​As a soccer coach, you have probably had the opportunity to coach youth players before. Whether it’s to progress through the coaching system or just for fun.

One of the main issues coaches find when coaching youth players is getting the training right. What I mean by this is that there are so many drills that can be used it can be hard to choose.

In this post, I will discuss some options you have when coaching youth players.

Identify The Environment

Before any drills take place, the coach has to identify the environment they are coaching in. This is such a key aspect, especially when coaching young players.

Let’s say, for example, you are coaching in a youth environment but the overall ability of the players isn’t the highest, then you as a coach need to be able to make that session as fun as possible.

Fun Drills for Youth Players

The role of a coach is to make sure the players come away having earned something and that they have had good fun. If you are taking a session with lesser skilled players then the second option is your priority.

So, what are some good fun drills for youth players?

Half Court Soccer

This is a small-sided game which allows players to work on their attacking and defending ability, in a smaller and tighter area. It’s similar to some basketball exercises in the fact that it can be rotated quickly and doesn’t take long, which is key when coaching kids.

This drill strikes a balance of fun and competition with competitors not wanting to lose to their fellow peers and teammates. The drill is easily explainable and demonstrable ensuring the coach can get all participants to understand.

Knockout Drill

Knockout is a drill where competitors dribble the ball inside an area whilst trying to tackle other players and get their ball out of the area, as well as keeping control of their ball.

This drill can test participants’ concentration and decision-making in a fun and active environment whilst still having that bit of competition mixed in.

Knockout Drill

This drill is very enjoyable and can be a great way to get players stuck who may be shy or a bit reserved about taking part.

Gates Drill

This drill can be adapted and changed to however you want to coach it. The main concept is to get the ball through the gate which will be displayed by cones. Players can dribble or pass it through the gate, this will depend on whether they are playing as an individual or as a team.

Gates Soccer Drill
The area where the drill is performed can be changed and made bigger, smaller or wider. The amount of experimenting you can do with this drill is the reason why it’s on this list.

Advanced Drills

It’s important to note that the drills I just spoke about can also be done if you are coaching a higher-skilled group. After all, kids want to have fun!

Perhaps you need some extra drills that can test some of the players in the group? I got you covered.

Rondo Drill

The rondo drill is used from youth soccer up to the professional level, and it’s the simplest exercise.
It requires players to play the ball in a small group and keep it away from the player(s) in the middle trying to win the ball to get out of the middle.

The minimum number of players needed for this drill is 4 and the group size can only expand from that to maybe all the participants performing together.

Rondo Soccer Drill
The intensity can be changed throughout this drill depending on the time in this session that it’s performed and it can be developed into something bigger and more expansive.

1 v 1 Shooting Drill

This drill combines attack and defence in a more inventive way. It allows players to mimic a real game situation by going past a defender and trying to score a goal, and for a defender to defend a 1v1 situation.
Rondo Soccer Drill

This drill can be tweaked to make sure players are using both feet to work on their weak side as well, which is so important to drill into a player from a young age.

You could also potentially use the drill format but work the ball out wide and deliver a cross into the box. That’s just another way this drill can be adapted.

Soccer Tennis Drill

This is one of my favourite drills on this list as it can be really good fun and can get very competitive. Soccer Tennis is where you have 2 teams of 3 on either side of a net or a row of cones. The players have to get the ball over the other side with all team members getting a touch and with the ball only bouncing once.
Soccer Tennis Drill
This drill tests control, the weight of the pass and positioning all in one, which is why it’s such a good drill to use.

Just like the previous examples, this drill can be developed in several ways. A few are that players are only allowed to use a certain part of their body like thigh, head and foot or they are not allowed a bounce otherwise the other team gets a point.

Why Is Coaching Youth Players Important?

To become a coach at the top level you need to gain experience in all age groups and levels of soccer. This will allow you as the coach to gain an understanding of coaching a variety of players.

At the end of the day, if you want to get to the top you have to start from the beginning.

A good example of this is when coaches try to get their UEFA Pro Licence, which allows them to coach in professional soccer. To get there they have to get past 4 stages and then finally after stage 5 they will get their licence. It does require a lot of work.

UEFA Coaching Pathway

Why coaching Youth Players Can Improve You As A Coach

When coaching youth players you can mould that player into a way you want. Because they are still so young it means they will pick up new skills and techniques easier, meaning that the way you coach can leave a stamp on their playing style forever.

To have that sort of influence over someone’s potential career is why most coaches do what they do, they want to see success.

Soccer Drills Recap

So, just to recap what we have covered in this post, we spoke about identifying the environment that you as a coach are coaching in. Then, we discussed some great drills for lesser skilled players and the more skilled players.

Finally, we discussed the impact coaching youth players can have on your coaching career and a brief point on what it takes to coach at a professional level. I hope you have learned something from this and hopefully, you will implement some of these drills into your coaching sessions in the future.

About Michael:

Michael, the founder of the Soccer Beginners website, created the platform for aspiring players to check out how to improve and for them to develop their skills and reach their full potential. A soccer lover growing up, playing from the age of 4, an injury aged 16 put an end to his hopes of playing at a higher level, and so he now aims to provide a guide to help younger players in the same position to realise their potential.

The goal of Soccer Beginners is to create a place where soccer lovers can come and see the latest products, equipment and technology that is being created for player development.