As a youth soccer coach, you will soon see you have a wide variety of skill sets with your youth soccer players. Some have been playing a few years already and are very athletic, while others can barely put one foot in front of the other! Your job as a youth soccer coach will be first to teach them to achieve a level of agility and balance, that is consistent throughout your soccer team.
I like to come up with agility drills that I can have the youth soccer players go through without and then with the soccer ball. I try to have the players with the ball as much as possible. Even when running, I’ll have them dribbling the ball.
These agility drills should help teach both balance and speed. Drills that use cones for stopping and starting quickly, moving side to side, are all good agility drills that accomplish this. Other tools that are available are rope ladders and polls that stick vertically in the ground. All these tools are available to help you as a youth soccer coach, teach your soccer players critical skills in becoming better players, such as stopping and changing directions quickly.
As a coach demonstrate the footwork necessary to accomplish the drill correctly, such as not crossing the feet but shuffling, so they don’t fall. Also keeping a low center of gravity, by bending their knees and keeping their weight spread evenly will help them with their balance. These drills should help the player learn to move their feet and hips to quickly turn corners and shift directions without losing speed or balance. The kids should learn how to keep their balance while moving forward, backwards and sideways.
After getting these drills down without the ball, then have the youth players move through them with the ball. You will soon see a huge difference with ball handling, endurance and agility from a few simple drills by adding the ball to these agility sessions. I like to go through these drills each training session the first few weeks of the season and then maybe every other training session after that.
These agility drills make duniatangkas a nice break during practice from the more technical soccer drills that kids often get bored with. You can add twists to them like team challenges and timed races to make them fun for the youth soccer player. Use your imagination and make it a fun and learning experience for the players. They will not even realize they gaining endurance and quickness while having fun at practice!