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How to Coach Soccer for Four and Five Year-Olds

By Steve Silverman

Young children ages four- and five-years old can begin the process of playing organized soccer. They are not going to do anything complicated, but the most rudimentary aspects of teamwork can be addressed. When coaching players of this age, you will want to teach them how to pass the ball, stop the ball and kick the ball toward the goal. You want them to realize they need to run up and down the field and make sure that they pass the ball to their teammates.

Start your practices with some basic passing drills. If you have eight players on your team, divide them into groups of two. Try some static passing (no running in this drill). Have Johnny stand about five yards from Sally. Start off by having Johnny kick the ball to Sally, and then have Sally return the ball to Johnny. Do this for three to four minutes.

Work on kicking the ball at the goal. When players are in this age group, there is no goaltender. Your players will be playing on a field that is about 40 to 50 yards in length. Have three players start off at midfield. Jennifer should have the ball at midfield and she can start off passing to Tommy on her right. When Tommy corrals the ball, he passes to Danica on his left. Danica then kicks the ball at the goal. Make sure all players get a chance to play each of the positions.

Teach the young players the basics of playing defense. You want your players to get between the player with the ball and the goal, or between the player with the ball and a teammate if they are not in a position to kick it on goal. Many times, four- and-five-year-olds will simply run to the ball and try to take it away. This is fine as long as you teach them to get between the opponent and the goal. Eventually, this lesson will get through to the players.

Play games of four on four. Putting any more than four players on the field for either team is inviting chaos. Putting a manageable number on the field gives the players a chance to make a pass before kicking it on goal, and it takes away some of the disorganization.

Begin and end each practice by have your players run around the circumference of the field twice. Soccer is a game of running and getting the players used to this will probably have more to do with their success than anything.

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