Coaching kids’ soccer in the age level of 9 and under can still be focused on fun drills and activities, but a more advanced emphasis on technical skills should also be incorporated. Fakes and feints can already be properly executed by this age group, but not so much on complex and abstract thinking, such as problem solving and tactical strategies.
Compared to kids in the Under 5 category, where the coach’s focus should be on individual skills, the Under 9 age level in soccer can already think as a team, develop their skills, and progress into more advanced skills that go beyond simple kicking and running after the ball.
Here are three U9 Soccer Drills that will help you practice and develop your players’ basic skills, and have fun at the same time:
The first drill called “Shadow,” this drill can serve as the warm-up exercise. Group the team into pairs, with each player having one ball. Have the pairs face each other on any area around the training field. With each blow of your whistle, one of the players will make a move and the other must follow. For example, one of the pairs will start to side tap the ball and the other will also do the same. With another blow of your whistle, the player will do a round the world feint, and so on. After 10 minutes, the pair will exchange roles. They can also do stretches, or silly moves, as long as it’s soccer related — pretending to do a header, or a save — whatever. This drill will allow your players to be creative and goofy, at the same time. The Shadow drill can also serve as a great icebreaker.
The second drill is the Feint Race. Divide the team into two groups. Have them line up one after the other with one ball each. Place a cone about 12 yards from the where the players are. Have them dribble the ball as fast as they can towards the cone, where they will have to make a feint move before turning and dribbling back to their line, where the next player will take his turn. The first group to finish wins the race. This drill will practice your players’ speed, their feints, and turning skills.
Break the Twins
The third drill is called Break the Twins. It’s a simple 4 versus two defensive game, with 4 attacking players against two defensive players who are holding hands, thus, “The Twins.” Create a small field with only one goal on one end. A small goal about the height of 2 feet is ideal. Have the four attackers pass the ball around the 2 players who are holding hands until they can dribble the ball towards the goal. The goal will not be counted if the attacker/s have not gotten past through “The Twins.” This drill will practice your players’ passing, communication, and defensive skills.