Start your soccer coaching sessions with a 10-minute keepy-uppies drill – its a really fun way to get ball and body in tune with each other.
Getting your players to keep the ball in the air with any part of the body (except the hands) is great fun – it adds a bit of competition as well. Everybody wants to be the one who keeps the ball in the air the longest.
The advantage of this warm-up soccer drill is that your team will be practising all sorts of skills they'll need on the soccer pitch during matches.
What you are doing is getting your players to control the ball in a way that is not you, the coach, telling them to do this or do that, they are working out for themselves how to keep the ball under control.
And no doubt all your players will have seen the YouTube clips of Ronaldinho or Ronaldo keeping the ball in the air with the foot, shoulder, neck – well every part of the body. So it is a skill all young soccer players will be keen to master.
Set the record for a keepy-uppy drill
At the beginning of your soccer training sessions, get two or three early arrivals in a circle and ask them to set their record for keeping the ball in the air and then beat it. As the rest of the team turns up they can join in.
Play the drill so that each player can have as many 'kicks' as he likes as long as the ball doesn't hit the floor, but it only counts once until another player takes it on.
Try the soccer drill and see how many you can do.
Tell your players to start on the thighs. A larger surface is easier than smaller body parts.
Then get them to move to the feet – once players get a feel for the activity, this is the next logical move. A player can alternate thighs and feet or juggle with one thigh or foot at a time.
Encourage your players to try the head. Remind the players to keep the ball on the forehead (at the hairline) and to keep the eyes wide open.
Be aware of posture in the drill. Keeping an upright posture, with a slightly bent plant leg, arms at the sides or out to the sides, will help maintain balance and keep the ball in play.
Be patient. Children need practice to get beyond one or two juggles, but with patience and practice, they can juggle indefinitely.
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