If you have a ball and some general knowledge about soccer, you are all set to teach your little one how to get started building up some exceptional skills. Grab a ball, get your kid, find a backyard or a park, and have some fun! We have found some great tips, some soccer DVDs and books that are an excellent resource for teaching kids everything they need to know.
The four skills you want to introduce to the child are:
- Ball Control
Dribbling is moving the ball with your feet. This will be a little trickier than teaching your kids to shoot the ball. You can start by showing them how to move the ball around using different parts of your feet. Don’t get too crazy; just keep it simple and let them have a try. Remember to give them lots of encouragement and keep it fun if you want to create a little bit of a challenge; you can set up cones or obstacles for the child to dribble around.
Ball Control is receiving the ball by stopping its movement. This is an essential skill because you need to be able to set up a quick shot or pass when playing the game. To practice ball control, you can throw or kick the ball to your child so that they can stop the ball with their feet, and then when the ball is under control, they can take a shot back to you or into the net.
Shooting is just kicking the ball. To practice, start with a stationary ball and then work up to a moving balling ball. The shots can be taken from any part of the foot, but the top part of the foot gives the shooter the most power. If you are teaching a very young child, don’t expect too much in the way of accuracy. Practice making shots at the goal from different distances and angles and remember to keep it fun!
Goaltending is another vital skill that you can practice at home. Make sure your child is standing out from the net a little bit, and you can practice taking shots at them from different angles. You can also teach them or have them practice their kicking and ball throwing skills, which are a fun thing that Goalies get to do.
Once the child has gotten the idea of the basic skills, you can introduce them to how the game is played and some more advanced skills. A couple of simple things you can go over:
- The object of the game is to get the ball into the net and score points.
- The reason they need to learn the necessary skills of dribbling, ball control, and shooting is so that they can move the ball from one end of the field to the other.
- Explain the concept of defense and why the goaltender is essential.
Soccer DVD’s for Beginners
- If you are looking for DVDs to help show you kids some of the basics of soccer, you could try Soccer for Kids-Getting Started. It has Squishy, the animated talking soccer ball, leading an exciting journey, featuring fun sing-alongs and simple diagrams to help introduce kids to the fundamentals of dribbling, passing, shooting, and more. Or you could try The Littlest Leaguers: Learn to Play Soccer, which is another accessible introduction to the fundamentals of soccer.
- If you are looking for something a little bit more advanced, you can try the DVD Soccer Training: Backyard Soccer Drills.
Soccer Books for Beginners
- My Soccer Book (for ages 4-8) is a simple book that explains the fundamentals of soccer in basic steps and straightforward explanations for preschoolers.
- The Everything Kids’ Soccer Book (for ages 9 +) gives kids tips and strategies for passing, heading, and defending. Kids also learn how to stretch before a big game, proper throw-in technique, rules of the game, dribbling drills, effective on-field communication, and the importance of teamwork.
- Little Soccer is a straightforward board book for younger children. It has ‘riddles’ about soccer that the kids can answer. It is part of a Little Sports series that also has books for basketball, baseball, football, and hockey. My five year old loves this series. It’s a simple way to teach kids about some of the aspects of the game.