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Coach Corner

General U5/U7 Coach Recommendations followed by Specific Activities...

  • #1 Focus on fun + dribbling, shooting, mobility, confidence, simple rules & some partnering and passing
  • No lines, laps and lectures; Yes positive, passionate and principled.
  • Keep activities simple, all-inclusive & active; players should be moving w/ a ball 50%+
  • Repeat proven favorite activities with small changes or no changes at all. Repetition is good. Maybe only try 1 or 2 new activities each week.
  • No U5/U7 goalkeepers or hands for safety reasons and to encourage more scoring and fun
  • Ask for spare league balls if a player does not have one. We sometimes have other spare equipment as well.
  • Use multiple coaches/assistants and enlist parents as needed. The activities are easy and fun.
  • Encourage players to play on the field without their parents, but a 1-2 week transition may be needed. Assistants can help with this.
  • Did we mention fun? show your goofy side, show you care, simple Q&A, be safe, add humor, stickers or snacks, offer free rewards, Be You!

Use Class Athlete-recommended activities as much as possible. You can repeat well-liked activities every 1-3 weeks. You can run about 3-4 activities in 20-25 minutes. Each activity can be briefly explained (no lectures) then run for 1-2 minutes then paused and re-run with a challenge to do better, go faster, achieve a higher count or use one of your improvement tips. These activities require natural skill-building so excessive instruction is discouraged.

  1. Hit the Coaches (kid favorite) – Players dribble and kick their ball into moving coaches’ legs. Use multiple coaches so kids can hit their favorite. Coaches can change speed, sayings, noises, dances, high-fives and direction, and they can be robots, zombies, pirates, roaches, scaredy cats and more.
  2. Term Tour (good first day) - have the kids dribble with you from place to place. Point to the goal line or sideline or midfield line or goal or corner kick spot, and ask who knows what it is. Ask kids if a ball is out of bounds when you lay it on the sideline, inside the sideline, outside the line or only 2 inches over the line. Use a circuitous route to get to each place for warmups.
  3. Moving Goals – Players dribble and kick ball between walking coaches holding a pinnie between them as a crossbar. Coaches can vary speed, direction, noises, encouragement.
  4. Throw-Ins (good U7 intro, at the coach?) - Show kids when throw-ins occur and who gets the throw-in. Then show them in 3 steps how to do them. Pick up the ball outside the line with 2 feet down, pull ball behind head with 2 hands and throw towards the goal you want to score in or to a teammate. Let them practice all together behind the line, chase their balls and re-do it. Then let them throw one at the coach. 
  5. Obstacle Courses – make your own obstacle course on the fly using existing objects. You can make it progressive too by having them do 1 obstacle, then 2, then 3, then 4. Dribble around the corner cone, touch the midfield line, hi-5 a fan, score in the goal, end here.
  6. Simon Says – coach gives various mobility & soccer-related instructions – team success = coach animal noise or dance, coach success = player noise/dance/spin
  7. Races – dribble, sprint, run backwards, shuffle, jump or do relays or ladders, or add a ball for dribbling races
  8. Hospital Tag – players dribble in a square, coaches or designated players tap them on the head/shoulders/arms, players cover where they got tapped with a hand (band-aid), on the 3rdrband-aid players must go to the hospital for jumping jacks, toe taps or other activity in order to heal and return
  9. Zombie/Freeze Tag – players dribble in a square, coaches or assigned zombie/MrFreeze tap other players on the head/shoulders/arms, other dribblers can tap zombified or frozen players to un-zombify or un-freeze them
  10. Challenges – beat coach, beat your last round score or best score, juggle 1-2x on RF/LF/thigh, running, dribbling, throws, kicking distance, combination dribbling or agility actions
  11. Follow the Leader – variety, mobility, dribbling, rule learning, field learning, walk funny, act crazy fun
  12. Clean Your Yard/Room – 1 team on each half with equal balls, 1 minute to kick as many balls as possible into the other team’s yard, team with cleanest yard at end wins
  13. Square Dribbling – add coach zombie/pirate, add hot lava rock cones, whack a mole, add cone gates & count times thru, each pick up 1 cone & go to sideline
  14. Square Passing – to coaches on sides, to moving assigned partners, can use cone shapes other than squares
  15. Square Shooting – dribble & call name of player to exit and shoot, perhaps shooter becomes a goal defender for next shooter or coach can assign 1 defender for a few turns each, or partners pass and when called the partner w/o ball becomes a defender while the other is shooter, can use 2 goals(red&yellow), can use cone shapes other than squares
  16. Pirate Ship – divide into 2 teams on 2 ships with equal balls in a small treasure chest (4 cone rectangle), 1 min. for each team to get maximum treasure (balls) in their chest, can only steal 1 treasure at a time, count each team's treasure at the end, add rules like must-dribble-out or if tagged on the other ship, you must go back to your ship or a designated jail where you can be bailed out by teammates or perform your penance
  17. Everybody Shoots on Coach Goalkeeper or Ask the Kids their Favorites or Offer 2 Choices - make sure players are not getting hit by shooters
  18. Hit the Cones - If you have tall cones, kids can knock them over by dribbling and passing the ball into them. Once all cones are knocked over, yo can have the kids dribble back to a spot outside the cone area, leave their balls and set the cones back up and then do it all over again a couple times.  You can have them count their own hits if you like, especially if you have enough cones that each player is likely to get at least one.
  19. Cone Maze - Spread cones around and have the kids pretend they are spider webs that they don't want to get stuck in with spiders (coaches/parents) chasing them around and gobbling up and spitting out their soccer ball if they get stuck in the web. Use the same cones to do Wack-A-Mole or similar game where the kids have to see how many cones/moles they can hit with their ball in 1-2 minutes. You can try it twice to see if they can beat their score. You can end by telling the kids to pick up the cones in a creative way such as beavers collecting wood for a dam or bees collecting honey for their hive etc.
  20. Cone Colors or Shapes - Spread cones around in a large are of several different colors or shapes (tall/disc/flat). Tell the kids which color cone they should dribble to and stay until you give the next color.