Youth Soccer Practice Activities

Warm Ups, Dribbling, Shooting, Passing, Defense, Goalkeeping, And More

Coaches can modify most of these activities to make them easier or harder, as needed. 

(A video link will take you to either YouTube or Facebook.) 

Quick Links:

Warm-Ups   Dribbling   Passing/Trapping/Ball Control   

Defending   Shooting   Goalkeeping  

Positions   Character   Just For Fun 

Practice Plans   Game Day Tips    Online Resources


Soccer Warm-Up Activities 

1. Soccer Dribbling Warm Up Activities (Variety) | Video Length: 3:53

2. Reflex Game  | Video Length: 53 seconds

3. Quick Draw | Video Length: 1:09 

4. Karaokes, Heel Taps, High Knees | Video Length: 30 seconds

5. Blanket Ball | Divide the group into two. Hand out a large sheet, beach towel, or blanket to both groups and have each member grab a side of the sheet. Send the soccer ball over to the other team using the sheet to "pop" the ball in the air. The whole process forces each group to work together to pass the ball back to the other team, and also to communicate to move in place as a unit. 

6. Minefield | In the field lay out various objects such as cones and soccer balls, tennis balls, etc. Split the group into pairs with one person in each pair blindfolded (or must keep eyes closed). The blindfolded person cannot speak. Have the non-blindfolded partner stand outside the mine field. This person will direct the blindfolded partner through the minefield using verbal directions. If the blindfolded partner steps on a "mine," he or she needs to start over. 

7. Dribbling Circle | Divide players into groups of 4-5 people each. Players must link arms and form a circle. Place 3 or more soccer balls into the group circle. Players must dribble ALL of the balls across the finish line across the field WITHOUT breaking the circle. Ideally, players should be required to keep ALL balls inside the circle and must cross the finish line with all balls at one time.

8. Fun Warm Up - Dribbling While Dribbling | Video Length: 4:36

9. Pass and Sprint Warm Up Drill | Video Length: 3:18

10. The Snake Run | If you've coached Little League Baseball, you've likely been to a "Big Al" training. Well, Big Al talks about this fun warm up activity. We love it too! Here's how it works:  A) You jog onto the field and tell players to keep up and follow you. B) Jog in a straight line until kids get too close or even run right by you. C) Then, turn either sharply left or right before jogging in a straight line again. D) Speed up, slow down, turn at random several more times and encourage players to "keep up". | 

11. Traffic Lights - Dribbling Warm Up  | Video: 5:55

12. Catch Your Teammate - Physical Warm Up  | Video: 4:30

13. Fun Warm Up Drills  | Video: 5:00

Return to top


Youth Soccer Dribbling Skills And Activities 

Dribbling a soccer ball is the key to player confidence, enjoyment, and success.

The more touches on the ball a player can get in practice, the better.

It can be ok for young players to want to "hog the ball." It means they're gaining confidence.

Passing (aka "sharing") can be taught as they get older.

MYTH #1: Volunteer coaches have to be an "expert" to teach a dribbling move or technique.

In fact, players will be glad you took it slow and showed them a dribbling move, slowly, step-by-step.

MYTH #2: Players are too young (or too old) to learn a dribbling move.

In fact, the youngest players are the most eager and willing to try new skills. 


1. Soccer Moves - Quick Cuts & Stepovers | Video Length: 1:34 

2. Basic Youth Soccer Drills: Cradling The Ball | Video Length: 49 seconds

3. Basic Youth Soccer Drills: Cradling The Ball Backwards | Video Length: 49 seconds

4. Soccer Moves: Cruyff Turns and Jigs  | Video Length: 1:41 

5. Blanco Hop (Tutorial)  | Video: 1:09

6. How To Do A Pull Back "V"  | Video: 1:30 

7. Ronaldo Chop and Maradona Move | Video: 1:46

8. La Croqueta Dribbling Move  | Video: 1:15

9.  Flip Flap Soccer Trick  | Video: 1:37

10. Scissors Dribbling Move  | Video: 1:47

Coaching Tip: Find ways to include dribbling moves in other practice activities like "Simon Says" or "Sharks and Minnows" or even require them in small scrimmages.

11. Neymar Elastico  | Video:  1:25 

12.  Double Touch Football Skill  | Video: 43 seconds

13. Fake Turn Dribbling Move  | Video: 46 seconds

14. Fake Shot: Easy & Effective Move  | Video: 1:50

15. The "Nudge" - How To Improve Your Dribbling  | Video: 3:11

16. Three Advanced Dribbling Moves  | Video: 3:08

17. Multiple Pullback-V Dribbling Challenge  | Video: 4:06

18. Giggs Nutmeg/Panna  | Video: 44 seconds

19. Top 3 Soccer Dribbling Moves You Need To Know  | Video: 6:19

20. Learn the Hazard Football Move |  Video: 57 seconds

21. Pinball Pass Dribbling Move  | Video: 1:11

Return to top


Youth Soccer Passing, Trapping, & Ball Control 

Here are videos teaching the proper techniques for these skills.

1. How To Trap A Soccer Ball With Your Foot   | Video Length: 4:04

2. On The Ball Passing & First Touch  | Video:  7:41

3. Juggling A Soccer Ball For Beginners  | Video: 4:24

4. How To Shield A Ball In Soccer  | Video: 3:31

5. How To Improve Your Ball Control  | Video: 3:01

6. First Touch Soccer Tips For Beginners  | Video: 5:49

7. How To Master Your First Touch  | Video: 2:03

8. How To Receive A Pass  | Video: 4:19

9. How To Chest Trap A Soccer Ball  | Video: 5:41

10. Proper Passing Technique  | Video:  2:05

11. 3 Tips For Turning With The Ball |  Video: 2:48

Return to top


Youth Soccer Defending Skills, Techniques, Activities 

1. Defending Technique #1  | Video: 1:01

2. Defending Technique #2  | Video: 1:02

3. Coach's Quick Tip: Defending The Corner Kick | Video:  3:19

4. Defending The Dribble  | Video: 6:04

5. Soccer Tactics: Defending  | Video:  10:49

6. Defensive Tactic: Learn To Press  | Video: 2:30

7. How To Defend In Soccer  | Video:  2:17

8. Defensive Shape: Pressure, Cover, Balance  | Video: 3:01

Return to top


Youth Soccer Shooting Skills And Techniques 

1. How To Kick A Soccer Ball  | Video Length: 1:45

2. How To Shoot A Soccer Ball With Power  | Video Length: 4:56

3. How To Shoot A Ball With Height  | Video Length: 4:52

4. Five Essential Shooting Drills Every Player Should Master  | Video: 3:57

5. How To Take A Penalty Kick  | Video: 4:31

6. How To Do A Side Volley  | Video:  4:43

7. How To Chip A Soccer Ball  | Video: 6:31

8. How To Shoot A Soccer Ball With More Power  | Video: 3:48

Return to top


Youth Soccer Goalkeeping Skills and Techniques 

  • All players should participate in goalkeeper training at practice.
  • Rotate 2 or more players into the goalie position during a game. No kid wants to feel "stuck" in the goalkeeper position if he/she would rather be on the field.
  • Take 2 minutes at practice and before EACH game to remind players when and where a goalie can use his/her hands. 
  • Tell players that goalies are IMPORTANT players to a team and we can't play a game without a goalie.
  • Help players understand that, as a goalie, they WILL get scored on (even the best ones in the world get scored upon) and it is NOT their fault.
  • The entire team is responsible when a goal is scored against them.
  • At the end of each game, when talking to your team, make a point to thank each player who played goalie for you that day.

IMPORTANT - The below videos do NOT show a player standing in a goal
trying to block shots from an entire team. This is not a good way to learn and can cause injury to the goalie. Just as bad, players may develop a fear or dislike of playing goalie in such a situation.

Teach the goalkeeping techniques first, before asking players to defend
against shots on goal.

Preparation and training build confidence.

1. Basic Goalkeeping Rules  | Video Length: 4:16

2. Basic Foundations Of Goalkeeping  | Video Length: 6:03

3. Goalkeeping Drills For The Beginner  | Video Length: 1:05

4. Goalkeeping Drills #2 For The Beginner  | Video: 30 seconds

5. Goalkeeping Drills #3 For The Beginner  | Video: 27 seconds

6. Goalkeeping Drills #5 For The Beginner  | Video: 19 seconds

7. Goalkeeping Drills #6 For The Beginner  | Video: 38 seconds

8. Goalkeeping Drills #7 For The Beginner (Catching High Ball)  | Video: 47 seconds

9. Goalkeeping Drills #8 For The Beginner (Catching High Ball)  | Video: 53 seconds

10. Goalkeeping Drills #9 For The Beginner  | Video: 35 seconds

11. Soccer Goalkeeper Positioning  | Video: 2:30

12. Goalkeeper Training: Beginner Handling & Catching Drills  | Video: 5:49

13. Goalkeeper Training Session For U10 - U12  | Video: 46:28:00

14. How To Punt A Soccer Ball  | Video: 2:42

Return to top


Youth Soccer Positions 

1. How To Understand Soccer Positions (U9 and older)  |  Video Length: 1:57


Character In Sports 

Our club emphasizes 11 pillars of character and all of our coaches need to read about them and talk about them with their team during the season.  

Please share the stories in these videos with your youth players.  You can either tell the story yourself or show them the video and discuss it afterward. 

1. Sara Tucholsky's Home Run - A Shining Example Of Respecting Your Opponent  | Video: 7:05

2. John Mohrmann and St. Louis Priory Soccer - Coaching With Integrity  | Video: 4:12

3. How To Build Confidence  | Video: 17 seconds

4. Meghan Vogel National Sportsmanship Award  | Video: 6:14

5. The Goalie Story - True Story About The Perseverance Of An SRFC Player  | Video: 48 seconds

6. Good Sportsmanship:  The Mitchell Marcus Story  | Video: 3:35

7. A Demonstration Of Fair Play  | Video: 2:12

8. Recognizing Effort In Each Youth Player  | Video: 57 seconds

9. Website For Youth Sports Coaching: Changing The Game Project

10. Website For Leadership & Character Development In Sports: JamesLeath.com

11. Article: 8 Coaching Mistakes I Wish I Never Made

Return to top


Just For Fun 

Fun and interesting videos or articles related to soccer.

1. The Rules Of Soccer - With a Dose Of Good Fun  | Video: 5:06

2. What's Inside A Soccer Ball?  | Video: 4:19

Return to top


Practice Plans & Activities To Download

These PDF documents contain a variety of coaching drills and activities that you can use to create practice plans for your team.

1.  Weekly Coaching Plans [PDF] - 51 Pages

2.  Coaching Activity Cards [PDF] - 26 Pages

3. Website With Dozens Of Free PDF Practice Activities [PDF]

4. U9-U11 Recreational Curriculum for Practice [PDF] - 75 pages

5. U12-U15 Recreational Curriculum for Practice [PDF] - 72 pages

6. U16-U19 Recreational Curriculum for Practice [PDF] - 79 pages

7. U6-U8 US Youth Soccer Practice Activities [PDF] - 52 pages

8. U10 US Youth Soccer Practice Activities [PDF] - 53 pages

9. U12 US Youth Soccer Practice Activities [PDF] - 47 pages

10. US Youth Soccer: Teaching Spatial Awareness [PDF] - 50 pages

Return to top


Additional Online Resources

1. YouTube Channel:  STR Skills School

2. NorCal Premier Soccer Coaching Education Library Of Resources

3. Gary Curneen: Coaching Website

4. YouTube Channel: Online Soccer Academy

Return to top


GAME DAY TIPS

1. Talk Less, Observe More
- What's working? What isn't?
- Make mental notes for your next practice

2. Avoid Joystick Coaching
- Let the kids play with minimal directions
- They will make mistakes, learn & have fun

3. Tell Parents To Use "No Directions" Cheering
- No Directions cheering = "Good Hustle"
- Directions Cheering = "Pass The Ball"

4. Be Positive And Encouraging

5. Use a watch or a smartphone to time substitutions so all players get fair playing time

6. Tell parents what you worked on in practice (example: passing) and ask them to
cheer extra loud when they see it in a game (to reinforce what they've been learning)

7. Relax, Smile and Enjoy!


3 Questions To Ask Immediately After A Game

The questions are listed below. You can read the entire article here.  

1) What Went Well Out There?

2) What Needs Work?

3) Why Are We Better Because We Played Today? 

Return to top

League and Affiliations

Nor Cal PremierCal North logoFIFANPLNSCAA   US Club Soccer US Youth Soccer   WPSL

Sponsors