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The Grueling Truth - Where Legends Speak / How to Make Soccer Training Fun – A Guide for Coaches in Youth Soccer

How to Make Soccer Training Fun – A Guide for Coaches in Youth Soccer

Make soccer training fun!
Publish Date: 04/14/2021
Fact checked by: Simon Briffa

Every kid loves to kick a ball around. Getting kids to commit to soccer training is easy as long as they are having fun. When training becomes too competitive and intense, the fun element is lost or diminished, and many kids stop enjoying the sport. It is easy for kids to be expressive on the pitch when they are having fun. Devising fun soccer drills for kids that combine the right mix of fun and intensity is key to delivering optimum player and team performance. 

Why You Must Ensure Your Soccer Training Drills Are Fun

 

  • Kids put more effort into training: As a soccer coach, you’ll see your kids put more effort into their practice drills if they are having fun than just performing a chore. Your players will always report to training full of enthusiasm and a willingness to put their best foot forward.
  • Kids improve when they are enjoying themselves: Soccer training sessions that are fun produce consistently better performances than those they are just trying to get through. The repetitive nature of training drills required to generate better performance will only be appealing to kids if they are enjoying themselves.
  • Kids just want to have fun: While there may be a handful of kids on your team who want to go pro, most kids play to have fun. Thus, it is more or less impossible to be a successful youth soccer coach if no one is having fun at your training sessions. 
  • Positive effects on the overall team: If your team is involved in competitive games or tournaments, fun training sessions are bound to translate into better performances on game days. 
  • Rich and enjoyable coaching experience: A band of excited kids is a delight for any coach. As a coach, you also want to have fun while doing your thing. Fun soccer training sessions will also leave you looking forward to training days with great expectations. 

 

Tips for Making Soccer Training Fun

Now that you have realized how important it is to ensure your training drills are fun, here are a few tips you can employ in adding that fun element to your coaching sessions.

 

  • Prepare your sessions beforehand: Proper preparation for training sessions helps you ensure proper planning for every activity to be done on any given day. Planning ensures that your players do not wait around for the next drill after one ends. Set up the following routine while the former is going on. That way, the kids always stay engaged and do not lose focus between the drills.
  • Vary the training drills for each session: No doubt the best way to improve a skill is by constant repetition. While pro soccer stars may not mind doing the same thing again and again in a bid to attain peak performance levels, kids will quickly get bored from doing the same thing. You can make every training session fun by getting the kids to engage in various drills like shooting, heading, passing, and dribbling. 
  • Adopt drills that require multiple skills: Another way to ensure soccer training is enjoyable is by devising routines that require multi-skill use. Skills like passing will require players to utilize their first touch and ball control abilities. Dribbling between cones can train ball control and shooting in a way that is fun and entertaining. You can also use multi-drill stations to make players change drills immediately one ends rather than waiting around for the next.
  • Make your training sessions intense: The greatest soccer matches are adrenaline-pumped intense events. Making your training sessions intense prevents boredom even among players not currently in practice. 
  • Organize drill competitions: Making your training sessions competitive is also a great way of keeping your kids engaged and entertained. Friendly drill competitions can bring another dimension to your training sessions and keep everyone engaged and excited. 
  • Organize practice matches: Practice games give the kids an opportunity to apply the drills they’ve learned and showcase their games’ creative side. Practice matches also allow you, the coach, to gauge individual kids’ skillset and devise strategies for upcoming matches. 
  • Offer verbal encouragement: Kids are sensitive, and a wrong word can sour the mood in a training session. Encouraging the kids with nice words during training builds your relationship with them and causes them to want to give their all. 

 

Examples of Drills That Can Make Soccer Training Fun

Some fun drills you can adopt to make soccer training fun for kids include: 

 

  • Passing in doubles: Passing is a fundamental soccer skill that helps players to gain control. Pair up the kids and let them stand at a reasonable distance from each other. The idea is for each pair to pass the ball to one another with the inside of their foot. This drill helps them receive and release balls with ease. 
  • Stop to turn: Soccer is a contact game, and it’s essential to avoid oncoming markers quickly. For this drill, the kids kick a ball a short distance forward. Then, they bring the ball to a halt and change directions. Also, teach the kids to alternate directions in this drill. 
  • Shooting towards the goal: The aim of soccer is to score goals, and this is usually the most fun part of the game. Place a kid at a distance from the goal and another kid in the goal post. The scoring kid passes the ball forward, runs towards it, and then shoots towards the goal with the inside of their foot. 
  • Running drills: Soccer involves lots of running, and you want to get your kids used to the idea early. The players must learn to run for long periods and short speed bursts. Kids will naturally not find running exciting. However, you can make it fun by incorporating fun techniques and calling out specific player names to keep them on their toes each time. 

 

Conclusion 

Making soccer training fun is key to keeping the kids happy and bringing them back for subsequent sessions. Preparing sessions in advance, using multi-skill drills, and using various techniques are ways to keep the kids happy and engaged. Happy kids will produce more efficient individual performances and better match-day results. 

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