Dribbling Curriculum for 5 and 6 Year Old Soccer Players
Tuesday’s warm-up starts with players in groups of two running through the grid. Special attention is given to the youngest players in the camp during the warm-up. The staff and fellow campers work to make all the players feel comfortable and a part of the camp community.
The overwhelming majority of 5 and 6 year old players are in the pre-operational stage of cognitive development, so we do not spend time on passing. The curriculum for the 5 and 6 year old player is limited to dribbling, running with the ball, and ball striking. On Tuesday, we address both running with the ball and dribbling.
Players are then divided into groups by age. The first activity in a group is ball retrieval. Each player brings their ball to the coach. The coach then throws the ball for the player to retrieve by using only their feet. The coach will place conditions such as bringing the ball back in a zig zag pattern, limiting touches, or requiring stop and starts.
The entire group of players are divided in half. Each group starts in a ‘pirate ship’ with their ball. At the coach’s command, all teams of pirates leave their ball in the pirate ship and run across to the opposite ship to raid a soccer ball. The players dribble the ball back to their own pirate ship before another raid run.
Rapid Training: Running with the ball
Players are placed in groups of three. The players start 15 yard apart with a ball at a cone . One of the players runs with the ball to the second player in the group. This player then runs the ball to the third player, who runs the ball back and the activity continues. The coach limits touches and can use additional conditions. Players are encouraged to use different parts of the foot.
This activity is similar to the previous activity. Players are placed in groups of four. Two players stand at a cone 15 yards apart from the remaining players in the group. The player with the ball dribbles across to the other group. As the ball transitions to the next player, the player that just completed the run with the ball now chases the new player with the ball. The activity continues. Players always end at the same cone they started.
All players have a ball and dribble throughout the open space in between four areas designated by cones. Each area is given a name of an island. When the island name is called, all of the players dribble to that island. Speed with the ball is encouraged.
Each player drives their soccer ball throughout the grid. The coach acts as a policeman and gives tickets to players that crash into another car, drive off the road, or do not stop at a stop sign. Tight ball control is needed to avoid crashing.
Each player dribbles their ball throughout the grid. As they dribble, they attempt to kick other player’s soccer balls out of the grid. Once a ball is kicked out, the player who had this ball retrieves it and re-enters the activity. Players learn to keep their body between the ball and their opponent.
1v1 to three options
Players stay in groups of two and play in a five yard by five yard grid. Players start at opposite corners, one with the ball. The defender becomes active once the ball is touched by their partner. The player with the ball attempts to dribble to any of the cones they did not start from. Players learn to change direction after getting the opponent to move.