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    Soccer Drills For Middle School

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    The following soccer drills for middle school can be used for  Summer Camps, Physical Education class and Travel Teams.  You may need to modify the rules depending on the skill level of your players, but I will give you a wide variety to choose from.

     

    TWO WHISTLE DRILL

     

    EQUIPMENT: 1 ball, goal, 3 dome cones and pinnies  The drill only requires 1 ball at a time, but I’m sure you know you’ll want more balls at the starting point.

     

    GRADES: 4th-12th

     

    • Best played outside, but can be modified on a smaller scale if needed to be played inside.

     

    • You’ll need a Keeper in a standard size goal.

     

    • 2 Defenders starting 12-18yds from the goal line.

     

    • 3 attackers starting at mid-field.

     

    • Center fwd begins with the ball on the first whistle.  They have the option to dribble or pass whenever they feel the need.

     

    • Players can overlap (switch positions)

     

    • It’s a simple 3 vs 2 that ends on the seconds whistle.  The 2nd whistle can occur when a goal is scored, ball is stolen, kicked away by a defender or too much time has gone by to develop the play.

     

    • ROTATION: Attackers-Left fwd to Center, center to right and right fwd to left.

     

    • Defenders- simply go to opposite goal post line out of bounds.

     

    • TIP: Encourage crosses and overlaps as opposed to driving the ball straight down the middle.

     

    • NOTE: This an awesome drill for try-outs.  The drill typically lasts 10-30 seconds, so it gives a coach a lot of opportunities to critique many players.

     

    ROTATOR DRILL

     

    EQUIPMENT: 2 GOALS 10-18ft, 1 ball & 2 cones and pinnies.

     

    Grades 4th-12th

     

    • This game is also best played outside, but can be scaled down for the indoors.

     

    • When playing outside make a 30 X 30 yd playing area.

     

    • 1 goal on each side of the field with a keeper.

     

    • 2 players from each team start on the field.  The remaining players wait on the sideline behind a designated cone.

     

    • The first two players are given a # 1 & 2.  The other players don’t need a number, this is just to start the game.

     

    • Each player stays in the game for two rotations.  The coach will yell rotate every 30 seconds to 1 minute.  Player 1 will exit the game on the first “rotation” called by the coach.  Player #2 and the remaining players all know they will rotate out the 2nd time they hear rotate.

     

    • NOTE: Play does NOT stop when players are rotating in and out.

     

    • Keepers are not allowed to punt in this drill.

     

    • If keepers choose to come out of the goal area, they may only use their feet.

     

    • This is another great try-out drill if you need to get a look at a lot of players.

     

    • TIP: Rebounding goals work great for this game.

     

    KEEPER BALL

     

    EQUIPMENT: 1 ball, two goals and pinnies.

     

    GRADES: 5th-12th

     

    • This game is best played on a full outdoor field. 

     

    • Each team has two keepers that are allowed to use their feet and hands anywhere on the field.

     

    • When a keeper has the ball in their hands, they may only take 3 steps with the ball, but they’re allowed to put the ball by their feet and dribble as much as they want.

     

    • NO keeper to keeper passing.

     

    • Keepers are NOT allowed to throw the ball in goal, but they may throw the ball for passes or crosses.

     

    • Keepers may only punt if they’re inside the penalty box.

     

    • All other soccer rules apply.

     

    SIDELINE SOCCER

     

    CLICK HERE  to check out a video on how to play sideline soccer & Soccer Handball.

     

    EQUIPMENT: 4 cones, 1 foam soccer ball, wrist bands or pinnies.

     

    GRADES: 2nd-12th

     

    • Best played inside of a gym, but outside will work.

     

    • Place the ball in the center of the gym.

     

    • One cone will be placed on each of the 4 corners of the gym. 

     

    • All players are given a number and spread out on the base line (goal line) of the basketball court.

     

    • I usually call 3 numbers at a time, but you mix it up along the way.  Girls only, odd numbers, etc….

     

    • Players that are not called, will be the goalies for that round.

     

    • When a player hears their number, they will run to the center of the gym. 

     

    • IMPORTANT SAFETY RULE, the player that arrives to the ball first, must perform a sole of the foot trap before playing the ball.  This rules forces players to slow down and helps to avoid collisions. 

     

    • Any shots over the heads of the keeper will not count.

     

    • Keepers are not allowed to punt.

     

    • Shots to the outside of the corner cones will not count.

     

    • Allow about 1 minute for each round.  If a goal is scored quickly, allow players to play on.

     

    • This type of sideline soccer is fantastic because all players must pay attention at all time.  When a player’s number is not called, they’re automatically one of the goalies, so they must pay attention.

     

    BOX SOCCER

     

    EQUIPMENT: 6 cones, 1 foam soccer ball, wrist bands or pinnies

     

    GRADES: 3rd-8th

     

    • This game has all the same rules as sideline soccer except for a few.

     

    • Useful game if you have a large class or combined classes.

     

    • You can play with two large teams or 3 or 4 teams at the same time.

     

    TWO TEAM VERSION

     

    • Place 1 cone on each corner of the court and 1 cone on each side of the court where the half court line and side line meet.

     

    • Object is to shoot the ball past not only the base line, but the side line of the other team, so each team is spread out on the sidelines and baselines of the basketball court.

     

    • Each team now has a greater area to defend, but if it’s a larger class, the space will be needed.

     

     

    THREE OR FOUR TEAM VERSION

     

    • Same rules, but you must divide the space evenly, so each team has the same goal space to cover.

     

     

     

    SOCCER HAND BALL (VARIATION OF SIDELINE SOCCER)

     

    • This game is played exactly the same as sideline soccer except instead of trying to kick the ball past the goal line, the players are trying to hit the wall behind the other team 7 feet or lower.

     

    • The other big difference is the ball.  Use something that catches air easily. 

     

    • Players can use their feet and their hands, but field players can’t hold the ball in their hands, not even for 1 seconds.

     

    • Keepers are allowed to punt.

     

    • Shots may go over the heads of the goalies and still count.  It’s harder than you think.

     

     

    SOCCER IN REVERSE

     

    EQUIPMENT: 1 foam ball, 2 goals (4 x 6ft), wrist bands or pinnies.

     

    GRADES: 4th-8th

     

    • I like to wait until 3rd grade, because I feel by this age the kids have a real understanding of when not to use their hands in a regular soccer game.

     

    • Goals are placed backwards to the field.

     

    • Field players can only use their hands.

     

    • Keepers can only use their feet.

     

    • If your group or class is too large, you may use a sideline to space out the kids.

     

    • VARIATION: Soccer in reverse can be played with the  Sideline Soccer version above.

     

    • All players are spread out on their goal line (base line of the basketball court).  These players are your goalies and they can only use their feet.

     

    • When their number is called, they become a field player and can only use their hands.  

     

    • Object of the game, just like sideline soccer is to strike the ball past the goal line of the other team, below head level.

     

    • TIP:  You could use a regular size foam soccer ball, but I find the kids have more fun with on over sized ball.  It’s less stress on their lower back.

     

    When it comes to try outs, I’m a firm believe in watching various scrimmages to critique, players, but it’s good to throw in some skill drills.  CLICK HERE  for a few tips.  Younger players often forget to importance of juggling and how much it can help with controlling a ball out of the air.

     

    DEFENSIVE DRILL

     

    EQUIPMENT: 3 cones, 3 balls 

     

    GRADES:  3rd-12th

     

    • 3 lines of players. 1st player in line comes out 10 yds as the defender and faces the attacker.

     

    • Defender passes the ball to the attacker to start the drill.

     

    • 3 players competing at the same time, but only competing 1 v 1.

     

    • This drill can be done with only 1 line if needed.

     

    THINGS TO LOOK FOR

     

    • Defenders stance.

     

    • Patients.

     

    • Working attacker to side.

     

    • Tackling on mistake of attacker.

     

    • Are they closing in on attacker quickly? Did the shorten strides as they neared the attacker.

     

    VARIATION

     

    • Add 2nd defender.

     

    • This will allow 1st defender to be more aggressive.

     

    • Defenders can learn how to work together.

     

    SOCCER CLEATS

    3 V 1

     

    EQUIPMENT: 1 large goal, soccer balls and pinnies

     

    GRADES: 4th-12th

     

    • This is a fantastic game to play before a real game with another team.

     

    • This drill teaches your players to get the shot off quickly.

     

    • Your keeper will get a lot of reps in before a game.

     

    • NOTE: This game can be played in camp, phys. ed. class or a drill during a soccer practice.

     

    • Keeper goes in goal.

     

    • 3 lines of players at the 18 yard line.

     

    • 1 line of defenders behind the goal line at the post.

     

    • The defender will make a hard pass to forward in front of them and they will be in an immediate 3 v 1 with a keeper.

     

    • Players should be made aware that the drill should take 5 seconds or less.

     

    CROSS THE MOAT

    EQUIPMENT: 1 ball, pinnies and 20 dome cones.

     

    GRADES: 4th-8th grade

     

    • CLICK HERE to see a video on how to play Cross the Moat.

     

    • Great game to improve, loft passing, crosses and receiving a ball out of the air.

     

    • Place two rows of cones 10-30 feet apart depending on strength and skill level of your players.  No players are allowed in the area.  This will be the center of your field. (THIS IS YOUR MOAT)

     

    • Both teams will have players on each side of the moat.

     

    • If a player can cross the ball over the moat to the other side and a teammate can receive and control the ball, they will receive a point for their team.

     

    • The team in possession of the ball will play keep away until they can look for another cross.

     

    • If the ball is stolen, the other team will now play keep away and also look for a cross.

     

    • OPTION: Place a path of cones thru the moat, which allows players to switch sides.  

     

    • If a player decides to switch sides, they must switch a teammate.  Another words, their teammate must go to the other side.  This prevents overloading one side with too many players.

     

    SETTLING DRILL

    EQUIPMENT: Soccer balls, pinnies and 1 large goal.

     

    GRADES: 3rd-8th

     

    • Keeper in goal.

     

    • 2 lines of attackers on the mid-line.

     

    • 2 lines of defenders behind the goal line at each post of the soccer goal.

     

    • When the drill starts the defenders will start on the 18 yard line.

     

    • The coach will toss high or punt the ball to the defenders.

     

    • The attackers will immediately attempt to steal the ball before the defender settle and clear.

     

    • OPTION: Force the defenders to make the first touch go in the direction you choose before they clear the ball.

     

    • If the attackers steal the ball before the defenders clear the ball, they may take a shot at the goal.

     

    • This is a 2 v 2 drill with a keeper, but you can make it into a 3 v 3.

     

    • You also have the option to do this with partners only and no keeper.  In this version the defender is simply settling or one touching a specific direction before the clear.

     

    TUNNEL DRILL

    EQUIPMENT: Soccer balls and cones.

     

    GRADES: 3RD-8TH

     

    • Great dribbling drill.

     

    • You can make however many rows you prefer.

     

    • Let’s say you have 3 cones about 10 feet apart.  Place a defender on each cone.  They must keep one foot on the cone and they’re not allowed to switch feet during the drill, but they may pivot.

     

    • The dribblers will dribble in and out of the players on the cones.  This is done the same way you would dribble in and out of cones without a defender.

     

    • The defender is limited, but the drill is for the dribbler.  It gives them a real feel with less pressure of a free defender.

     

    • NOTE: Rotate the players on the cones, every couple minutes.

     

    1ST TOUCH DRILLS

    EQUIPMENT: Cones and Soccer balls.

     

    GRADES: 5TH-12TH

     

    • 1ST DRILL: With partners approximately 20-30 feet apart, roll the ball to the right foot of your partner.  They will 1 touch with the right foot and pass back with the same foot.

     

    • Then repeat the process to the left foot.  Take turns and repeat for 5-10 minutes.

     

    • 2ND DRILL: Roll the ball to a partner and call a direction.  The player receiving the ball must have a first touch in the direction chosen by their partner.

     

    • 3RD DRILL: Set up groups of 4 with four cones.  Place the cones 10 yards apart in a square formation.

     

    • Player 3 of the players will be given a number 1 thru 3.  Each player will stand in between 2 of the cones.

     

    • The other player with no number will also stand between 2 cones.  Player 1 will always pass to them.  When player 1 passes to the player without a number, they will say 2 or 3 and that player must pass to the correct player.

     

    • If player 1 says nothing when they pass, the player receiving must pass the ball back to player 1.

     

    • DRILL 4: Set up 6 cones making two squares 5-10 yards apart. CLICK HERE to see a video of this drill.

     

    • 1 defender in the first square.  1 attacker on the end of each square. 2 attackers inside the first square with the defender.

     

    • Players on the end are not allowed to dribble.  They may only pass the ball to a attacker in the square.

     

    • Object is to get the ball into the other square with passes only and then pass the ball to the attacker on the outside of the opposite square.

     

    • Attackers in the squares are not allowed to dribble into the other square. It must be a successful pass to the partner in the square before the pass to the player on the outside.

     

    1ST Touch Soccer drills are often overlooked, but it’s a key component for the success of your team.  It’s very important to remember that some 1st touch drills are made to go to a teammate and other 1st touch drills are made to stay with the player receiving the ball.

     

     

    Basics

     

    (1st touch to self)

     

    Equipment: 1 ball per 2 players

     

    Grades: 3rd-12th

     

    • A players first touch should move the ball in the direction your player wants to dribble or pass.

     

    • Separate partners approximately 10 yards apart.  

     

    • Each partner will pass to each other, but the first touch must move the ball in the direction given by the coach.

     

    • First touch moving ball to the right, left and forward.  Players should know ahead of time which direction you want them to send their first touch.

     

    • VARIATION: As players become comfortable with the first touch concept you can make the skill tougher.  The player passing the ball will yell out the first touch direction before the ball reaches their partner.  This will give the player receiving the ball less time to react.  

     

    • It’s important to remember the distance of the first touch depends on how close the other team is to the player receiving the ball.

     

    • If the other team is close to the player receiving the ball, then the first touch should only move the ball a few feet away.

     

    • If the other team is further away and the player receiving wants to move up the field quickly, then they can send the first touch further away.

     

    • NOTE: The key to this drill is to make your players aware of anticipating the direction they want to go before they receive the ball.

     

    Flag Pass

    (1st touch to self)

     

    Equipment: 2 Flags, 1 ball with a partner.

     

    Grades: 2nd-8th

     

    • One partner will receive a pass from approximately 10 yards away and their first touch must be forward, right or left.

     

    • When the first touch is to the left or right, the receiving player will attempt to hit one of the two flags they’re standing between.

     

    • The flags should only be 3 yards away from the player receiving the ball.

     

    Circle Pass

     

     

    Equipment: Cones, Ball and a Partner.

     

    Grades: 4th-12th

     

    • Place one receiving player inside a circle of cones.

     

    • The number of cones and the size of the circle depends on the skill of the players.

     

    • If the players are older and of higher skills, the circle would only be a 4ft diameter with 8 cones.

     

    • Younger and less skilled players can play in a 10ft diameter with 4 cones.  If you see your players performing with ease or need to be challenged you can adjust accordingly.

     

    • The passing player will pass to the receiving player from approximately 5-10 yards away.  The receiving player will make a first touch to go thru the two cones to their right, then back right, back, back left, left, etc….

     

    • NOTE: First touch sends the ball thru the 2 cones, the second touch passes back to their partner.

     

     

    Touch, move & pass

     

     

    (1st touch to self)

     

    Equipment: 4 cones & 1 ball.

     

    Grades: 3rd-12th

     

    • Groups of 3.

     

    • Each player stands at a cone placed in a square formation 5 yards apart.

     

    • One player will receive a pass and their first touch will go in the direction of the 4th cone that no one is standing at.

     

    • Prior to the ball contacting the cone, the player that performed the first touch will now dribble around the cone and pass the ball to the other player at a cone.

     

    • This process will repeat over and over, so each player can perform the first touch to their right.

     

    • Make sure to practice the same drill to the right.

     

    2 v 2 + Keeper

     

     

    (1st touch to self)

     

    Equipment: Pinnies, large goal & 1 ball.

     

    Grades: 4th-12th

     

    • Place 2 defenders 20 yards out from the goal.

     

    • 2 attackers will be placed approximately 10-15 yards away.

     

    • 1 keeper will be in the goal.

     

    • The coach will feed a ball to either on the ground or air to the defenders from the side.

     

    • The player that receives the ball must make their first touch go in the direction the coach calls out, pass to their teammate and clear.

     

    • The attackers will attempt to steal the ball and score.

     

    • VARIATION: Same process, except the coach will feed the ball to the Attackers.  Defenders will attempt to steal the ball before the attackers make their first touch and pass.

     

    1ST  Touch Diamond Drill

     

     

    (1st touch to self)

     

    Equipment: 1 ball with groups of 3.

     

    Grades: 3rd-12th

     

    VIDEO OF THIS DRILL

     

    • 3 players will stand in a straight line 5 yards apart.  The drill will be for all 3 players, but the player in the center will get the most work.

     

    • All 3 players will be required to make their 1st touch go in the required direction.

     

    • One of the players on the end will start with the ball.

     

    • The player in the center will move 5 yards to their left and receive a pass from their stationary teammate.

     

    • The first touch must go toward the other stationary teammate and then make a pass to them.

     

    • As soon as the pass is made, they will run 10 yards to their right and receive a pass from the other stationary player.

     

    • Once again the first touch must go toward the other stationary player.

     

    • NOTE: The stationary players still must make their first touch going in the direction of the running player before they pass.

     

    Solo Wall Pass

     

     

    • No one to practice with? Use a wall to focus on your first touch.

     

    • Place 1 cone on the ground 5 yards or less from the wall.

     

    • Pass the ball up against the wall with your right foot.  First touch with left foot sending ball to your left past cone.

     

    • Next pass ball against wall with left foot, receive first touch with right foot and send ball to your right.

     

    • Repeat process over and over.

     

    Wall Pass

     

    (1st Touch To Teammate)

     

    Equipment: 1 corner flag, 2 soccer balls and 2 dome cones.

     

    Grades: 4th-12th

     

    • 1 player will stand behind a corner flag.

     

    • The other two players will have a ball 5 yards away.  One player in front to the right and the other in front to the left.

     

    • The player behind the flag will step to the left, receive a pass and 1 touch pass the ball back to the same player.

     

    • Once they make the first pass, they will go behind the flag and receive another pass from the player to their right.  The will return it with a wall pass.

     

    • Rotate players after 10 passes.

     

    • VARIATION: Same set up, but using only 1 ball the first touch will go to player that didn’t make the pass.

     

     

    Fast Step Wall Pass

     

    (1st touch to teammate & self)

     

    Equipment: 3 cones, 1 ball. Groups of 3.

     

    Grades: 3rd-12th

     

    • Place 3 dome cones 1 ft part each. 

     

    • Step each foot between the coaches as fast as you can and receive a pass with your right foot from a partner.

     

    • Repeat the same process moving to your left and receive a pass with your left foot.

     

    • One touch the ball to a stop position and then immediately pass back.

     

    • Same drill as a wall pass.

     

    • Same drill, but now you will receive a toss in the air from your partners.  Once again you can stop the ball first and pass or perform a wall pass.

     

    Shake The Shadow

     

    (1st Touch To Self)

     

    Equipment:  1 ball, 4 dome cones. Groups of 3.

     

    Grades: 4th-12th

     

    • One partner will act as the defender, standing behind the player receiving the ball from a teammate approximately 5-10 yards away.

     

    • The player that passes the ball, will decide which direction the receiver must make their first touch by calling the direction.

     

    • The defender will trail the player receiving the ball to give them a real feel, with all 50% effort since the drill is for the attacker.

     

    • The defender should give different looks.  Another words, trail on left side, right side, come around front, etc…  This way the passer can call all different directions such as pass back, left, right or behind.

     

    Out of Air

     

     

    (1st Touch To Self)

     

    Equipment: 2 Soccer balls, 1 goal & a Keeper.

     

    Grades: 6th-12th

     

    • One player will stand 20 yards out from the goal inside 4 cones approximately 5 yards apart in a square formation.  

     

    • A partner will pass or toss the ball in the air from the goal line.  One player on each side of the goal, so the player in the square can receive the ball for both side.

     

    • Once the player in the square receives the ball they will shoot as quick as possible.

     

    • The player in the square will attempt 1 touch and shoot.

     

    All Sides

     

    (1st Touch To Teammate)

     

    • One player stands in the center of 4 other players approximately  5ft apart.

     

    • All 4 players have a ball, except for the player in the center.

     

    • One player at a time will pass the ball to the player in the center.  The player in the center must receive the ball quickly, pass back and turn to receive the next pass.

     

    • VARIATIONS: 2 touches with right foot.  2 touches with left foot.  2 touches with both feet.

     

    • VARIATION: Receive a toss to chest & pass back with foot.

    I hope you found these 1st touch drills helpful.  Please feel free to leave a comment or question below.

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