Coach, help players develop soccer skills not just soccer technique...

Soccer technique vs soccer skills?

Have you ever taught soccer skills and drills and they just did not transfer to the game? Frustrating isn't it?

The difference between skill and technique according to the "USSF" coaching schools is - technique is being able to perform with no pressure from an opponent.

  • The soccer players are working on a specific soccer moves or skills.
  • An example is dribbling or practicing 1 on 1 soccer moves with no defender.

Soccer skills allow a player to use soccer techniques under the pressure of an opponent. An example is dribbling or playing 1 on 1 soccer against a defender.

  • The defender now applies pressure and the attacking player must use the skill to beat the player.
  • Good 1v1 attacking players can beat players and unlock defenses, which will provide more scoring chances.

Why is this important for coaches to know?

The coach will eventually have to help the kids take techniques and learn to play under the pressure of an opponent.

This is the challenging part, so listed below are some of the soccer techniques that youth soccer players will need to master below.

What are the benefits of learning to dribble?

Teaching dribbling is one of my favorite topics. There is nothing like seeing a player beating defenders or dribbling out of trouble.

The 3 most important areas players must learn when dribbling are...

  • Building a foundation using the four parts of the foot.
  • Beating players with 1v1 moves.
  • How to add soccer turns to practice.

There is going to come a time in every soccer game or soccer practice when players will need to dribble on the soccer field to get out of trouble, beat a player or go to goal. Learn the 5 crucial 1v1 moves players should master to attack defenders 1v1, click here!

Can your kids complete an accurate pass?

When players have learned to dribble and beat players this opens up the game because it eliminates defenders.

Players that can pass well can eliminate defenders as well. The ball travels faster than any player can, so hitting a good pass is crucial.

Once the players have the basic technique down they will need to play small sided games to learn how to make decisions under pressure to learn when to pass the soccer ball.

Trapping the ball out of the air

Players with a good first touch who can control a bouncing ball quickly have a distinct advantage because they can take their eyes off the ball and look around to either dribble or pass.

The 3 most important surfaces when controlling the soccer ball with the are...

  • The foot, thigh and the chest.

It is important for kid soccer players to develop a great first touch with the sole, instep, outside and inside of the foot, thigh and chest.

There is nothing like seeing a player controlling the soccer ball out of the air with a great first touch, getting their heads up and finding a good pass or dribbling into space.

This is where practicing soccer skills will pay off...

Are your kids scared to head the soccer ball?

What is proper way to head a soccer ball, so that the young soccer players are not scared and don't hurt themselves?

  • How to use the forehead to strike the soccer ball.
  • Eyes open - mouth closed.
  • Bracing the neck.
  • How to attack the soccer ball.

Heading the soccer ball is not an easy skill to master so the kids need to learn the proper soccer technique when learning how to head the soccer ball.

How to teach kids to shoot?

Here are 3 areas where players can improve shooting technique. 

  • Plant foot
  • locking their ankle
  • Striking the ball with the laces

Learn more ways to hit good hard shots on the ground with the good shooting technique.

striking balls out of the air with volleys. Players love shooting games and challenges!!

Once the players get the feel for where to hit the ball and how to keep the ankle locked they will develop power.

The next striking skill that players should learn is the chipping the soccer ball.

Chipping can be useful in beating the goalkeeper and finding team mates down the soccer field.

Why teach kids to juggle?

Some coaches don't believe juggling is that important for young players to develop their game.

I guess the thinking is we have little soccer practice time and I don't want to waste it or they don't know how to teach juggling - it takes patience!

I believe juggling is important because the kids develop the following skills from learning to juggle the soccer ball...

  • Read the spin on the ball
  • Develop touch
  • Improve balance
  • Learn Concentration

An easy way to teach kids how to juggle is to compare it to their favorite video game.

Kids love small challenges and soccer juggling provides these challenges for the players, keeping them motivated!

What is the next step?

Demonstrating good technique is the most important thing a coach can teach a young soccer player. Remember, no technique no tactics.

  • Are you a beginning coach that has never played before?
  • Find someone to demo the soccer skills for the kids; a young select player, or a college player.
  • Paint a picture for the kids so they see what good technique looks like.
  • Play small sided games, so the players can experiment with the techniques they have learned against a live defender.

These skills will challenge the young soccer players to get better, which will provide motivation and a love of the game. 

Soccer skills will be built up over time as the young player learns to apply the skills to the game.

Enjoy your coaching! Please leave me feedback below regarding soccer skills - love to hear your comments.

Return to Coaching Kids Soccer from Soccer Skills.

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