Soccer practice, especially for young athletes,
should be fairly routine and scheduled. It should help athletes
understand and be comfortable with the sport through warm
up exercises, drills, skills practice, and a cool down. By
employing these different phases every soccer practice, coaches
teach athletes the fundamentals of the sport without overwhelming
Warm Up and Cool Down
Soccer practice should always begin with a warm
up. While coaches may be tempted to skimp on the warm up or
cool down to save time, these exercises are absolutely essential
for the health and well-being of the athletes. By teaching
them to protect and respect their bodies, coaches help create
A soccer practice warm up should consist
of light movement to wake up the muscles and help the athlete
mentally prepare for the practice ahead. After some light
movement, such as running a lap or doing jumping jacks, athletes
should stretch lightly for no more than 5 minutes. By stretching
just a little, athletes prepare the muscles for work but do
not relax them too much.
The cool down should be similar, but should
consist of more stretching. Athletes should spend at least
10 minutes stretching each major muscle group used during
soccer practice. By stretching post-workout, athletes prevent
soreness and help their muscles recover faster.
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During each soccer practice, coaches should
lead athletes through soccer
drills. These moves are designed to let athletes practice
a skill over and over to perfect it. The drills are meant
to mimic movements in a soccer game. Drills should make up
the majority of practice, depending on the need to teach new
skills. On days when skills practice is long, drills can be
shorter, and vice-versa.
Dribble in Place
In this drill, athletes work on foot movement.
Each athlete has a soccer ball and practices dribbling it,
meaning that they kick it lightly sideways from foot to foot,
while standing in place. Athletes should seek to touch the
ball with the inside of their foot briefly before sending
it back the other direction.
This drill can also be done while moving forward,
making a zig-zag pattern as athletes shift from one foot to
Because soccer involves so much running, athletes
should practice in order to improve their stamina. To run
mountains, the coach should place 5 objects 10 feet apart
from each other. Athletes must start behind the first object,
run to it and touch the ground, before running back to start
and touching the ground. They then run to the second object,
touch the ground, and return to start. This continues until
the athletes have run from start to the furthest object and
back to start.
Coaches need to use significant time during
practice to teach new skills. These skills are basic techniques
of soccer and make up the basis of plays the team creates
and uses during games. Skills can be combined with drills
practice, as coaches can weave new lessons into drills that
build on old moves. If you are looking for more drills, we
strongly recommend visiting out soccer
coaching videos library.
When doing skills instruction during soccer
practice, coaches should seek to explain things as clearly
as possible and provide a visual demonstration. If the coach
cannot perform the move, they should identify someone on a
high school or local college team that can come in and volunteer
an hour of their time. If no one is available, coaches should
find a video demonstration.
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