72 soccer drills and practice games. Our soccer games are better than soccer drills because they are fun, maximize activity, minimize lines, are easy to set up and teach players to play soccer. Coaches will achieve more in less time. Click here for a Soccer Journal article about why SoccerHelp Practice Games are better than drills.
Players will have more fun, practice attendance will improve, your team will play better and win more games if you follow the SoccerHelp Method.
Coach Chuck said: "What a huge difference. We have outscored opponents 18-3." Coach Don said: "Wow! Who would have believed this stuff would work this well." Coach Hal said: "The concept of playing soccer games for drills at practice is brilliant because the girls now perceive practice as fun and not work." Coach Dave said: "The transformation of my team was incredible."
Click here to go to 10 SoccerHelp Drills and Practice Games
See the List of 70 Premium Soccer Practice Games
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How To Coach Soccer Index
SoccerHelp Premium contains over 70 "Third Generation" Soccer Practice Games, including 29 U-6 games, 45 U-8 games, 52 U-10 games and 50 U-12 games. Basic versions of nine of those practice games are found below. SoccerHelp Practice Games are superior to soccer drills in 15 ways, as listed below. Our Practice Games are fun and really work. Your team will learn by simply playing the games and you will achieve more in less time. Practice attendance will improve, players will have more enthusiasm and your team will play better and win more games. Our games have been tested by thousands of coaches, including Rec coaches, select and tournament team coaches, adult team coaches, beginning coaches, very experienced coaches, coaches who never played soccer and coaches who played college and professional soccer. In simple terms, we have invented a better "mousetrap". It is a unique, innovative program that quickly achieves results. Our Premium members get more enjoyment from coaching and their players learn more and have more fun. If you have any doubts, read the Testimonials or Coaches Comments. With a 30-day money back guarantee, there is no risk to trying it. If you aren't completely satisfied, just send us an e-mail during the first 10 days and we will give you a full refund with no questions asked. Premium now contains over 500 pages, 1,500 internal links, and a fantastic Search feature that allows you to easily search the entire Premium site to find what you are looking for. It is much easier to use than a book. Over 2,000 coaches have subscribed to Premium.
Many of our games are original. Many of our practice games are original and exclusive to SoccerHelp. They were developed by us, have been tested by thousands of coaches and are available only on SoccerHelp and SoccerHelp Premium. Our games are carefully designed to teach youth how to play soccer and to achieve more in less time. They are "self-teaching" and players learn by simply playing the games. We believe in positive motivation and don't use "knock-out" or elimination games. Our games are designed to meet the 15 standards listed below.
How SoccerHelp Practice Games are developed or adapted from soccer drills. There are thousands of soccer drills on the Internet, but most are not well thought out, efficient, effective or fun. About half of the SoccerHelp Practice Games have been adapted from hundreds of soccer drills and games that we have tested. Less than 5% are selected and those that are selected are then adapted to meet the 15 criteria listed below.
Why SoccerHelp Practice Games are better (the standards we use when developing games):
- They are fun. They keep players more interested, practice attendance is better and players have more enthusiasm. (The challenge is to develop games that are fun but still teach how to play soccer. We don't recommend silly games such as Crab Soccer that are fun but of limited benefit).
- They are designed for Recreational conditions (e.g., limited practice time, players of various skill and stamina, small areas without real goals, varying numbers of players, one coach, etc).
- They maximize activity and minimize lines. More is achieved in less time, players get a better workout and there is less horseplay. We don't use "knock-out" or elimination games that often leave the players who need the most practice standing on the sideline.
- They teach important skills, teamwork and how to play soccer.
- They are "self teaching" and players learn by simply playing the games (the games are truly the teacher).
- They involve competition and pressure (which drills don't) and better prepare players to perform under pressure in "match" conditions and at "game speed". It is one thing to perform an activity without pressure, but it is very different to perform the same activity at "game speed" and under pressure. Players improve more quickly and become better players when they practice at game-speed in match-related conditions. The best way to achieve this is by playing games that are match-related and involve competition and pressure. Our Practice Games also teach players to hustle, win the ball, play aggressively, they get a good work-out and have more fun.
- Set-up is quick and easy.
- They work for almost any number of players and even or odd numbers (e.g., if only 5, 6 or 7 show up they will still work).
- They are written so even beginning coaches can understand them They have worked for beginning coaches and for very experienced coaches; for Rec coaches, travel team coaches and adult team coaches; for coaches who never played soccer and for coaches who played college and professional soccer.
- One coach can manage the game, assistants aren't required.
- They are rated by age group and quality.
- They don't require large fields, lined fields or goals.
- Most of our games can be played indoors.
- For Rec players, we believe in positive motivation and don't believe in punishing a child who has tried their best but lost a practice game. Our games don't make the losers leave the game or run laps.
- For each hour of practice, the objective is 45-50 minutes of effective learning experience versus the 15-30 minutes that is typical for most Rec practices.
Links To Related Topics:
- Tips For Good Practices
- Things You Need For A Good Practice
- How To Teach Soccer Dribbling
- A List Of Over 60 SoccerHelp Premium Practice Games
- Most Important Things To Teach
- Fun and Effective Soccer Practices
- How To Coach Ages 5 & 6 and 7 & 8
- SoccerHelp Home Page
- Table of Contents
Links To Basic Versions Of 10 SoccerHelp Practice Games:
- "Dribble Across A Square" (U-6 & up) * * * * (Definitely try this)
- "Dribble Around Cone & Pass Relay Race" (All ages) * * * * (Definitely try this)
- "Hit The Coach" (U-6 only) * * * * (Definitely try this)
- "Throw-Ins Teaching Game" (U-8 & up) * * * (Try this)
Tips For Good Practices:
- Kids love playing games and keeping score. In practice, try to use Practice Games and not drills. (Click this link to try our 10 free Practice Games)
Everyone should stay active and participate. Avoid lines. Maximize "touches" on the ball. At least 100 touches per practice for each player. Teach proper technique and use games that practice skills or simulate play or "match conditions". Our Practice Games are much better than drills because they involve competition and pressure (which drills don't) and better prepare players to perform under pressure in "match" conditions and at "game speed". It is one thing to perform an activity without pressure, but it is very different to perform the same activity at "game speed" and under pressure. Players improve more quickly and become better players when they practice at game speed in match-related conditions. Run games by keeping time (e.g., so they last 1, 3, or 5 minutes) or by keeping score (e.g., first to 3, 12, etc.). We recommend you by an inexpensive sports watch that has a count-down timer (about $25 at Wal-Mart or Target). Praise hustle, improvement and a good attitude. Measure each player's performance by his or her personal improvement and effort, and not by comparing them to someone else. Try to motivate in a positive way that builds self-esteem. A good Practice Game must be easy and quick to set up by one coach and should be simple to explain and manage. If you are spending too much time on set up or instruction, simplify it. You should be able to play the game in a small area and without special equipment, except for cones or "disk cones". This is important so you can achieve more in your practices and not waste time. Think about the benefit of being able to achieve 20% or 30% more in each practice. If it's not fun, it's not a good Practice Game. You MUST have at least one ball per player. This is absolutely critical. Ask players to bring extra balls or buy some. DON'T use practice games that eliminate or "knock-out" players. For Recreational players, we believe in positive motivation and we don't believe in punishing a child who has tried their best but lost a practice game. Our Practice Games don't make the losers leave the game or run laps. Nor do we use knock-out or elimination games that leave the players who need the most practice on the sideline. From a practical perspective, punishing players slows down practice and elimination games don't produce as many touches on the ball. Avoid general scrimmaging for more than 10 minutes per hour. In general scrimmages players don't get enough touches on the ball, the weaker players tend to get the fewest touches and bad habits can be reinforced because players tend to do the same things they have always done. If you scrimmage, do so without a goalkeeper and encourage players to work the ball close to the goal before shooting. (Click here for the "Small Sided Scrimmage Without A Goalkeeper" Practice Game). Adopt this philosophy: Keep it simple, keep them active, keep it fun & at least 100 touches per player per practice".
Things You Need For A Good Practice:
- A Ball for Every Player. Ask each child to bring a ball to practice, but buy some extras to bring because some kids will forget. A nylon mesh laundry bag makes a great ball bag. Also, buy a ball pump to keep the balls inflated.
- Small Soccer "Disk" Cones. Disk cones are ideal for marking areas for small sided games. You need 2 disk cones per player (e.g., 30 disk cones for 15 players). Disk cones look like an upside down bowl and come in fluorescent yellow and orange; orange is most visible on brown grass. Consider buying a strap to keep your disk cones on. It is only a few dollars and worth it. As an alternative, you can use strips of brightly colored cloth to mark the areas.
- A Way To Identify "Teams". You can buy practice vests (also called "bibs") for about $6 each, or there are several cheaper ways to identify teams during practice games. One cheap way is to cut the sleeves & bottoms off old t-shirts & use the tops as practice vests; you can spray paint them in different colors to make enough for several teams. Another cheap way is to buy a roll of pink plastic "flagging" at Home Depot ($5.00 in the tool area near the surveying equipment), cut pieces & tie the ends to make a circle that will fit over players heads (around their necks). A third way is to buy a 3-pack of men's "Athletic T-shirts" (about $6.00) in the x-large size. Cut off the top about 3 inches below the bottom of the sleeve & then cut the bottom into 3 cloth circles (just cut it straight across to make the circles). You will get 12 pieces for $6.00. If you need different colors, spray some red or blue paint on them to give a "tie-dyed" look. The bottoms can also be used as field markers.
- Shinguards & Water. Every player should wear shinguards & bring a plastic water bottle with their name on it. I always take extra water because some always forget.
- Assistants. The more the better. Ask parents to help, even if it is just to pick up balls.
- A Whistle. A cheap one will do. This will be hugely helpful in getting attention. Use the whistle to stop & start the practice games described herein.
- An Equipment Bag. To keep your gear in. In it should be some Band-Aids or a small medical kit (about $5). One of the 99- instant ice packs is good. (You squeeze these & they get cold. They are at drugstores).
- Do You Need a Goal or a Lined Field? No. None of the SoccerHelp Practice Games require a goal or a lined field. However, a goal or a net backstop is handy if you are practicing shooting.
- A Watch With A Countdown Timer. You can get by without this, but it makes it a lot easier to run timed games. Timex and Casio make models that are available at Target and Wal-Mart for about $25.
How We Rate Practice Games:
The games on SoccerHelp and SoccerHelp Premium were selected from hundreds we have tested. They are the best and all are recommended. However, some are better than others. Those that are especially good for teaching critical skills are given 2, 3 or 4 star ratings & are "Highly Recommended". Four star games either teach a vital skill or concept in a fun & effective way or do an effective job of teaching multiple skills.
Remember: Games, not drillsTM & "Keep it simple, keep them active, keep it fun & at least 100 touches per player per practice."
SoccerHelp Premium has Over 70 Practice Games Soccer Drills, Soccer Positions, Soccer Formations Soccer Drills for Kids, Kids Soccer Drills