What are the Most Important Soccer Skills You Should Teach Beginner Players?

In soccer, the objective is to move the ball from one end to the other in order to score. Therefore, skills centered on advancing and controlling the ball are essential to soccer play. Since the fastest way to advance the ball is to pass from one teammate to another, learning specific passes is very important. Players must also learn to position themselves to receive passes and utilize skills in receiving passes. So, learning how to receive and support the ball at the same time are important skills as well. There’s a progression to all skills in any sport and soccer is no different. There are several fundamentals that can’t be ignored for the beginning youth player.


Passing involved more than aiming and kicking. Players need to understand how to control their passes by kicking them in certain ways with different parts of their feet. Therefore the fundamentals of where to kick the ball are important. Basically, kicking can be accomplished by the outside or inside of the feet. Youth players should be taught the instep kick/pass first as this is the more accurate and gives them the best chance of success.

Receiving and Controlling

Any part of the body, except the hands, can be used to receive and control the ball. The technique a player chooses should be determined by whether the ball is on the ground or in the air. Passes on the ground are easier to receive than passes in the air and receiving passes on the ground will be the most common method used in games. Therefore ground passes should be taught first.


Players must learn that dribbling means being able to control the ball and move it in different directions by using their feet. They should be taught to dribble with the inside and outside of the feet, look up when dribbling, and develop control first and speed later. Dribbling, as players will learn, will be an invaluable skill in soccer and should be one of the first things taught to them.


Many young players are apprehensive about heading because of the fear of getting hurt. As a coach, your challenge will be to teach your players to overcome the natural inclination to turn away from the ball in a heading situation. Develop heading skills in a sound, progressive manner, and teach player to head forward, sideways, and in the air with their foreheads.

Scoring Goals

As soccer games are won on points by scoring goals, learning to score from all possible situations will become critical as players grow. Practice long shots, short tap-in shots, chip shots, and head shots. Practice with a goalkeeper and other defenders so players can experience a variety of situations that will present themselves in games.

13 Responses to What are the Most Important Soccer Skills You Should Teach Beginner Players?

  1. GULLU June 22, 2012 at 1:08 am #


  2. CHLOE June 22, 2012 at 1:10 am #


  3. Mohammednasir Yimer April 1, 2013 at 12:22 pm #

    for me dribbling should learn first particularlly for youth trainees because it is important to relate their foot with the ball. i.e the cotinious contact of the foot with the ball helps to excute other skill. e.g kicking/passing.

  4. Alexis April 15, 2013 at 7:19 am #

    i think passing is more important because you need to keep that skill with you and use it all the way through professinal school to

  5. Alexis April 15, 2013 at 7:20 am #

    dribbling is the best to me because you use it as you begin and when you are in professinal soccer to.

  6. Antonio marriel October 2, 2014 at 11:10 pm #

    in my opinion we should Teach the four dimensions of the game which are receiving controlling passing,dribbling, adding into that shooting drills because those are the drills for the life of a soccer player if a soccer player can’t control the ball he cannot pass the ball if he cannot control the ball he cannot dribble he cannot shoot the ball in my opinion the way of the game is going in these days we need to control the ball in order for us to play a good possession game if you have possession of the ball most likely you can score

  7. Davr October 25, 2015 at 5:50 pm #

    1.Dribbling 2.Dribbling 3. Dribbling. Those are the 3 most important skills for the beginning player. Passing is important but not a concept that younger children can grasp. Individual ball skills are the basic building blocks for successful development. Heading should not be taught until age 12 at the earliest. They’re brains are growing and highly susceptible to damage at young age. Besides, they’ll be plenty of time latest on to learn how to correctly had the ball.

  8. julia December 29, 2015 at 12:58 pm #

    thanks for the help im just really nervouse for my soccer tryout at truman

  9. Katherine March 1, 2017 at 7:31 am #

    I don’t think heading should be one because you can’t head tell U12. That is my opinion!!! Great job on the writing!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. Edwin April 24, 2017 at 8:28 am #

    In my opinion, learning the ultimate skill of dribbling will have the biggest effect on someone’s game. Thanks for the article.

  11. Alex (ex-professional player) May 15, 2017 at 11:03 am #

    For all those commenting that dribbling is the most important skill in football (soccer).. Looks like you’ve never played football before! I know players who had no idea how to dribble and still succeeded to play even professionally! You need to know that there are 11 positions in the football field and no one expects from the center back to dribble past his oponents.. of course, there are positions where you need some dribbling skills, mostly forwards and wingers. Having dribbling skills is definitely a plus, but is by no means the most important skill and that should not be taught to young players.
    I find it funny that “Davr” wrote that passing is a concept that younger children cannot grasp! Haha I’m curious, when should they learn passing, when they turn 18 maybe? Hilarious… I am sorry for sounding negative but have in mind that these articles are read by young players who want to become professional players, and this is not what we need to advise them.
    The article is right in listing passing and receiving/controlling the ball as the most important skills in football. In a game of 90 minutes, a football player will pass the ball at least 40-50 times but might not dribble more than 2-3 times depending on his position.

  12. sean September 3, 2017 at 2:32 pm #

    For any kids reading this everyone makes valid points on how to play the game. This is the reason that there is so many different types of coaching approaches. The most important thing to remember is to enjoy what you are doing. To all the coaches out there, that is what they need to learn, everything else will come with practice. Some will learn one skill quickly while others will struggle. I train all ages from 4 year old to senior level and the mantra I use is “Calm Perseverance “. At 4 I teach them where to play when I blow the whistle and some fun games with balloons. At senior level its a ball for every player for more one to one or small groups no more than 4.

  13. Soccer Coach July 16, 2018 at 5:09 am #

    Which skill out of the list to teach first? Now that is an interesting question. If you only a very limited time with players and most coaches do then this is a fundamental question. If you apply the 80-20 rule to this, meaning you should focus 80% of your time coaching the 20% considered most important. Well, as somebody as pointed out soccer is a team game and to play with your team you pass the ball. Obvious right? So surely passing (and shooting which is often passing the ball into the goal) must be prioritized above dribbling? Do coaches teach dribbling first to young players because it’s easier.. It’s easier to ask them to dribble a cone than control and pass the ball? The latter often looks more ugly at the beginning and ugly often doesn’t settle well with coaches (or parents). If they preserved with the control-passing maybe it would be more beneficial? Also a major part of soccer (and all invasion games ) is creating and finding space so that passing (or dribbling) is possible. It’s much easier to teach spacial awareness with passing.

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