Beginning Skills Session – Dribbling (Under 8)

Always recognize the skill level of your player as you try any of these training sessions. Be flexible, and start slowly and advance according to skills and how quckly te yare improving.

Warm-Up & Stretch

  • Split team into two groups and jog them out – hit heals, side-to-side, etc. Create training traditions!
  • At this age, they don’t really need it, but have them stretch, just to have them understand what it is
  1. Introduction to Dribbling
    • Explain dribbling. (Maybe use basketball as an example, showing them how to keep the body in between the ball and the player) Teach them what dribbling is not. It is not just kicking the ball and chasing. It is keeping the ball close to your feet so nobody can keep it away)
    • Have them all do a duck walk (angle feet outward out a bit) with ball close to their feet
    • In grid, line up kids about 2 -3 feet from each other. Each has a ball at their feet. Have them roll the ball forward with the sole of their feet and stop with toe, then roll it back so their heel is on the ball. Do about 5-10 times each foot. Have assistants help out with the players.
    • Have them the ball roll side to side with the sole of their foot, so their foot rolls completely over the ball. So the ball should move a bit but not a lot. First right foot, then left foot. About 10 times each foot.
    • Step on the ball with their toes and GENTLY roll it backward. They turn, and do the same thing the other way.
  2. More speed and movement
    • Do the same as above, but now have them move other end of the grid.
    • Like a duck but a bit faster
    • Roll the ball forward with the toe of their shoe side to side but forward
    • Have them stand sideways and roll the ball with their sole to the other end of the field. First right foot, and then left foot. (This may be difficult for them)
    • Try to have them roll the ball backwards across the field. ( Have them pretend the ball is chasing them)
  3. Traffic Game
    • Split up the team. Half goes to one line. The other lines up along the opposite line. All have a ball at their feet about 2 feet from from each other. (Have them pretty close to each other). Tell them each to pretend they are a car and are on the freeway.
    • On coach’s command , they all dribble to the opposite line and back to where they started without hitting another car. Tell them to honk if other cars on in their way, but mainly stress to look up and get out of the way of the other cars, but still get to the line and back as fast as they can. Have them all sit on their starting line when they finish. Make sure, if they fall down they get up quickly and keep going.
  4. Square dribbling
    • Have all the kids in the square dribbling. (The following are just a few ideas, be imaginative)
    • The coach will wander around the square and every so often will QUIETLY put his hand on his head. The kids have to look up to notice and when they do, they must stop dribbling, get down and put their head on the ball until everybody finishes. (Maybe have them yell "Goooooooal" when they put their head on the ball) Do around 3-5 times.
    • The coach then changes and puts his hand on his toe. The kids have to stop and put the foot on the ball and yell "Gooooooooal!"
    • The coach waves his hand in a circle and the kids have to stop the ball and run around it in a circle, or keep foot on ball and go in a circle around the ball (as if one foot is nailed to the ball)
    • Do a-c all separately but then, for a final challenge, ask the kids if they can look for three different things during the same time. The kids should dribble and then the coach either puts his hand on his head, toe or circles. But stick with the three you worked on at first.
  5. Game
    • Play 3 against 3 (3 v 3) but instead of goals, have the kids dribble across a 20-30 foot goal line for a goal.
    • For new players, introduce direction and be very clear on how to score a goal. Have both teams yell "Gooooooal" every time they dribble across the line. Be clear that they are not kicking across the line, but dribbling and putting their foot on the ball. Tell the players that the defensive team is trying to stop the attacking team from dribbling to the goal line and they can try to take it away. But also stress that they can not touch a player when the other team has got the ball to the goal line and has their foot on the ball. They must wait until the coach starts the game again in the middle and then it is their turn.
  6. End with big group huddle, just a few main points and give a cheer for the team.