Fun Training Drills for Kids
Coaching young kids in football can be one of the most rewarding roles an adult can undertake. Introducing fun training drills to kids will put a smile on their face while they subconsciously learn. Most kids adapt quickly and love a team environment. As a result, it is not unusual to see rapid development and awareness in their game.
With young kids it is important coaches do not take their role too seriously. Creating expectations that are unrealistic for a given age group will not only frustrate you as the coach, it will affect the interest levels in the kids. Once you start affecting their interest levels, you impact on their ability to pay attention. As a result, keep drills simple, fun, easy to explain and demonstrate and you will achieve more satisfaction for all.
Stuck in the Mud
Stuck in the mud a great activity for kids aged 7 and under to develop running with the ball skills.
- Set up a grid 15 metres x 15 metres with 4 agility discs / cones
- 5 players are the prey & have a ball, the 6th is the Hunter (no ball)
- The 5 players with the ball must evade the hunter whilst keeping their ball under control
- The Hunter must tag players who then stand still with their legs apart holding their ball above their head
- To free the stuck players, other players with a ball must pass their ball through the legs of the stuck player
- Once a pass through the legs is completed, the stuck player is free to roam with their ball
- If players run out of the grid or lose their ball, they are considered stuck & need to be freed.
Adjust the size of the field to accommodate the number of players.
- Players learning to run with the ball and keep it under control
- Players learn to keep their head up whilst running with the ball to avoid the Hunter, collisions with other players and to help their teammates.
In this drills kids learn how to run / walk the ball through a cluster of agility discs and the shoot for goal. The agility discs are imaginary land mines so are to be avoided.
- Set up a grid 10 metres x 10 metres
- Place a mini goal in the middle of one side
- 5 metres out from the goal, scatter 14 to 20 agility discs over an area of 2 metres deep by 8 metres wide
- 2 lines of players stand opposite and 10 metres from the goal with the agility discs scattered between them and the goal
- When the coach calls go, players must dribble the ball through the discs (Land Mines) and shoot at the goal when they reach the other side
- Once completed, grab their ball and return around the outsides of the grid
Add agility discs; move them closer / apart, depending on the skill capabilities of the players.
Players learn to move their feet quickly when controlling the ball and attempting to avoid defenders and run into space with the ball. In addition, they develop the ability to strike the ball towards goal – Kids loving scoring goals.
Players run the ball in a grid with agility discs of varying colours scattered on the ground around the grid. The Coach has an agility disc of each colour in their hands. Players must dribble the ball whilst watching the Coach and run their ball to the coloured disc that the coach holds up.
- Set up a grid 20 metres x 20 metres
- Scatter agility discs of varying colours around the grid
- The coach holds up a disc of the same colour as one of those on the ground
- Players have to run the ball to that disc without losing their ball or running into other players
Players learn how to run the ball and become more spatially aware by looking up.
In this simple though effective drill, players learn to run towards a moving ball and strike it goal bound.
- Set up a grid 20 metres x 20 metres
- Place a mini goal in the centre of one side of the grid
- Players line up 20 metres out, directly in front of the goal
- The Coach or a Player stands 10 metres out from the goal line & 3 metres from the side line
- In turn each player with the ball passes the ball to the stationary Player / Coach
- Player / Coach passes the ball back towards the centre of the field for the player to run onto
- The running player controls the ball before shooting at the goal
- Shooting player collects the ball and returns to the line around the outside of the grid
Players learn to run towards a moving ball, get it under control and strike the ball towards a goal.
As kids progress, you can make the goal larger and add a goal keeper. Players should be encouraged to try shooting with both feet.
The Accidental Marketeer
There are a so many offers tempting kids into their first taste of organised sports. As a result, taking a marketing perspective, to nurture their interest and enhance the experience, it is essential to keep training drills fun and inclusive. When these two boxes are ticked, it will improve the chances of retaining kids in football.
Like it or not, the coach becomes a quasi-marketeer for the sport and will have a massive impact on kids in their initial years in football. The coach alone will have the single biggest influence on whether kids will enjoy their introductory years. Coaches with a marketing perspective will be invaluable resources for clubs to have when kids have their first involvement with football.
Enjoyment of the Game
If training drills for kids at football aren’t fun, kids won’t be engaged. As a result, drills must have clearly defined objectives and be clearly explained and demonstrated. They also need to have brevity. If they go on too long, the learning impact is diluted and coaches will lose the player’s interest.
Coaches need to remember the age of the kids and dial their expectations back to a realistic level. Kids are all about themselves when they are between 5 and 8. Drills should reflect a degree of selfishness, kids having their own ball and having a good time. Remember, you cannot have Awesome without ‘me’ in it.
If you have any questions or advice, I would love to hear from you. I am passionate about football and even more passionate about ensuring we don’t lose talent to other sports.