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As any coach or parent of a young soccer player knows, developing basic skills is essential for success on the pitch. With that in mind, here are 12 training drills that are specifically designed for players aged 8 and under. These drills focus on essential skills like dribbling, passing, and shooting and can be easily adapted to accommodate different skill levels.
1. Dribbling Through Cones
This drill is a great way to improve dribbling technique and control. Place a series of cones in a straight line, spaced about a foot apart. Players should start at one end of the line and dribble through the cones to the other end. As they become more comfortable with the drill, they can increase their speed or add additional cones to the line.
2. Passing To Moving Targets
This drill helps players learn to hit moving targets with their passes. Have one player stand at each end of the field, with two additional players in the middle. The two middle players should start running in opposite directions while the two end players pass the ball back and forth between them. The goal is for the middle players to keep running while making it easy for the end players to complete passes.
3. Shooting On The Move
This drill improves shooting accuracy while on the move. Set up a series of cones in a zig-zag pattern, with each cone about 10 yards apart. Players should start at one end of the line and dribble through the cones while shooting at the goal. As they become more comfortable with the drill, they can increase their speed or add additional cones to the line.
4. Dribbling In Traffic
This drill helps players learn to control the ball while surrounded by other players. Set up a small playing area with cones or other markers to designate the boundaries. Have all players start inside the playing area and dribbling around. As they become more comfortable with the drill, add additional players so that there are more bodies in the space.
5. 1-v-1 To Goal
This drill is a great way to work on individual offensive and defensive skills. Set up two goals at opposite ends of the field, with each goal having a goalkeeper. Players should start in pairs, with one player from each pair starting at each end of the field. The players should then dribble towards their opponents’ goal and attempt to score while the other player tries to stop them.
6. Passing And Receiving With A Partner
This drill helps players work on their passing and receiving skills. Set up two cones about 10 yards apart, with each cone having a ball placed beside it. Players should start with a partner, with each pair standing at one of the cones. The players should then pass the ball back and forth between them, trying to hit their partner in the chest or feet. As they become more comfortable with the drill, they can increase the distance between the cones.
7. Soccer Tennis
It’s fun to work on passing and receiving skills while also getting a good cardio workout. Set up a net in the middle of the field, similar to a tennis net. Players should start on opposite sides of the net and try to keep the ball in the air by passing it back and forth between them. The player who lets the ball drop or hits it out of bounds is eliminated, and the last player standing is the winner.
8. Dribble Relay
This drill helps players improve their dribbling skills and get a good cardio workout. Set up two cones about 50 yards apart, with each cone having a ball placed beside it. Players should start in teams of two, with each team lined up behind one of the cones. The first player in each team should dribble to the other cone and back before passing the ball to their teammate, who will then do the same. The team that finishes first is the winner.
9. Goalkeeping Skills
This drill is excellent for working on goalkeeping skills such as shot-stopping, footwork, and distribution. Set up a goal at one end of the field, with a goalkeeper in place. Have players line up at the other end of the field and take turns shooting at the goal. The goalkeeper should try to stop as many shots as possible and distribute the ball quickly to restart play.
It’s a great way to work on all aspects of the game in a game-like setting. Set up two teams of equal numbers and let them play a mini-game. The object of the game is to score more goals than the other team. This drill can be modified to work on specific game areas, such as passing or shooting.
This drill is great for working on players’ cardiovascular fitness. Set up a course with cones or other markers to designate the boundaries. Players should start at one end of the course, run to the other, and then back again. As they become more comfortable with the drill, they can increase their speed or add additional laps.
12. Cool Down
After completing all of the drills, it’s essential to cool down and stretch. It’ll help prevent injuries and help players recover from the workout. Players should start by walking around the field for a few minutes, then do some static stretches such as lunges, hamstring curls, and shoulder stretches.
To Sum Up
That’s all for now! I hope you found this blog post helpful. Please let me know in the comments below if you have any questions or would like me to go more in-depth on a particular topic. As always, thanks for reading, and happy training!