Welcome to Healthy Soccer Kids!
Off-season Practice Ideas
When soccer players are in the off-season, it doesn’t automatically mean that the soccer-filled fun has to stop! One great idea is to have your kids playing and practicing their skills on their own, which means they’ll be more prepared for the upcoming season. With that in mind, here are a few sessions that you can help them with:
1) Situational Dribbling
Rather than dribbling the ball in a constructed way, such as dribbling in a straight line or around cones, have your child practice dribbling as if he or she were in an actual game. In other words, dribble as if there are other players trying to take the ball away.
Parents, act as the challenger, apply light pressure so that your player has to dribble around you to “score.”
This is an individual exercise, but it’s huge in helping your child learn ball control.
To start, the soccer ball should be on the right side of your child’s right foot. Next, with the outside of his or her foot, your child should then lightly push the ball to the right, and then immediately try to bring the ball back with the inside of his or her right foot.
Make sure that your child practices with his or her left foot too!
Although juggling is not normally used in a game, it will help your player’s touch and ball control skills. Juggling can be tough, but it’s a fun challenge.
To juggle, your child should lift the ball with the instep of his foot while making sure the ball is not being kicked too high or not too far forward. The ball should be kicked right about the waistline and no farther than the length of your child’s leg. Your child’s feet should be quick, and he or she should be making minor adjustments to his or her stance.
4) Monkey in the Middle
This exercise takes a least three people to be performed, and it helps your child develop both offensive and defensive moves. Essentially, the two players on the outside pass the ball back and forth to each other while the “monkey,” or the player on the inside, tries to capture the ball back.
The piece is from AYSO’s Winter 2016 PLAYSOCCER magazine. To catch up on the latest issues, click here.