What are the developmental steps for training technical aspects of soccer, like dribbling or passing and receiving to a group of Under 10s

Ask Dave

I stepped forward 2 years ago when there weren’t enough coaches for my daughter’s U10 recreational team. My story is not unique to many grassroots coaches in the US – or in your country based on my understanding. These coaches are the entry point for the vast majority of kids that want to try soccer and for most kids playing soccer under age 10.

How can we address the WHAT to coach in addition to the HOW to coach in training these folks, some who never played soccer. There has to be more than giving them copies of 8 drills to use at practice.

As a new coach, I am looking for information about developmental steps for training technical aspects of soccer, like dribbling or passing and receiving. What are the incremental skills involved in the development of these technical areas and how do you identify excellence/competence at the skill?

Dave says

Coaches have to initially understand the Principles of Play for attacking and defending and base their coaching around them.

At U10s i would be looking at a season-long curriculum based on this picture of how an U10 player should develop over the course of a season.

For example an Under 10 player should be playing in all three zones of the pitch defence/ midfield/attack.

They should also play on both sides and in the middle of the pitch i.e experience ALL areas that the team plays in. By Under 13 they will have progressed to two areas defence/midfield or midfield/attack.

What are the developmental steps for training technical aspects of soccer

Acquired knowledge and abilities

By the end of the season players should be able to:


  1. Developed passing, receiving and retaining possession skills
  2. Pass effectively over a variety of distances
  3. Can defend alone


  1. Recognise opportunities to run with the ball and is effective in doing so
  2. Keep possession of the ball as an individual and as part of a team for a set time – 15 seconds
  3. Receive and cushion the ball with more than one part of the body

Game Craft

  1. Understand and implement relevant patterns of movement
  2. Use passing combination skills
  3. Use crossing and finishing skills in game realistic practices


  1. Play one-touch where it is possible
  2. Can I run into space with the ball
  3. Can I use the relevant skill to win a 1v1 in different parts of the pitch:
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