Leavenworth Soccer Club

Leavenworth Soccer Club
Coaching 101

Technique Fundamentals of Soccer


*dribble with your head up, seeing the ball with the lower parts of your eyes
*dribble with all parts of your feet
*keep the ball under control

---more advanced skills- various moves


*your plant foot should be even with the ball
*hit the ball in the middle of the ball (not too high or low)
*use your instep
*follow through after striking the ball
*practice with both feet

--more advanced skills- long passes, chipping the ball, crosses, one touch passes, two touch passes.

Receiving Passes

*soft foot and body
*use the ground to trap the ball
*trap the ball at 3/4 to the top

--more advanced skills- thigh trap, chest trap, give and go, wall passes.


*your plant foot should be even with the ball
*hit the ball with shoe laces
*practice with both feet
*follow through

--more advanced skills- shooting with inside and outside of the foot, volleys.


*bend your knees so you can move in any direction
*push offensive player to the outside
* slow the ball so other defensive players can help you, don’t swipe at the ball.
*stay with your player, don’t follow the ball

--more advanced skills-- zone positioning, help defense.


*keep feet on the ground
*your hands must come all the way behind your head
*square your body to the direction you are throwing, don’t twist

Goal Tending

*knees bent and hands ready
*hands make a ‘W’
*catch the ball and cradle it
*know the goalie box

--more advanced skills--punting, diving, punching the ball


Begin each practice with warm-ups, stretches, and fun games.
One or two teaching points per session, no more
Small-sided scrimmages are a good way to involve all players and try out new skills.
Always be positive and enthusiastic
Don’t have kids head the ball until they are 11 or 12
Avoid having kids wait in lines

Fun Activities/Games to Build Skills


*Follow the Leader

Everyone follows the leader using their own ball. Leader can run anywhere on the field doing the following types of activities (coach or players take turns leading):

  • different ways of dribbling-left foot, right foot, forwards, slow, fast, pulling the ball sideways or backwards, tapping in place, different kinds of turns
  • stop ball with sole of foot, knee, etc. etc. and resume dribbling
  • touch ball with different body parts while dribbling: knee, different parts of feet, elbow, forehead, seat, belly, etc.
  • Practice different ways of turning and cutting with the ball
  • insert other exercises and activities—jumping jacks, stretches, roll in grass-- anything goes—the crazier the better.

*Freeze Tag

Set up a large rectangle with cones and have the players dribble in the rectangle. After a short time, take the ball away from one or two players who then become "it." Any player whose ball is touched by an "it" player becomes frozen and has to stop dribbling, spread his legs apart, and hold his ball above his head. S/he is frozen in this position until another player dribbles his ball between the frozen player's legs. Switch the "it" players often and make it a contest to see who can freeze the most at one time.

*Red Light/Green Light

Each player with a ball lines up at one end of the penalty area. A coach stands at the other end and yells, "Green light," and turns his back to the players. The kids race across the penalty area to see who can reach the coach first. After a few seconds, the coach yells, "Red light." At that command, the players must stop and put a foot on top of the ball. The coach turns back around and looks for players whose ball is still moving. Those players must move a certain distance back to the starting line. Repeat calling red light/green light until someone wins the race. This game encourages fast dribbling while keeping the ball close. Variations can be added using a "yellow light" command such as tapping the ball in place, dribbling backwards, etc.

*Simon Says

Just like the common children's game, the coach gives instructions like "Simon says dribble with your left foot" or "Simon says switch balls with someone." The players only follow the instructions if they being with "Simon says..." Anyone following instructions that do not start with "Simon says..." are knocked out. But the knocked out players should be doing something with the ball, not just watching the game continue. Continue the game until one player is left. This can be used for warm-up stretching exercises as well.

*Bring it Back!

Kick a ball, ask one child to retrieve the ball by dribbling the ball while rubbing his belly. kick the ball in a different direction for the next player and tell her to dribble the ball while pretending to be an elephant. The next child can be asked to bring the ball back between their knees. Be creative. You can extend this by sending two or more players to retrieve the ball and have them pass among themselves.

* Ball Exchange

Players dribble in a confined square and the coach gives a command to switch. Each player steps on their ball to stop it and then quickly races off to dribble a different ball. You may take one or two balls away to add quickness and decision making.

*Traffic Exchange

Players start in two lines facing each other. Lines are marked with cones. When the coach gives the signal players dribble past one another to reach the opposite line. When all team members have crossed the opposite line, they pick up their balls and put them on their heads. The group that finishes first gets a point. Play several rounds.

*Drive your Car

Set up cones in a large circle. Have kids pretend to be cars. On your command, have cars go slow, medium, fast, and stop without bumping into each other. Have cars stop and then back up.

*Sharks and Minnows

Start with a defined area marked, adjusted for size depending on the age of the players. Half the players have balls and are Minnows. The rest do not have balls and are the Sharks. The Minnows start at one end of the area and must dribble across the area and across the opposite goal line without losing possession of their ball. The Sharks defend the area, trying to kick the Minnows' balls out of the defined area. Minnows who retain possession turn around and go back for round two. A Minnow who loses their ball join the Sharks for round two. The last successful Minnow is the Grand Champion.


  • Sharks steal ball and go to a goal instead of just kicking the ball out.
  • Instead of eliminating players until only one is left, give points to the sharks for kicking out balls but let everyone stay in the game. Everyone gets a turn as a shark.
  • Sharks who take possession of a ball immediately become Minnows; Minnows who lose the ball become Sharks.
  • Players are not knocked out, but must perform some task before getting back into the game. (Such as ball dance.)
  • Minnows must control the ball in a goal area to encourage good ball control instead of just kicking the ball over the end line if a Shark gets close.

*Steal the Cookie

Everyone dribbles around trying to keep their own ball and kick out everyone else's ball. If a player's ball is kicked out, he must retrieve it, then dance on the ball for 10 touches before getting back in. A player gets a point for every ball he kicks out (so if you spend time outside dancing on your ball, you have less time to win points).

*Dribble Relays

Set up an 'obstacle-course' with cones as 'gates' - and team 'A' races team 'B'-they have to go out and back - if they lose control and miss a gate, they have to regain control and go through the gate. A variation is to have a small 'square' at the end. They have to stop the ball in the square, then sprint back and high-five the next player before he/she can take off. Another variation is to have several parents positioned at different places along the 'course' and have a different one hold up a number of fingers at random times during the race - and award points to the player that sees it and correctly yells out the number first. This gets the players heads up.


*Target Hunt

Set out cones, each player tries to hit cones with a pass to score a point. They cannot hit same cone twice in a row. Also have two players be a roaming goal (hold a penny as a cross bar) and players can pass through the goal to score a point. Play 4-6 rounds for 45 seconds. Let everyone have a turn being the roaming goal.

*Clean up your Room

Players start in two equal teams with a centerline dividing the field in half. Each player has a ball and passes it into the other team’s room. When the coach shouts freeze, the team with fewer balls in their "room" wins a point. Develops pace and accuracy. Encourage passing with either foot.

*Quick Pass

Using one ball between them, partners move around inside a confined space and try to complete as many passes as they can in a set time limit. Repeat. Have teams try to beat their score. Change partners and try to set team records.

*Marbles/Cat and Mouse

Players dribble with a circle or square and pass their own balls to hit other player’s soccer balls. They get a point for hitting another’s ball. Encourage passing with right and left foot. A variation is to form pairs with one partner being the cat and one the mouse. The mouse doesn’t have a ball. The cat tries to see how many times he can hit the mouse (below the knees) within a given time period. Then switch partners.

*Monkey in the Middle

The players make a circle with one player (the monkey) in the center. The players try to pass the ball around and the monkey tries to intercept it. When the monkey gets the ball he joins the circle and whoever made the "fatal" pass becomes the monkey. This game can be modified by increasing the number of monkeys and/or balls that are used. Another variation is to play this on a square grid with a cone in each corner. 3 players stand outside on the corners and one player stays in the middle and tries to win the ball. The passers on the outside run down the sides of the grid making triangles so that the player with the ball always has an outlet on either side.

*Men in Black

Set up an alley with cones. Line up all the balls along the alley outside of the cones. When the coach gives the signal, have players run from one end of the alley to the other. Coaches try to hit the players (below the knee) with the balls as they run through. Players are safe once they reach the other end of the alley. As players are hit with balls, they join the coaches on the outside of the alley and take aim at the other runners who continue to make runs through the alley until none are left.

To Keep in Mind

Players should wear cleats and covered shin guards

Bring a first aid kit and ice

Make sure players stay hydrated

Don’t leave field until all players are picked up

Pick up garbage, return nets to fence

Share the field and share your knowledge and enthusiasm!

A Few Resources

Washington State Youth Soccer Association (WSYSA):


US Youth Soccer Association:


WSYSA Coaches Handbook:


Lesson Plans:






The Leavenworth Soccer Club will be putting on coaches clinics in preparation for the Fall season. These clinincs will be held in mid-August.

For more information on upcoming coaching clinics around the State please go to:


Coach-Player Development

I would like to take this opportunity to wish you every success with your soccer coaching this season. Each year the standard of play in Washington State improves, and most of the credit for this must be given to the enthusiasm and dedication of our coaches. I congratulate you on the time and effort you give to prepare your teams for play!

The following programs and services will assist you in further developing your players. The United States Soccer Federation ( USSF) coaching program starts with the entry level Youth Module (U6 Certificate through "E") and moves progressively through " A" course. WSYSA administers and conducts the Youth Modules and Certificates and "E" and "D" Level courses described here; USSF administers and conducts "C," "B" and "A" level courses.


U-6 Coaching Certificate: Coaching U-6 Players
The U-6 Coaching Certificate is designed to provide the first-time parent/coach of five year olds with information on creating a beneficial soccer environment. The course has been designed to address the specific characteristics of this age group and to present activities and games that are developmentally appropriate. This is a 2½-hour course.

U-8 Coaching Certificate: Coaching U-8 Players
The U-8 Coaching Certificate is designed to provide the parent/coach of seven year olds with information on creating a beneficial soccer environment. The course has been designed to address the specific characteristics of this age group and to present activities and games that are developmentally appropriate. This is a 2½-hour course.

U-10 Coaching Certificate: Coaching U-10 Players
The U-10 Coaching Certificate is designed to provide the parent/coach of nine year olds with information on creating a beneficial soccer environment. The course has been designed to address the specific characteristics of this age group and to present activities and games that are developmentally appropriate. This is a 2½-hour course.

"E" Certificate Course
The emphasis of the "E" course is on coaching players 10-14 years of age. It is a general certificate of 11-a-side play and is intended for those coaches who are in the transitional stage from coaching. Modified soccer to coaching 11 vs. 11 soccer. The course is best
suited for those coaches with several years' experience or who have attended one or more of the youth module courses.

The "E" course focuses on coaching points and the teaching of technique, with an introduction to the Principles of Play (attack and defense.) The "E" course also provides elementary information on the management and preparation of a team.

"D" License Course
The attendees of a "D" course fall into two distinct categories: coaches who are using the course to preapare for the National "C" License and those who are using the course to qualify for a particular level of coaching within their state. Many of the latter are not required to further upgrade their license. In addressing coaches in these two categories, the "D" course can be seen as either preparatory or terminal.

The "D" course is for coaching players 14-18 years of age and emphasizes observing mistakes and providing information to correct the mistakes. A majority of the course schedule is devoted to practice coaching and practical examinations. Candidates will be examined by the analysis of videotape footage for their knowledge and understanding of tactics and methodology. There are also take-home examinations on soccer injury prevention and the FIFA Laws of the Game.

Based on how well they do in the "D" License course, candidates are awarded either a National "D" License, which allows them to attend a National "C" License course after a year, or a State "D" License. If a State "D" License is earned, the "D" course can be retaken by coaches interested in obtaining a National "C".