Category Archives: U5 Soccer Drills

The following articles walk through my top ten U5 soccer drills that I have used coaching soccer. I believe the following u5 drills are a great combination of fun for the kids and practical for the coaches. They are only recommended once being used in my own proven laboratory, our U5 soccer fields.

The Perfect U5 Soccer Practice

Age Group: U5 or first season U6.
Practice Time: 30 minutes
Objective: Practical touches on the ball, have fun.

1. Set up a circle of cones in yellow, one cone for each player.

2. When it is time for practice to begin, go to the center of the circle and tell each player to find a cone with their ball. Countdown from 10 so that they move with purpose.
3. Reinforce whatever it is you want them to learn this season. I usually said one of the following – have fun and SMILE, try hard and RUN FAST, pay attention and LISTEN and/or If you have the ball what do you do (SCORE), if they have the ball what do you do (TAKE IT AWAY), if someone on your team has the ball what do you do (GET OUT OF THEIR WAY).
4. Call out the names of their teammates and ask everyone to point to that person. It is important they know everyone’s name.
5. Have the players do one or two touch drills while they are at their cone like a simple toe tap.
[TIME CHECK: You are 5-7 minutes into practice now.]
6. Have your team dribble around the circle of cones in one direction. If you are in the middle of the half of field, the field edge is out of bounds. This helps them dribble, dribble in traffic in a fun non competitive way. Some players will go faster than others, it is okay and helps them learn to dribble around other people.


7. Have them repeat the process going the other direction. Feel free to mix it up with them switching direction.
8. Tell them to find a cone! Each player should dribble to a cone and stop the ball with their feet.
9. Water Break, earlier if they need it that is your call
[12 minute time check]





10. Tell them you are going to play a game called MONSTER! INSTRUCTIONS BELOW:

Coach you are a monster, walk funny and make scary noises

Your team is on the other side of the circle, in a group

Their job is to not be tagged, if they are tagged they are ‘frozen’

The goal is to jog slowly (or walk)  to one side then move to the other. Your U5 and U6 team should be focused on reversing the ball and keeping an eye on coach. In addition to both of those fundamentally great skills, they also must maneuver around their fellow teammates. Every group I have tried this game with gives it two thumbs up and it works well with the whole circle practice plan that is so effective at this age group



[TIME CHECK: You are 20-23 minutes into practice now – another water break]

11. Every practice is the same up until this point. Structure, fun, the kids love it.
12. At this point we play one of three games.

  • Red light, green light. Keep it fun and have the kids put their knee or head on the ball during red light.
  • 1v1. Split your team into two groups, put them on opposite sides of the field. Assign each member of both groups a number 1, 2, or 3. When you call the number those two kids come out and try to get the ball you kicked to see who can score first. To make it more fair you can kick the ball more toward the weaker kid to give them more chances. Also, make sure you number kids to skill level so your best kid is not competing against the worst.
  • The last is dribble around the coach. Note the screenshot below and here is a link to more detail.

Practice is NOW OVER! It has been 30 minutes.

I have tried every drill in the book, every tip and I always come back to this simple format for U5 soccer practices. The core of the program is the CIRCLE (it is ANTI BORING LINES).  The kids love it, they will get better, and everyone has fun. Good luck this season, remember you care more than the kids do they just want to kick the ball.

20 for 20 Family Soccer Drill

Here is my problem – I have a two year old and a five year old (who turns 6 next month) and I can’t just put the two year old to bed and train with my oldest in soccer. We are at a point where feelings get hurt and even from my perspective it is not super nice to scurry around the house to get some practice in. The problem is, how do you engage both kids so that it is fun but also helps the older keep his skills in tune.

Drum roll, I call it the 20 for 20 game.

Where: My driveway
What: Basketball goal and soccer goal (my six year old plays bball in the winter)
Design: No paint or PhotoShop tonight. Use your imagination below the circles are cones.

[soccer goal]                            [basketball goal]


o                                                              o

The Game: My two year old has to dribble the soccer ball around the cone and score. He gets a point. My 5 year old has to dribble the basketball around the cone and score behind a line I draw with chalk. To keep the game balanced I may play a little defense with my five year old to keep the score close and the competitive streak going. Whoever scores 20 first wins then we switch. Now my five year old has to dribble around the cone and score, if he misses he has to go around the cone again. My goal here is really basic, touches on the ball. I have to pick my two year old up when he scores then he has to just run around the cone with the basketball.

The games are pretty even, and if my oldest starts to take a lead I somehow add a couple points to my two year old score.

Good game for kids and they both enjoy it (although my 2 year old still has the attention span of a squirrel).

Cone Circle Monster U5 and U6 Drill

A great transition out of the cone circle warm up is to move into cone circle monster. This is a great game that the kids enjoy playing. The concept is simple:

1. Coach you are a monster, scary sounds included.
2. The team is on the other side of the circle, in a group.
3. Their job is to not be tagged, if they are tagged they are ‘frozen’

The goal is to jog slowly to one side then move to the other. Your U5 and U6 team should be focused on reversing the ball and keeping an eye on coach. In addition to both of those fundamentally great skills, they also must maneuver around their fellow teammates. My team gave this drill two thumbs up this weekend and it works well with the whole circle practice plan that is so effective at this age group.

Coerver Ball Training for Five Year Olds

I thought the following video does a good job of just showing some basic Coerver training that you can apply to five and six year old kids. This is not my team or kids, I just thought the concepts are delivered in an easily digestible way. You do not have to work on all the skills at once obviously, but pick a couple of the easier ones out and get your kid to work on those and as they progress you can add more soccer drills.

Bounce Kick Bounce Kick in the Square Drill Part Two

I noted at the beginning of this very painful journey I ditched the whole drop the ball on the driveway and kick it up, let it bounce and kick it up again. There is a video on YouTube where this four year old is pulling this off pretty effectively. Well, the problem was my son just did not get this concept and kept kicking the ball ever direction but straight up. Today I decided to just switch up our practicing to try this drill again. He did pretty good on this today and go up to six kicks but usually around four before the ball left the square. Here is the video when he pulled that one off. He still has a long way to go. The one thing I have learned during this process is teaching a five year old to juggle is REALLY tough. I think my next challenge over the next couple of weeks is to just keep him engaged in the process. I do worry about burn out.

Good Foot Versus Bad Foot Soccer Juggling Exercise

If you have been keeping up with the site you have seen that recently I started teaching my son how to juggle a soccer ball. Slow going so far but each day I see more and more progress. If you try this with your four, five, or six year old you will quickly realize that once the ‘fun of juggling’ wears off it is pretty hard to keep your kids attention – you know managing the attention span. Here is one u5 soccer juggling drill that I stumbled upon today that my son really like and kept him focused and let us get a good session in with the ball.

Good Foot Versus Bad Foot (a new five year old game to teach juggling)

Tell you son that his bad foot wants to beat his good foot. My son looked at his feet and laughed and told me I was silly but the great thing about five years old is silly is okay. Anyways, I tell him to try ten juggles with his good foot and give him a point every time he gets a good juggle in (we are just at one kick right now). This isn’t written in stone so what may be a ‘good kick’ on day one is going to be different than day seven. Anyways after ten attempts give him a score (good foot scored six points). Now tell him to see if his bad foot can win. I think my son tried even harder on his bad foot and it came pretty close (five out of ten). What I really liked about this juggling exercise is it kept his attention, it felt more like a game, and he enjoyed using his bad foot. To think about it I am sure there are more games his ‘bad foot’ can challenge his ‘good foot’ too.

My Mission: Five Year Old Soccer Juggling

I might have mentioned it somewhere else but my goal this summer is to teach my kid to juggle the ball with his feet at least ten times. He could do five juggles last fall but it was with this thigh and, eh. There was nothing fundamentally rewarding about that exercise (I continue to learn a lot teaching kids at these ages) other than I have him a goal and he practiced until he got accomplished it. Back to the point of the post, I want to update everyone on his progress and what I have learned so far about teaching a five year old how to juggle with his feet.

1. My first attempt at teaching this consisted of me bouncing the ball to him on the driveway and I asked he kick it up, let it bounce and kick it up again. I took this from a YouTube video of a five year old soccer player and thought it made sense. For my son I am not so sure, the ball kept moving away from him. We spent about three nights on this with no discernible progress – very frustrating and is it 90 degrees here at 8PM. I chalk this attempt up as a failure.

2. My second attempt was very similar except he  bounces the ball to himself, lets him kick it up like the drill above. Same issues above, and many times he is ‘kicking’ it with his shin. I really tried to focus on what was happening and my hypothesis is he does not understand to kick the ball as it is ‘coming down’ rather he at times tries to kick the ball as it is ‘going up.’ That makes timing near impossible and my efforts at explaining the concept of kicking the ball on the way down did not make it through his twenty second attention span…

3. My latest attempt that has had some progress is I am having him drop the ball and kick it back to his hands and he is suppose to catch the ball. This has worked the best so far because he can do this more consistently and that makes it more fun, he feels proud, etc.. I am going to continue down this path for a couple of weeks and see if we can move to two or three juggles at a time.

My motivation for all of this is just this – I think it would be pretty cool of him to go out before a U6 game at five years old and start juggling. Also, I think juggling might be a  good activity to switch up all the ball work we did this  past season. As I have stated in another thread, my plan is to introduce more repetition in his technical ability later this year but not just yet. Besides juggling though his time this summer is being spent at the pool, riding bikes, or vacation with family members. Not the most consistent training schedule but he is still five =8-)


Five Things U5 Soccer Coaches Learn

As a U5 Soccer coach there are a number of things you will learn. The most important thing to learn is patience because when you are dealing with a bunch of four and five year olds you have an amazing task, which is similar in difficulty to herding squirrels.

Here are the top five U5 Soccer Coaching lessons I learned over the past year.

1. One player on your team doesn’t care. For whatever reason mom or dad signed them up to play soccer, it is not their thing. The kid is great and may do awesome bike riding or gymnastics or wrestling but the kid is not going to do well at soccer. It is okay, and that is not your fault as a coach.

2. The parents of the children on your team do not know how to tie a shoelace properly. You will constantly tie shoelaces for your players, over and over again. At one point I thought duct tape was not a bad idea for some of my most chronic offenders.

3. No one on the soccer field other than you the coach cares anything about the beautiful game or passing. They care about scoring or getting off the field. It is usually that cut and dry.

4. Your players will laugh if they can kick the ball at you and you pretend it hurts. At this age they enjoy your pain. Use that as a motivation tool at your U5 soccer practices.

5. There is a hidden force field that is applied to the soccer field during matches that drains your player’s energy. Once they step off the field many of your players can do a dead sprint for minutes at a time without ‘getting hot’ or their ‘legs being tired.’ Once on the field they are immediately drained of all energy. Make sure to bring snacks to replenish them after their match.

If you think I missed something let me know. Those are the top five things I learned this past year coaching U5 though.

Seth’s U5 Soccer Drill

“I have a change direction drill I do with my 5-y-o: set up a small field with two goals. One player is offense, one defense. The offense starts in the middle of the pitch, but off at the flank (sort of where the fourth official would be). He’s allowed to score on either goal. Take turns on offense and defense. Great for switching direction, and also great for learning defense. Oh, and like in almost all the games I do with him, left-footed goals count for two points.”

It took me a little longer to get to this drill with my 5 year old because of a couple business trips, wiffle ball, and my son learning to ride his bike. Tonight though we got the cones out and tried out Seth’s drill. Overall my son enjoyed doing the soccer ‘game’ and we played for a little over a half hour. What I thought the game did really good at was making my son think about changing direction and actually doing it. One of the challenges I have had with my son is just getting him to think through the concept of moving one way and going another. Very good exercise and for me that is the biggest benefit. I will agree with Seth that it also was good for defense but to me that was secondary. Here is my gimp Photoshop rendition of how me and my 5 year old ran through this. Game was to five, make it take it.


U5 Pregame Drill Called Around the Coach Madness

One of the U5 drills I work on with my team prior to starting the game is going around the coach. This usually follows a ‘red light green light’ drill so my kids are use to lining up to one side of the pitch.

Here is the drill:

  • First the kids start on the line.
  • The goal is to score a goal, but they have to go around the coach first.
  • At first the coach stands still, later I will move around the field.
  • To spice up the drill, have one coach be the tree, have the other coach be a ‘monster’ to get the kids moving faster. Works good if you see walking.

How this helps:

  • Again my theme is controlled madness at this age.
  • I want the kids to dribble over each other, bump and fall down occasionally (this simulates their games)
  • The kids need to look up to see where coach is, has coach moved
  • If you add the monster, the kids have to do all of the above quickly before they get ‘tagged’

Overall all the kids like the drill, and it seems to work good with the slower kids also. We do about five of these before moving on to the next exercise.