Young players will logically think if you get the ball down the middle it's the shortest way to goal because it is right there in front of them. The only trouble is that often every player is in that area of the pitch so the route to goal is barred. Instead, coach your kids to pass the ball out to the wings to make use of the whole pitch.
If your players are making the most of the whole pitch, they will stretch the defenders away from the centre.
One way of coaching this skill is to organise a soccer drill using six goals – three each end of your pitch – spread out along the end line. This means players can score in the corners of the pitch so play is not confined to the centre.
In the diagram, it is a 7v7 game but you can use any combination of numbers. You can make it easier to score by having a 4v4 making it hard to defend the goals. Players should be encouraged to knock the ball from side to side to create openings in the goals that are set up on the outside edges of the pitch.
How to set up the soccer drill
- Use the width of the 18 yard area and for length, the area between the half way line and the 18 yard area of a full size soccer pitch or half a 7-a-side pitch.
- Create three mini goals at each end of the playing area.
- The ball must be under control and at ground level when your players score.
Key soccer coaching tips
- Tell your players to concentrate on good accurate passing and good control in this drill.
- Get them to play the ball quickly to switch the play so they can attack any of the three goals.
- Tell them they should look to exploit the opposite side of the pitch with diagonal passes.