At-Home Soccer Drills for Kids
As a soccer mom, you might be familiar with the next scene: a rambunctious child running around the house, dribbling a soccer ball from room to room and off the walls, narrating his movement like a sports commentator: “… And he passes another player … and he’s passing another one … he goes all the way … he’s unstoppable!” And then BAM! The ball hits the wall and bounces back onto the TV. “And he scores again!”
Just to be clear, a goal is considered to be any clean shot to a wall that makes a loud enough thud, and it’s followed by a Ronaldo celebration, or perhaps the dab.
During the COVID-19 lockdowns and their various stages of home isolation and social distancing, these scenes repeated themselves quite often in our house. Though the routine is usually accompanied by me yelling “Stop it!” and “Stop it right now!” I must confess that this tactic has yet to actually work against that habit.
So I gave it some more thought, did some Googling, and came up with a new game plan that can be summarized in three principles:
- You can’t stop it, so make the best of it.
- Apply restrictions to minimalize damage.
- Reroute the energy to more structured drills.
Reading some soccer coaching blogs, I discovered that some experts don’t consider it a bad habit at all, and actually encourage it. Turns out it is advised to disperse soccer balls all over the house when your kid is just a toddler so they can dribble them between the rooms and get used to having a ball at their feet at all times. After all, this is what Lionel Messi did when he was young, and look where it got him.
Having said that, if you want to keep the house in good order, there are a few important tips.
First, buy a small ball. There are cheap six-inch plastic balls in any toy store that will minimize the damage to your house and furniture. You can also deflate them a little bit, so they will make less damage.
Second, designate certain parts of the house where more damage can be done as off-limits to this game. Finally, try to divert the rampage to structured drills, which will not only protect your house but also develop your child’s soccer skills.
Pro tip: If you ask your children to make videos of themselves performing the soccer drills, it helps them focus and will keep them busy for somewhat longer, thus earning you more quiet time.
Down below is proof that these new tactics worked for me at least once. Here are my son’s recommended drills for kids practicing at home by themself.
And notice the shirt he’s wearing: this is one from my soccer art collection, inspired by the art in the Sean Wants To Be Messi books series.
Drills in the video
- Juggling—the basics.
- Ball mastery 1 & 2—leg to leg roll with the sole of your foot, then double touch and a roll.
- Kick—stop the ball with the sole of your foot, double tap; switch left and right.
- Jump over an obstacle.
- Forward roll with the ball between your knees.
Do each drill for one minute and repeat three times for maximum effect.