For the very young soccer players, soccer drills are the most effective way to introduce them to the fundamentals of the beautiful game of soccer. These young players’ drills are made fun so that the kids can have self-drive when participating. Let us describe some of the best u5 soccer drills.
The Soccer Gauntlet
This drill primarily focuses on enhancing the dribbling techniques of young soccer players. It trains the kids on how to properly dribble while facing traffic and opposition. This exercise makes the players improve their vision and awareness.
- Using cones, create a 15 x 20-yard grid. Coaches can vary these dimensions depending on the skill level of the kids.
- Have one player to play defense and they will be positioned inside the grid. The defender should not have a ball.
- The other players begin on the end line each with a soccer ball.
- When the coach gives the signal, all the attacking players are required to dribble at high speeds trying to get to the other sideline while avoiding the defensive player.
- If the defender manages to win possession and kicks the ball out of bounds, the attacking player that lost the ball becomes an additional defense player on the following series.
- The last player to make it through to the other end-line wins the game.
The coach may require the players to dribble with a certain foot or part of the foot, such as the right foot, the left foot, or the outside of the foot. The coach should also encourage the players to
- keep the ball close to them as they dribble.
- be in control of their body and the ball.
- keep their head up to remain aware of their surroundings.
- dribble into open spaces to avoid the defender.
- Dribble at high speeds when in open spaces.
5v2 Rotating Defenders
This highly effective u5 soccer drill focuses on imparting ball possession skills. It trains the young players on how to make optimal passing decisions and how to make good passes. Kids learn about moving to open space and having effective communication with team members.
- Form a 15 x 15-yard grid using cones.
- Instruct five players to get inside the grid. They will be the attacking players and they should have alternate jerseys.
- The other players pair up and stand behind one of the corners of the grid. These players will be the defenders and they should have an adequate supply of soccer balls.
- The first pair of defensive players will pass a ball into the grid to the 5 attackers.
- The 2 defenders will then step into the grid and play defense against the attacking players in a 5v2 competition.
- The 5 attacking players will attempt to complete a set number of uninterrupted passes. If they succeed, the two defending players do pushups.
- The attacking players will continue making passes until the defensive players win the ball, or until the ball goes out of bounds.
- Once the round is done, the next pair of defensive players step in and play defend against the same 5 attackers.
The coach may make the grid larger to make it easier for the attacking players or make it smaller to make it easier for the defenders. The coach may also adjust the number of attackers accordingly depending on factors such as skill level. The coach should see that the players
- Maintain good vision of their surroundings.
- Make good direction and speed changes.
- Use short and long passing appropriately.
- Good passes with speed.
- Good decision making.
Soccer Ball Smash
This is a fun u5 soccer drill that will focus on passing accuracy. It is especially suitable for young players that are just learning to pass.
- Use cones to set up a large grid measuring about 40×50 yards. You may vary the size of the grid depending on factors such as number of players.
- Pair up the players and ensure that each player has a ball with them.
- The two partners are required to stand near each other within the grid but they should be positioned far away from other pairs when starting the drill.
- Instruct one of the players from each pair to make a forward pass.
- When the first player’s ball stops moving, the other player from each pair then shoots attempting to hit the first player’s ball with their own ball.
- If the second player misses, the first player will try to hit the second player’s ball with their own ball.
- A point is awarded to a player each time they hit their opponent’s ball.
- The first player to score 5 points wins the match.
The coach can instruct the players to pass only with certain parts of he foot – such as inside, outside or instep. The coach should
- Ensure that the kids are striking the ball appropriately.
- Ensure that they make relatively heavy passes.
- Watch to see whether their shooting foot points to the direction of the target.
Dribbling to Beat a Defender
This u5 soccer drill will teach young soccer players when and where to dribble. It also teaches them how to dribble past defenders. It emphasizes on unbalancing the defender while the attacking player approaches them unchallenged.
- Create a 20 x 10 yards grid using cones.
- Mark the halfway of the grid with a line of cones placed approximately 5 yards apart.
- Split the players into teams of three players each.
- Supply each team of 3 players with 2 balls.
- Instruct a defender to start in the middle line of the grid.
- The defender can only move sideways on the middle line while trying to stop the dribbling player.
- Instruct the attacking player to approach the defending player under control, make the defender commit, and then make their move by accelerating to the other half of the grid.
- If a defensive player wins the ball, they switch roles with the player that lost the ball.
The coach should
- Ensure that the young attacking players make a controlled approach toward the defender.
- Successfully trick the defender into committing.
- Observe that the dribbling players change direction swiftly and effectively.
- Ensure that the dribbling player accelerates past the defending player and gets to the other end line with speed.
Red Light, Green Light
This soccer drill trains the young players how to dribble while keeping the ball close such that they can stop quickly when needed to.
- Instruct all the players to stand on one sideline and close to each other. Each player should have a soccer ball.
- The end-line for this drill will be the opposite sideline.
- The coach is positioned 15 yards away from the player closest to them.
- The coach, while facing away from the players, yells “Green Light” and the players dribble toward the coach with speed.
- The coach then yells “Red Light” and the dribbling players must stop the ball as fast as they can. The coach then waits a moment before turning to face the players.
- Any player that is caught still moving is sent back to the farthest player from where the coach is positioned.
The coach may limit the players to dribble with their right or left foot. They may also instruct the young players to dribble only with various parts of the foot. The coach should observe that the players
- React quickly to the coach’s verbal signals.
- Dribble with speed while keeping the ball close.
- Stop the ball as quickly as they can.
Guard the Castle
This is a highly effective small-sided exercise that focuses on making good passes in numbers up situations. It is a fun drill that kids love doing.
- Set up a 12 x 12 yards grid using cones.
- Split the players into groups of 4.
- From each group, pick one player to be the designated defender. The defender should be in an alternate jersey. They will be the guarder of the castle.
- Place a 9-inch tall cone in the middle of the grid. Place a soccer ball on top of this cone. This is the “castle” that is to be guarded.
- The attackers will begin with one soccer ball.
- The three attacking players are required to pass the ball among themselves while trying to knock down the castle (the ball on the cone) with a pass.
- The attacking players are awarded a point every time the knock down the castle.
- It is an eligible knock down of the castle if the ball is knocked off the cone with a pass or the cone is knocked down by a pass from an attacker.
- There is no point awarded if the players knock down the castle with their feet.
- Switch the defender when the attacking players score 3 points.
The coach should
- Instruct the players to play with their heads up for proper passing.
- Ensure that the players put proper weight to the passes and try to find open space while making passes.
- Make sure that the players make optimal passing decisions.
Coaches may vary the dimensions described here depending on the ages and skill level of the kids. Also, it is important that they understand which skills they aim to impart to the young players so they can perform appropriate drills.