Basic Skills Of Soccer

Updated: May 1


Watching the top players in the world dribble, pass and shoot are some of the skills that make soccer such an exciting sport. It’s no secret that making these basic soccer skills look so effortless takes years of practice countless amounts of repetition. With that all said, the big question becomes “where do you start”?


How does a player learn how to strike a 40-yard long ball or dribble past a defender? Getting from point A to point B is an important process and the person responsible for guiding that process is the coach. A lot of pressure can fall on the shoulders of a youth soccer coach as a positive first experience can often determine if a kid decides to continue playing the game for the rest of their life, or drops out after one season.


No matter what level of soccer you have played at, coaching the basic skills to a player who has never played the game or has little experience can be quite challenging. It’s quite common for a coach to realize that the cues and explanations that may have worked when they were first learning the skills, don’t necessarily work with everyone. A coach has to find a balance between demonstrations and using language that the kids understand. This helps give players the chance to develop competence and confidence which plays a crucial role in providing a positive first experience.


Thankfully, we put together some helpful cueing suggestions and skill videos to help you provide the best on-field experience for your players. But before diving into coaching these basic soccer skills, let’s make sure that your players can properly develop their skills without the barriers of using full-sized equipment.


Making adjustments to the equipment


Using the correct size equipment will not only help kids develop the required movement pattern within the sport, but it will also help give them the confidence and necessary competence to enjoy playing in a game situation. We recommend that when coaching kids who have little to no experience playing soccer, it’s best to use a size 3 soccer ball so players can practice shooting and passing the ball properly.


Another adjustment includes the size of the playing area. Canada Soccer recommends that the field is no bigger than 20 x 25 meters. We recommend playing smaller 1 vs 1 games within a larger playing area to help make sure all the kids on the team are getting the chance to develop their skills and fall in love with the game.


The final adjustment is the goal. The goal should be small enough so players can learn to score goals using different parts of their feet. With the younger age groups, we recommend using pug nets as they are easy to set up and transport. Having more than two goals is another great way to increase the number of repetitions the players get.


Now that we have sorted that out, let's get the kids practicing these skills!


 

Want some great drill ideas to practice these skills? Check out the Athlete Era Soccer app available on IOS and Android!


 


Must know soccer skills


Every sport has its core skills and soccer is no different. The basic skills we have highlighted are passing, shooting, dribbling, and controlling the ball. These simple skills are foundational to what makes the game so popular which makes teaching them correctly a crucial step in helping them build the technical confidence and the confidence to use these skills while playing the game. Lucky for you, we have broken down each of the skills with some important things to look for at your next practice!


Passing (inside of the foot)

Learning how to pass is one of the most important skills in soccer and is based on the concept that the more time your team has the ball, the harder it is for the other team to score. Before getting into possession-based games, go over a few of these key points with your players to help them properly pass the ball.


  1. Plant the non-kicking foot beside the ball pointing in the intended direction

  2. Put the arms out for balance, swing the kicking leg back

  3. Lock the ankle and angle the foot about 90 degrees

  4. Contact the middle of the ball with the inside of the foot, push through the ball

  5. Follow through towards the target using a short backswing




Shooting

Anyone who has played soccer knows that scoring goals is one of the most exciting parts of the game. There is a lot more to smashing the ball into the back of the net than meets the eye. Placing the ball into the corner can be another great way to score those stunning goals that wow everyone who is watching. Building a strong technical base will put any player well on their way to scoring those stunning goals. Here are some things to keep in mind when teaching different shooting techniques.


Driven shot


  1. Plant the non-kicking foot beside the ball pointing in the direction of the goal

  2. Swing the heel towards the buttock while keeping the chest over the ball

  3. Lock the ankle and create a fist with the foot by curling the toes

  4. Contact the middle of the ball with the top of the foot, right over the laces of the shoe

  5. Follow through towards the target with the toes of the kicking foot kept pointed down


Placed shot


  1. Plant the non-kicking foot beside the ball pointing in the direction of the goal

  2. Swing the kicking leg back bringing your heel up towards the sky while keeping your chest over the ball

  3. Lock the ankle and keep the toes pointed up on the downswing.

  4. Make contact on the outside of the ball with the inside of the foot

  5. Bring the kicking leg across the midline of the body on the follow-through




Dribbling

Dribbling at speed and attacking open space is something that gets spectators off their feet and is an exciting way to progress the ball up the field. But how do you make sure the ball is close enough to your feet so the defender can’t get it but far enough to run in full stride?

Here are some key points to remind your players


  1. Take a lookup to identify a dribbling path

  2. Use the instep of the foot (just below the laces) to make a feather-like contact with the ball

  3. Take a larger touch and accelerate to catch up with the ball

  4. Take a look for the next action after making contact with the ball

  5. To stop and change direction, slow down and take smaller feather-like touches to make it easier to one way or the other




Controlling the ball

One of the most impressive things to see in soccer is the control and manipulation of the ball. Whether it's in the air or on the ground, being able to control the ball well means there is more time for the next action. Here are tips that can help your players control the ball better


Inside


  1. Get your body in line with the path of the ball and keep your eyes on the ball

  2. Turn toes of the receiving foot out so that the arch faces the oncoming ball

  3. Extend the receiving foot slightly forward

  4. Make contact with the flat inside part of the foot and cushion the ball by bringing the leg back

  5. Adjust your body position and move onto the ball for the next action




Outside


  1. Get your body in line with the path of the ball and keep your eyes on the ball

  2. Turn the foot so the outside of the foot is facing the oncoming ball

  3. Extend the receiving foot slightly forward

  4. Point the little toe down so the outer edge makes contact with the ball and cushion it by bringing the leg back

  5. Adjust your body position and move onto the ball for the next action




 

Want some great drill ideas to practice these skills? Check out the Athlete Era Soccer app available on IOS and Android!


 

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