Kids just wanna have fun and the best way for your kid or team if your a coach, is to make soccer practice fun. Its hard for kids to follow instructions and their attention span is a lot shorter than older kids/young adults. In fact according to Day2DayParenting.com, children from ages 5-6 have an average attention span of 5-10 minutes if they have no interest in the task or if it is difficult to do. So how do you get kids interested in soccer? Make it fun! Kids will play for hours if they are having fun. So here are some fun games that will help them develop fundamental skills without them even realizing they are on their way to being soccer stars.
Hit the coach: passing/shooting
U3 and up:
- Set up: Pretty self explanatory and pretty simple. Everyone has a ball and the goal is to aim and hit the coach. What kid isn’t going to enjoy this?
- Rules:The coach will run away from the players and they will try to hit the coach with their ball. Players will aim below the knee.
- Goal: Dribbling, passing, accuracy.
U5 and up
- Set up: Similar to Hit the Coach, but in this game players are not aiming for the coach, they will be aiming for each other. Divide the team into 3 groups. Group A, will be in the middle of playing area, and the other two groups, group B will have players to the left and right of group A. The area play will be a rectangle with rings on the opposite side of group A. You can do between 4-6 rings.
- Rules: Group A will dibble across the area of play to the opposite side, grab a ring and dribble back. They will try collect all the rings without getting hit. Groups B will attempt to knock them out by trying to hit them with the ball aiming below the knees. If a player in group A is hit, they are out. Game ends when all players in group A are out, or if all rings are collected. Team that collects most rings wins.
- Goal: Dribbling, Ball control, passing, accuracy
Monkey in the Middle: Defending/Passing
U5 and up
This is a classic. We all know how this is played. One thing my coach would do is switch up the game and put, 2 or 3 players in the middle. This will help the players defending work together. You can also have one round with more players on the outside the circle than defenders, and one round with more defenders than players outside the circle, again, depending on age group.
Sharks and Minnows:
U5 and up
Set up: You remember playing this in the swimming pool as a kid? You had a great childhood if you do my friend. This is pretty simple. Divide the players into 2 groups, sharks and minnows, and the area of play will be divided into 3 zones. One zone will be where the minnows start, the middle zone will be where the sharks are, and the safe zone is where the minnows are trying to cross over to. You want to have 2 minnows to every shark.
Rules: Once a minnow gets their ball taken away they become a shark. Minnows will continue to cross the shark zone back and forth until the last minnow standing.
Goal: Ball control, defending.
U3 and up
Set up: One zone. All players with a ball. The coach or one player, who will not have a ball, will be chase the other players and try to tag other players.
Rules: Once a player gets tagged, they become a zombie. Last player remaining wins.
Goal: This will help players learn to play under pressure and force them to maneuver their body and the ball.
Keep Away: Zone Defending, Positioning, Passing
U8 and up
- Set up: This is a 3v2 game, and you will set up the area of play into 3 zones. In the middle zone you will have the defending team and one player from the passing team. The outside zones will have one player in each zone. Set a timer for 3-7 minutes. Encourage passing team to make quick decisions and use middle player.
- Rules: The players in the middle zone are not to leave that zone. The goal is for the passing team make as many successful passes to each other. If a pass/ball is intercepted, possession goes back to the passing team. The team that gets the most successful passes wins.
- Goal: This game is geared to help players develop their skills off the ball, a very key skill in soccer. They will learn how position themselves go receive a pass and look for openings for pass. Team B will practice zone defending. You will have games where you play a man down or two.
U4 and up
- Set up: This game is very simple and very fun. You will divide players into 2 teams with one team on each side of the play area. The coach will call out “WAR!” and the teams will attempt to knock the others team balls out of the play area with their ball while protecting theirs.
- Rules: Team with the most players left wins. Players can only knock out another players ball by hitting it with theirs. Encourage you players to dribble around the play area as they go. Players will only aim below the knees.
- Goal: Ball control, passing, accuracy
Theres so many games you can make up for kids to play to make the sport for them. All you have to do is think of skill you want the game to be about and go from there. You can rename these games to something they can relate to and change up the rules to make things more challenging. And please, leave your feed back below, and if you know any fun games please share.
Have a great day everyone