on the ground instead of being onball. If you use games or drills where a kid has to do something without a ball because he or she lost or was "tagged", the least athletic kids will usually be the ones who lose and the result is that they are onball the least time, when they actually need the MOST time on the ball. Also, there is no way that doing an activity without a ball is as good for young kids as an activity with a ball - soccer involves a ball and does NOT use hands except on throw ins. SO, tossing a ball using hands or playing tag without a ball does NOT prepare kids to play soccer.
  2. Do NOT use "knock-out" or elimination games for the same reason as above
  3. I think the idea of practicing going toward goal with a ball and shooting into a goal is good. I think that will teach young kids the concept of dribbling toward a goal and shooting into a goal.
  4. From the Start Teach Kids that Soccer Involves Traffic, Chaos and Getting Bumped - I think if FROM THE START you use Practice Games that involve traffic, chaos and getting bumped, your players will be MUCH better off. being used to chaos and traffic they will be better off. The reason is that just like anything else you teach little kids, when you start out you are teaching them the "definition" of "Soccer". SO, when you start with Chaos and Traffic, they understand that chaos and traffic and getting bumped are a part of "Soccer". If your practices consist of standing in line doing something one at a time and never getting bumped and then on Saturday the kids go to a game that is chaotic and they are getting bumped, they aren't prepared for that because they haven't practiced that way. Think about it - this is common sense.

I get a lot of emails from coaches and I promise you this approach works. If you use our training methods, after one season your players will be noticeably better than other players in your league who have similar athletic ability and are trained using line drills or knock-out games. Our practice methods prepare kids for real soccer matches and real soccer matches involve traffic, chaos, getting bumped and competition.

Below is an email I got recently from a coach who started using the SoccerHelp Training Program at age 4 -- he never played soccer, yet 2 of his children were accepted into Guam's elite soccer training program -- he tells what helped the most --

Coach David-

I have been coaching my four kids, ages 4-11, for the past 6 years, almost exclusively using the soccerhelp games and drills (supplemented by the DVD's offered and Coach Doug's website). Recently, my two middle children ( age 8 girl, age 9 boy) decided to try-out for Guam's elite soccer training program. I wasn't surprised that they were accepted. I was surprised to find that they could equally compete with other children who had been in the program for a year or more.

Thank you for the effort you place into the website, drills, approach, etc. It has enabled me, a father who never played the sport, to successfully prepare many young kids to reach their best and have fun at a high level of competition.

Coach Scott, Guam, Premium Member and Patches customer for 5 years

I asked him what had helped the most. Here is his answer -- "You asked what helped the most...From the kid's perspective, probably the patches. They work wonders. The kid's favorites are the "Blood Patch" (red soccer ball), which heals minor injuries faster than an ice pack or mother's kiss, and the "Special Patch" (light blue soccer ball), which I used to reward a player's "personal best" in response to a coach's challenge. From my perspective, without a doubt, it was the philosophy of maximizing touches on the ball through games that taught and honed individual skills while emphasizing FUN. My older kids love the sport so much, they run drills on their own between practices!"

David at SoccerHelp

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