Kids learn soccer mostly by playing. They are not much interested in lectures about the fine points of how they should be playing. Having said that, if we gently teach and reinforce the following basic ideas with young kids a little bit each week, before long they will have learned what they need to be great players.
- Plant one foot beside the ball before kicking
- Your planted foot "points" to where you want to kick
- "Keep the eye on the ball" while striking it in the center (or below)
- Contact the ball lower if you want the kick higher
- Kick with the laces or instep with toe pointed down.
- Make sure that the ankle is locked and foot rigid when contacting ball.
- Kicking with a run-up and with body and legs at a sideways angle can increase power of swing.
- Never kick with your toes.
- Players should learn to kick with both feet if they aspire to be great players.
- Use the side of the foot to pass
- Knees are slightly bent and outstretched arms help provide balance
- Your planted foot "points" to where you want to pass
- Get the thigh back more and follow through on the swing of the foot for more power.
- Anticipate what to do with the ball before a pass is received.
- Try to receive a pass with the body facing the center of the field and opposing goal.
- Keep your head up as much as possible
- Keep the ball as close as possible, except when sprinting forward with no opponents in front
- Small steps balanced on the front of the feet improve control
- Learn to use both feet and all parts of the feet
- Keep the body between the ball and the opponent to try to stop them from taking the ball
- Try to stay between the opponents and the goal so that they cannot get a shot.
- Watch the ball, waiting patiently for a chance when the ball is not in close control of the opponent to take it away.
- Face attacking players with a partly sideways stance, denying the chance to play the ball between the legs.
- Knees should be bent and body balanced on the front of the feet to provide quick reaction time.
- Force moving attackers to the side of the field and away from the net by denying them space.
- Grab and cover the ball whenever you can get to it before the opponent
- Whenever possible, get the whole body in front of an incoming ball, not just a hand or foot
- Always try to clear the ball to a safe place to the side of the field away from dangerous opponents
Kids should try to be on their toes, with their knees slightly bent all the time - this way they can shift balance and react much quicker when they need to change direction with their bodies.