When working with 4 year olds you’ll want to use really basic soccer drills that are fun and easy. In fact, sometimes you’ll need help just getting 4 year old kids to participate in practice. So making things fun is of the utmost importance!
As far as the skills to work on, choose drills that work on the very basics like dribbling, ball control, really simple touch passing, and very basic striking technique.
There are also a few golden rules regarding soccer practice and soccer drills for 4 year olds:
- Keep things FUN!
- No standing in lines. Keep kids active and busy the entire practice.
- Keep talking to a MINIMUM (if you talk for more than 60 seconds, it’s too long)! Every player should have a ball. You want players to get as many touches with the ball as possible. That means everyone needs a ball.
- Stay positive! Young kids need encouragement. Being too critical will destroy their confidence and hinder their development.
- Remember these are kids. 4 year olds have not developed spatial awareness, full depth perception, mental cognition, coordination, physical strength, and dozens of attributes it takes to be an athlete. Not to mention, you (as an adult) might be interested in a championship, but the kids out there just want to have fun and eat some ice cream. Kids could care less as long as they are playing and having fun.
With 4 year olds, some really simple soccer drills you can do are the basics like…
- Partner passing (players and/or parents pass back and forth using proper technique).
- Cone dribbling.
- Dribble around the parent (or partner) and then kick the ball through their legs.
- Put all the balls in the middle of the field and have all the kids race to get a ball, dribble it to the goal, and kick it in. The team that gets all their balls first wins.
But if you want some drills that will EXCITE young kids much more than the simple pass-through-the-legs stuff they are used to (even 4 year olds get bored with a lot of training they have to go through), here are more drills that I recommend…
We have a free ebook that you should check out. It has 42 soccer drills and some practice plans. In the ebook, the following drills will be really good with 4 year olds. There are others but these 3 are particularly good:
- Breathing Room – Page 17
- Stop and Go – Page 79
- Musical Balls – Page 86
I also suggest that you check out this ebook that has 50 Fun Youth Soccer Drills and Games. It includes several drills that will work really good for you.
Hope this helps!
Thanks for these very informative drills and tips. As a parent who has not played soccer in over 20 years, I feel like I can run a FUN practice for a bunch of 2-4 years olds without looking like a fool!
I don’t know if anyone will see this based off how old this post is. Anyways, for my 4 year old teams, everything is knights and dragons and the soccer ball is a fire ball and the goal is a castle. And obviously when you’re on the field, you can’t touch the fire ball with your hands or they will burn off.
Knights defend the castle with BIG kicks to get the ball as far away from the castle as they can. Dragons attack the castle by using dribbling and a BIG kick to score. It’s fun and gets kids excited about being the defender (when everyone normally wants to score). Every activity and game at practice incorporates knights and dragons.
Toni, don’t know if you will read this but that’s actually very helpful.