Tips for coaching under fives

Talking recently to a number of new soccer coaches who were taking training sessions for the first time, it was interesting to note how many of them were worried by it and wondering how to handle training Under-5s or Under-6s. The following drills and soccer games for kids are an ideal solution to their dilemma as they are brilliant for coaching skills and keeping youngsters keen.

At this age, drills that involve lining up in queues waiting to kick a ball are not very educational or entertaining and this is usually where behavioural problems start, when the boredom kicks in. These three fun soccer games for kids will keep all your players busy and active.

games for very young players, sharks and minnows, line soccer


Game one: Sharks and minnows

In this game, one player is the defender in the square – the shark – and the rest – the minnows – line up along the line with a ball. The kids have to dribble to the other side.

  • The shark has to win any of the balls and kick it out of the square. The minnows that make it to the other side must wait until everyone has either got across or their balls have been kicked out. The ones whose balls are kicked out become sharks.
  • Each round becomes more difficult.

Key soccer skills: Ball holding, shielding, speed, individual skills tackling.

Game two: End-of-line soccer

This game can be played like 4v4, but the idea is to pass the ball so one of the team’s players can stop the ball on the line at the end they are attacking.

  • Players must be fully in control of the ball when they stop it or it doesn’t count.
  • Players cannot kick it past the line and claim a goal.

Key soccer skills: Passing, teamwork, individual skills to lose opponents, control, ability to stop ball. 

Game three: Knock down the cones

Play this also as a 4v4. Set up two lines of cones at either end of the pitch. Each team has to knock the other team’s cones over.

  • The team that knocks the opposition’s cones over first is the winner.
  • In this game, players must use space and turning skills to lose their markers and create opportunities to knock the cones over.

Key soccer skills: Passing, teamwork, individual skills to lose opponents, accurate shooting.

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