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.
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.