Coaching soccer to 4 year olds and below comes with its own sets of challenges. Aside from teaching these kids basic soccer skills, you also have to take into account the additional challenges that come with this age level, such as their short attention spans and their less developed muscles.
The key to U4 soccer drills is to keep them fun and short. Kids at this age level play soccer because it’s fun, they make new friends, and this is most likely their first introduction to soccer. Their experience with you as a coach will determine whether they will pursue it further or not. The top priority for soccer drills at this age level is to introduce and develop individual skills rather than team skills.
Here are three U4 Soccer Drills that are not only fun but educational as well:
The first drill is called Treasure Island. Divide the team into two groups, have each group lined up one after the other, and give them one ball each. Place an equal number cones about 10 yards in front of the groups. Tell the kids that they are pirates and they have to dribble one by one to get to the cones, which are the treasures. They have to dribble their own ball to the cones, pick and carry one, and dribble back to the line. The first team to get all the “treasure,” wins. To get the kids in the mood as pirates, ask them what sound pirates make. They should shout, “Arrrggghhh!!!” before you start the drill.
The second drill is called Body Parts. Create a square grid by placing 4 cones on the corners. Give the players one ball each and tell them to dribble the ball around the space. Tell the kids that once you blow your whistle, they should stop the ball using the sole of their left or right foot. Right after the whistle, shout a body part and have them place it on the ball. For example, if you shout “Elbow!,” then the kids should place their elbow on the ball.
The third drill is called Tunnel. This is a fun game where the kids’ parents can participate. Have the parents stand wherever they want around the training field, with their legs closed together. Tell the kids to dribble the ball around the parents. When you shout “Tunnel!,” the parents will now spread their legs and the kids will have to kick the ball through the parents’ legs, and run ahead to receive their pass. Once a kid has kicked a ball through their legs, parents will now close their legs together and the kids will have to return to dribbling.