About Coaching U6

About Coaching U6

1. Make it fun & try to have fun yourself. Whether your players continue to play soccer will depend on whether it's fun. Coaching U-6 is the most fun you will ever have as a soccer coach because you really don't have to know or do much except have fun and keep your players from getting hurt.


2. Lots of contact and a ball for every player at practice. It is very important that every player at practice has a ball. Your objective should be at least 300 touches per child per practice and for each child to be doing something with a ball for at least 50% of the practice (as opposed to watching, listening to instructions or standing in line).


3. Choose Good Practice Games. There are thousands of drills on the Internet, but most are not well thought out, efficient, effective or fun. We believe in positive motivation and don't believe in punishing a child who has tried their best but lost a Practice Game. Thus, we do not recommend punishing the losers or making the losers leave the game. Don’t use "knock-out" or elimination games which leave kids standing on the sideline and we don't use games such as "Crab Soccer" which are fun but have many kids crawling on the ground instead of learning to play soccer.


4. Have your players dribble and kick the ball a lot so they get used to using their feet.


5. Don't let anyone get hurt.


6. Teach the following concepts and rules.

a. Not using hands (except the Goalie) and not tripping, holding, pushing or hitting other players (it is good to "fight" for the ball, but not to use hands to hit or push).

b. The concept of a "field" that has lines (or is outlined by cones) that you should stay inside.

c. The concept of "our goal" (the one our Goalie is in) and "their goal" (the one the other team's Goalie is in) and that when we have the ball we should go toward "their goal" (to "attack" it) and when the other team has the ball we should "defend" our goal by kicking the ball away from it. Demonstrate what this means in a slow and patient way and repeat it in several practices.

d. The concepts of "attacking" and "defending" and how we try to kick the ball into the other team's goal and how we try to kick it away from our goal.  The very basic idea of "positions" and that some players play in different areas of the field and don't just run all over the field (e.g., that there is a "Goalie", "Defenders" and "Scorers").


7. How to do a simple Throw-In if your team is expected to inbound the ball by using a Throw-In.


8. Start teaching your players to use the inside of the foot and the "instep" of the foot (i.e., the top of the foot where the shoelaces are) to kick the ball and discourage them from kicking it with their toes. Show your players how it is better to use the inside of the foot and the "laces" to kick the ball instead of using their toes; and encourage them to use the inside of the foot and the instep when they practice kicking and shooting. The natural tendency will be for beginners to use the toe to kick the ball. In soccer, the toe is only used to "poke" the ball (on defense as a way to "dispossess" the ball from the ballhandler or on offense as a way to take a short shot near goal). The toe is an inferior surface for kicking the ball because it is too small. It is easier to kick the ball accurately for long distances by using larger surfaces such as the top (instep) of the foot or the inside or outside of the foot. The instep can be used to kick both low "power" drives or for "lofted” drives.


9. Emphasize dribbling and kicking the ball. We recommend you avoid trying to teach passing, and instead let players dribble and try to score so they develop an attacker's mentality and aren't afraid to take on a defender 1v1. Be careful to NOT decrease aggressiveness by teaching players to "be nice" or to "share". A player can't be good at soccer unless they are aggressive. If you teach them to be un-aggressive, it is very difficult to change them back. Getting knocked down is part of playing soccer. Teach players that if they get knocked down, to bounce back up -- don't teach players to be timid or to be afraid of contact.