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Need help with youth soccer player development.

Posted on 4/24/24 at 1:05 pm
Posted by PillageUrVillage
Member since Mar 2011
14841 posts
Posted on 4/24/24 at 1:05 pm
My son finished up his first season of competitive soccer and we are going into the offseason. I am looking for some drills to do at home with him that can really help with his technical skills, ball control, speed, and agility. He's 10 years old, so I'm not trying to do anything too strenuous or demanding. But in his own words, he is "very motivated to get better."

His speed is pretty average for a kid his age. His agility is probably a little above average. But his coach mentioned that he needs to work on his technical skills and utilizing his non dominant foot. He struggles a little bit during 1v1's and loses possession a little too easily.

I've been going down the youtube rabbit hole and also searching some different websites but I figured I'd also ask you guys. I played youth soccer from about his age till high school and I try to teach him what I can remember. But that was a long time ago. We have a decent sized backyard, access to fields, cones, balls, etc. Any other advice is greatly appreciated.
Posted by Wait For It...
Member since Jun 2012
3502 posts
Posted on 4/24/24 at 9:04 pm to
Hard to go wrong if the ball is at his feet. Every extra hour he puts in will show. I'd also say to make sure there are fun and challenging elements; that will help keep his drive going.

I remember when my son was around that age he would be constantly challenging me to 1v1s in the backyard. At first I had to find a balance of not going to easy or hard on him, but a few years later now he can beat me pretty often.

We also play "horse" a good bit. My shots would typically be things I knew he needed to work on but he has no idea (calling a shot with your non-dominant foot). If you don't have a goal at home, the game could change to who's pass makes it closer to a target object. Again, a few years later he's taking and making the free kicks for his team.

Those are the ones I remember because they were fun and also I think helped his game.
Posted by PillageUrVillage
Member since Mar 2011
14841 posts
Posted on 4/25/24 at 8:59 am to
Good advice. Thanks!

That was kinda my plan was to just keep him doing something. I've read up on tons of different drills to do with different cone setups. I will try to keep it simple and just focus on his dribbling, changing directions and exploding past defenders, etc. One thing I've been trying to coach into him during the season is his aggressiveness. I need to try to find a way to get him more aggressive and using his body for position, leaning into defenders, stuff like that.

We do have a small goal in the backyard. It's 6' H x 12' W, so he's staring to outgrow it. I've been thinking about getting him one of those Open Goals in the large size (7' H x 16' W). Does anyone have one, and if so how do they hold up?

I will try playing some of those games like horse with him. I appreciate the suggestion. If anyone has any other suggestions I welcome them!
Posted by CootKilla
In a beer can/All dog's nightmares
Member since Jul 2007
5926 posts
Posted on 4/26/24 at 9:21 am to
You don't remember all of the drills I coached you 20 years ago?

Leroy (lilcootkilla) has been having one of the goals from Academy for about 6 years. It is finally starting to rust a little on the bottom. Definitely got our money's worth. Academy soccer goal

Have him stand about 3 feet from a wall and pass it against the wall with both feet. He can start out with 2 touches but he should get to the point of only needing 1 touch. This will also build up stamina. kinda like this emoji

Also instead of having him just dribble around cones, set up something vertical where he has to maneuver his body around the object. They sell those sticks or you can make your own for a lot cheaper. I made some obstacles out of pvc pipe that I used for my youth teams. Made some horse shoe shaped and would make them pass the ball through and go around to simulate a nutmeg.

At that age, the best is to get as many touches on the ball as possible. I am sure you being out there with him will further his passion for the sport.
Posted by PillageUrVillage
Member since Mar 2011
14841 posts
Posted on 4/26/24 at 11:09 am to


Shoot, sometimes I forget that's you!


You don't remember all of the drills I coached you 20 years ago?

Man, I'm really trying. But I can barely remember last week sometimes.

Good advice! I do remember passing the ball up against the wall a lot as a kid. And I'll definitely look into some vertical obstacles. He definitely needs to improve his body positioning, so that should help. I'll try to be one of those obstacles as often as possible.

Being that the season just ended I told him we would take a couple of weeks off to give him a break. So I will start working with him here in about a week. I need to clean up his running form a little bit. Throw in some suicides to help his speed, and maybe some box jumps to help strengthen his legs.


I am sure you being out there with him will further his passion for the sport.

It should be some good father and son bonding. I just don't want to overwork him and have him lose interest or resent me. So I'll have to use some good judgement. Especially as the summer gets hotter.
Posted by Gaston
Dirty Coast
Member since Aug 2008
39159 posts
Posted on 5/2/24 at 8:32 pm to


Overrated at that age, IMO. Settling balls quickly, looking up while dribbling, making accurate passes, and forcing play in one direction…is what I would work on. At 10 you can still chip goals in, but I’d work him driving balls too.

Good times though. 10-13/14 are great soccer ages.
Posted by Sheep
Neither here nor there
Member since Jun 2007
19555 posts
Posted on 5/7/24 at 5:02 pm to
Ball mastery and wall passing / first touch.

There's a million YT videos for each. If he spends the entire summer doing that, he'll be confident with the ball at his feet, and able to pick his head up and see the rest of the game.
Posted by AU_RX
City of St George
Member since May 2005
4261 posts
Posted on 5/7/24 at 6:01 pm to
Rule #1.

Pass to the Italians
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