Fun Soccer Drills for 4 Year Olds
Is your child interested in playing soccer? You’ve come to the right place! We have some fun soccer drills for 4 year olds (which would be U5).
Coaching young children can be challenging, especially when it comes to developing their skills and keeping them engaged. That’s why soccer drills designed specifically for 4-year-olds can be incredibly beneficial.
Let’s face it, four year olds can get easily distracted, frustrated, and disinterested
at many times. Your priority, as a parent or coach, should be to keep young soccer players always engaged.
The drills below focus on fundamental skills such as dribbling, passing, and shooting, but are tailored to the attention span and physical abilities of young athletes.
By introducing these drills at an early age, children can develop a love for the sport and build a strong foundation for future success!
Basic Soccer Skills for 4 Year Olds
Before we get into the actual drills, let’s take a look at the basic skills soccer players should possess as a foundation.
Dribbling is the skill of controlling the ball while running with it. For 4 year olds, it’s best to start with a small ball and have them practice dribbling around cones or other obstacles.
Encourage them to use both feet and to keep their head up while dribbling.
Passing is the skill of moving the ball to a teammate. For young players, passing can be taught by having them pass the ball back and forth with a partner. Start with short passes and gradually increase the distance. Simpler the better!
Encourage them to use the inside of their foot to pass the ball.
Shooting is the skill of kicking the ball towards the goal. For kids that are four, shooting can be taught by having them kick the ball into a small goal or target. Start with a stationary ball and gradually introduce a moving ball.
Encourage them to use the inside of their foot or their laces (for advanced players) to shoot the ball.
Dribbling Soccer Drills for 4 Year Olds
Dribbling is an essential skill for any soccer player, and it’s never too early to start practicing. Dribbling drills can be a fun way to develop their coordination and ball control skills.
Set up cones in a straight line, about a yard apart.
Have the child dribble the ball through the cones, weaving in and out.
Encourage them to keep their eyes up and their feet moving quickly.
Stop and Go
Mark off a small area with cones and have the child dribble around inside the area.
Call out “stop!” and have them stop the ball with their foot.
Then call out “go!” and have them start dribbling again.
This drill helps develop their onfield listening, quick reflexes, and control.
Set up cones, hurdles, or other obstacles in a zigzag pattern. Have the child dribble through the course, maneuvering around the obstacles. This drill helps develop agility and spatial awareness.
When doing the dribbling drills, you don’t need to encourage the player to keep their head up (just yet, anyways). Instead, make sure they keep the ball close to their body while moving.
4 Year Old Passing Soccer Drills
Passing the right way is essential to the foundation of a player. Here are a few soccer drills for 4 year olds that focus on passing:
1. Pass the Ball Relay
Players are divided into two teams and stand in a line facing each other.
The first player on each team has a ball. On the coach’s signal, the first player passes the ball to the second player on their team, who then passes it back.
The ball continues to be passed down the line until it reaches the last player, who runs to the front of the line and starts the passing again.
The first team to complete the relay wins.
2. Partner Passing
Players pair up and stand facing each other about 5-10 feet apart.
One player starts with the ball and passes it to their partner, who then passes it back.
Encourage players to pass with the inside of their foot and on the ground. Also, try to get them to pass it without it stopping. Many kids don’t put enough power behind their passes so it’s a good teaching moment.
3. Triangle Passing
Players form a triangle with about 5-10 feet between each player.
Start by passing it counter-clockwise with their right foot. One player starts with the ball and passes it to the player on their right, who then passes it to the next player, who passes it back to the first player.
After 10 times, you can switch the direction and go clockwise with their left foot.
Players should focus on moving quickly and accurately passing the ball. Have the young player receive it first and then make the pass so it will be two touches.
Shooting Soccer Drills
At four years old, children are still developing their gross motor skills and hand-eye coordination.
Shooting drills can be a fun way to develop these skills while also teaching them the basics of scoring a goal.
Shooting Drill #1
One simple drill is to set up a small goal and have the child kick a ball into it from a short distance away. Encourage them to aim for the center of the goal and to use the inside of their foot to kick the ball. This will help them learn proper technique and accuracy.
Shooting Drill #2
Another drill is to have the child dribble the ball towards the goal and then take a shot. This will help them practice their ball control and shooting in a more game-like situation. You can also add in a defender to make it more challenging and teach them how to get around an opponent.
It’s important to keep the drills fun and engaging for the child. You can use colorful cones or targets to make it more visually appealing, or even incorporate a small obstacle course to make it more exciting.
Remember to keep the soccer goals age-appropriate and not too big or too far away, as this can be discouraging for young children.
More Fun Soccer Games and Activities for Kids
Whether you are running a practice or playing in the backyard, here are some fun and engaging soccer games for kids.
1. Dribbling Around Cones
This drill is a great way to work on dribbling skills and coordination. Set up a few cones in a line and have the kids dribble the ball around them. Encourage them to use both feet and to keep their eyes up while they dribble.
2. Red Light, Green Light
This classic game is a fun way to work on stopping and starting with the ball. Have the kids line up with their balls at one end of the field. When you say “green light,” they can start dribbling towards the other end. When you say “red light,” they have to stop their ball as quickly as possible.
3. Simon Says
This game is a great way to work on listening skills and following directions. Have the kids line up with their balls and give them commands like “Simon says dribble with your left foot” or “Simon says stop your ball.” If they do the wrong thing or don’t follow the “Simon says” command, they’re out.
4. Sharks and Minnows
A classic. This game is a fun way to work on agility and speed. Choose one or two kids to be the “sharks” and have the rest of the kids be the “minnows.” The minnows have to dribble their ball from one end of the field to the other without getting tagged by a shark. If they get tagged, they become a shark too.
Benefits of Soccer Drills for 4 Year Olds
Soccer drills are a great way to introduce young children to the sport of soccer. Sometimes it’s just fun kicking a soccer ball. Other times, it’s more advantageous to run ‘formal’ soccer drills. Here are some benefits of soccer drills for 4 year olds:
- Developing motor skills: Soccer drills help children develop their gross motor skills, such as running, jumping, and kicking. These skills are important for overall physical development and can be applied to other activities as well.
- Improving coordination: Soccer drills require children to coordinate their movements and make quick decisions. This helps improve their overall coordination and balance.
- Building confidence: As children learn new skills and improve their performance, they gain confidence in their abilities. This can translate to other areas of their lives as well.
- Teaching teamwork: Soccer drills often involve working with other children to achieve a common goal. This helps children learn important teamwork skills, such as communication, cooperation, and respect for others.
- Promoting socialization: Soccer drills provide a fun and safe environment for children to interact with their peers. This can help them develop important social skills, such as making friends, sharing, and taking turns.
Remember to always try to keep every kid engaged during soccer drills. There shouldn’t be much downtime, this is when they lose interest.
Also, soccer players at this age do not need to train for hours. Instead, 20 min. to 30 min. is ideal for four year olds.
Always keep it fun with little instruction. I believe the goal of the practice sessions is to get the child to come back again. The more exciting and fun it is, the better chance of them wanting to do it again!