Soccer Coaching Tips for 5 Year Olds Kids

  • By: Dale Horton
  • Time to read: 17 min.
Dale Horton
Dale Horton, the driving force behind Crossfire United ECNL, is a seasoned leader in youth soccer development. With a wealth of coaching experience and a passion for nurturing talent, Dale founded Crossfire United ECNL to create a soccer environment that goes beyond the pitch. His vision extends beyond victories, focusing on character development, leadership, and fostering a love for the beautiful game.

At 5 years of age, kids begin to develop coordination skills and can follow some instructions. While attention spans at this age may be limited, soccer coaches can start to introduce kids to the fundamentals. The key is to work on the basic skills, keep things simple, and provide positive feedback.

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Key Takeaways:

  • Coaching 5-year-olds in soccer requires patience and a positive attitude.
  • Keep things simple and focus on developing basic skills.
  • Engage young players in fun and age-appropriate soccer drills.
  • Provide positive feedback to encourage and motivate young players.
  • Make soccer activities for 5-year-olds enjoyable and engaging.

Importance of Starting Young

Starting soccer at a young age is crucial for developing fundamental motor skills and building a strong foundation for soccer journeys. It is during these early years that players begin to learn and master essential skills such as dribbling, passing, and shooting.

By starting soccer at a younger age, players have more time to practice and refine these skills, which are the building blocks of becoming a well-rounded player. Getting players comfortable with the ball at their feet is an achievement in itself and sets the stage for their soccer development.

Each player needs to be able to dribble, pass, and shoot proficiently.

Starting young allows players to develop a deeper understanding of the game and become more comfortable with the ball. This comfort and familiarity with the ball lead to improved control, technique, and decision-making on the field. It also helps players develop spatial awareness and the ability to react quickly in different game situations.

Soccer is a dynamic sport that requires coordination, agility, and balance – all of which can be honed by starting young and engaging in regular practice. By instilling these fundamental motor skills from an early age, players are better equipped to handle the physical demands of the game and perform at their best.

Furthermore, starting young gives players the opportunity to build a solid foundation for their soccer journeys. Whether they choose to pursue a career in soccer or play recreationally, the skills and techniques learned at a young age will serve them well throughout their soccer endeavors.

Benefits of Starting Young:

  • Develop fundamental motor skills
  • Become comfortable with the ball
  • Build a strong foundation for soccer journeys
  • Improve coordination, agility, and balance
  • Enhance control, technique, and decision-making

Starting soccer at a young age not only brings numerous benefits but also introduces players to a sport that can bring them joy, health, and lifelong friendships. It lays the groundwork for their soccer development, helping them become confident, skilled, and passionate players.

Soccer Equipment for 5 Year Olds

Coaching soccer to 5 year olds requires the right equipment to ensure a fun and engaging experience. Here are the essential items you’ll need:

1. Size 3 Ball

A size 3 ball is perfect for young players as it is smaller and easier to control. The smaller size allows them to gain confidence with their footwork and develop their ball-handling skills.

2. Cleats or Athletic Shoes

It’s important for players to wear appropriate footwear during soccer training. Cleats or athletic shoes with good traction are recommended to provide stability and prevent slips on the grassy field.

3. Cones

Cones are versatile tools that can be used for various drills and markers. They help players develop agility, speed, and coordination. Set up cones in different patterns to create a fun and challenging obstacle course.

4. Small Goals or Cones as Substitutes

Setting up small goals gives young players a sense of accomplishment when they score. If small goals are not available, cones can be used as substitutes. The aim is to give them a target to shoot at and improve their accuracy.

5. Large Grassy Area

A large grassy area provides ample space for players to practice their dribbling, passing, and shooting skills. Find a suitable field or area where the kids can run freely and explore the game.

With these soccer equipment essentials, you’ll be well-prepared to introduce 5 year olds to the exciting world of soccer. Now, let’s move on to some fun and effective soccer drills!

Toe-tap Drill

The toe-tap drill is an excellent exercise for improving ball control and developing comfort on the ball. By practicing this drill, players can keep the ball close to their feet and enhance their ability to maneuver it effectively.

To perform the toe-tap drill, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, and place the ball in front of you. Begin by tapping the top of the ball lightly with the sole of your right foot, then quickly switch to tapping with the sole of your left foot. Continue alternating between your right and left foot, maintaining a consistent rhythm.

This drill can also be modified to add variations and challenge your ball control skills. One option is to incorporate hopping as you tap the ball with each foot, adding an extra element of coordination. Another option is to move forward or backward while performing the drill, allowing you to work on your balance and agility.

By regularly practicing the toe-tap drill, you can improve your ball control, keep the ball close to your feet, and develop comfort on the ball. Incorporate this drill into your training routine and watch as your skills on the field flourish.

Benefits of the Toe-tap Drill:

  • Enhances ball control
  • Strengthens comfort on the ball
  • Improves coordination and footwork
  • Builds agility and balance
  • Helps develop quick feet

Give the toe-tap drill a try and experience the positive impact it can have on your soccer skills.

Toe-tap DrillKey Point
ExerciseImproving ball control and comfort on the ball
InstructionsTap the top of the ball with the sole of each foot alternately
ModificationsAdd hopping or forward/backward movement
BenefitsEnhances ball control, strengthens comfort on the ball, improves coordination and footwork, builds agility and balance, helps develop quick feet

Inside-Outside Drill

Now that your young players have started developing their basic skills, it’s time to introduce them to a more advanced drill that will help them gain momentum and get past opponents on the field. The inside-outside drill is a great way to teach players how to use different parts of their foot effectively.

The inside-outside drill involves moving the ball back and forth with the inside and outside of their feet. By practicing this drill, players will become comfortable using the outside of their foot, which is crucial for gaining speed and changing direction quickly. This skill is essential when trying to get past opponents during a game.

Start by having your players stand with the ball between their feet. They should then alternate tapping the ball with the inside and outside of their feet, gradually increasing the speed of their touches. Encourage them to experiment with the strength of each touch, controlling the ball effectively.

This drill not only helps players improve their ball control but also enables them to gain the momentum needed to get past opponents. As they become more proficient, they will be able to execute quick changes of direction, leaving defenders behind.

Benefits of the Inside-Outside Drill

  • Develops foot coordination and balance
  • Enhances ball control and touch on the ball
  • Improves speed and agility on the field
  • Teaches players to use different parts of their foot effectively

By incorporating the inside-outside drill into your training sessions, you are setting your young players up for success. As they practice using different parts of their foot, they will gain the skills necessary to maneuver past opponents and create scoring opportunities. This drill is an important step in their soccer development journey.

Continue reading to discover another essential drill that will improve your players’ dribbling skills and make them more confident on the field.

Dribbling Drill

Dribbling is an essential skill for any player. It allows you to maintain control of the ball while maneuvering around opponents and creating scoring opportunities. Some of the greatest soccer players, such as Messi, Neymar, and Cristiano Ronaldo, are known for their exceptional dribbling skills, which have made them unstoppable on the field.

To improve your dribbling skills, it’s important to practice specific drills that focus on control, agility, and stopping on command. One effective dribbling drill involves dribbling the ball from one cone to another. Set up two cones approximately 10 to 15 yards apart. Start at one cone and dribble the ball using both feet, moving quickly but maintaining control. Once you reach the other cone, stop the ball on command using your foot or sole.

Remember to keep your head up while dribbling to improve your awareness on the field. This will allow you to see your teammates’ positions, make better decisions, and avoid losing possession of the ball. As you become more comfortable with the drill, challenge yourself by increasing the speed and complexity of your dribbling movements.

Tips for Success:

  • Practice dribbling with both feet to improve your versatility.
  • Use different parts of your feet, such as the inside and outside, for better control of the ball.
  • Focus on keeping the ball close to your feet to minimize the chances of it being stolen by opponents.
  • Add variations to the drill, such as changing direction or incorporating obstacles, to further challenge yourself.
  • Remember to have fun and enjoy the process of improving your dribbling skills!

“Dribbling is like driving a car. It’s all about having control, being aware of your surroundings, and making quick decisions.” – Lionel Messi

Benefits of the Dribbling DrillHow It Helps
Improves ball controlDribbling in tight spaces and maneuvering through cones enhances your ability to keep the ball under control even under pressure.
Enhances agility and speedThe quick movements required in dribbling drills challenge your agility and help you develop speed on the field.
Develops spatial awarenessBy keeping your head up while dribbling, you become more aware of your surroundings, enabling you to make better decisions and find open teammates.
Boosts confidenceMastering dribbling skills builds your confidence on the field, allowing you to take on opponents and create scoring opportunities.

Trap and Pass Drill

The trap and pass drill is an essential exercise for improving your receiving skills, controlling the ball, and enhancing your passing accuracy. This drill focuses on the teamwork between players and enhances their ability to maintain possession.

The drill begins with one player passing the ball to a teammate. The receiving player’s objective is to effectively trap the incoming pass, bringing the ball under control before passing it back. This drill helps develop proficiency in receiving passes and maintaining ball possession.

To add variation and challenge, you can incorporate specific restrictions on touches. For example, players may be limited to using only one touch or using different parts of their foot to control the ball. This variation helps players enhance their ball control skills and adapt to different game scenarios.

Here’s an example of how the trap and pass drill can be modified with a restriction on touches:

1A Player passes the ball to B Player
2B Player traps the ball and passes it back to A Player using only one touch
3A Player repeats Step 1
4B Player traps and passes using only one touch, alternating with different parts of their foot (inside, outside, or laces)

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By incorporating variations and restrictions into the trap and pass drill, players can enhance their receiving skills, ball control, and passing accuracy. This exercise is crucial for building a strong foundation in soccer and honing the skills necessary for successful team play.

Shooting Drill

The shooting drill is a crucial exercise that assists players in honing their shooting accuracy and replicating game-like speed. In this drill, players begin at a designated cone and receive a pass, followed by an attempt to score a goal using just one or two touches. This drill not only enhances shooting skills, but also teaches players how to find space and make quick decisions under pressure.

Create a Challenging Shooting Drill:

Objective: To improve shooting accuracy, game-like speed, and the ability to find space.

  1. Set up a goal or target at a suitable distance from the cone where the players start.
  2. Position yourself or another player as the passer.
  3. The passer delivers a pass to the player at the cone.
  4. The receiving player takes one or two touches to get the ball under control and quickly shoots to score a goal or hit the target.
  5. Encourage players to focus on shooting accuracy by aiming for specific areas of the goal or target.
  6. Vary the difficulty of the drill by adding restrictions on touches or specifying shooting areas.

By incorporating these variations, players will improve their shooting technique, decision-making abilities, and overall game performance.

Remember, the shooting drill is not only about scoring goals but also about accuracy and executing at game-like speed. Emphasize finding space and making quick decisions to replicate real match situations.

By regularly practicing the shooting drill, players will develop the necessary skills to consistently score goals and contribute to their team’s success. It is essential to create a challenging yet supportive learning environment, providing constructive feedback and encouraging players to push their limits.

Key BenefitsKey Skills Developed
Improves shooting accuracyShooting technique
Replicates game-like speedDecision-making under pressure
Enhances ability to find spaceQuick thinking

Putting It All Together

Once players have become comfortable with the basic skills, it’s time to take their soccer development to the next level by combining their skills in creative and fun ways. By introducing variation and applying learned skills in different scenarios, players can further enhance their gameplay and enjoy the process.

Encouraging players to explore their creativity is key. They can experiment with different moves, combining dribbling techniques, passing strategies, and shooting skills to create their own unique style on the field. This not only improves their individual gameplay but also adds excitement and unpredictability to their team’s overall performance.

One way to foster creativity is to provide players with varied challenges and scenarios to apply their skills. For example, you can set up small-sided games with specific rules that encourage players to think outside the box. This could include playing with only their non-dominant foot or using specific techniques to maneuver past opponents. These game-like situations not only reinforce the fundamentals but also prompt players to think critically and adapt their skills to different contexts.

“Creativity is the key to unlocking a player’s full potential. By combining skills in new and unexpected ways, players can surprise opponents, create scoring opportunities, and showcase their individuality on the field.” – Coach Alex Hernandez

Variation is also crucial in practice sessions. By introducing different drills, exercises, and game-based activities, you keep players engaged and motivated. This helps avoid monotony and allows players to continuously challenge themselves. For example, you can create small-sided games that focus on specific skills, such as passing accuracy or close ball control. You can also implement obstacle courses or relay races to further enhance agility and decision-making abilities.

Benefits of Combining Skills and Applying Variation:

  • Enhanced problem-solving skills as players adapt their skills to different game situations.
  • Improved creativity and confidence as players develop their own unique style of play.
  • Strengthened teamwork and communication as players learn to collaborate and rely on each other’s combined skills.
  • Greater adaptability on the field, enabling players to respond effectively to changing game conditions.
  • Heightened enjoyment and engagement as players experience the freedom to express themselves and have fun.

Remember, the goal is to create a positive and enjoyable learning environment where players can thrive. By combining skills, embracing creativity, and providing variation, you can nurture their love for the game and help them reach their full potential.

Tips for Coaching 5 Year Olds

Coaching 5 year olds in soccer requires a combination of patience, a positive attitude, and a willingness to be silly. At this age, children are just beginning to grasp the fundamentals of the game, and they need coaches who can guide them with care and understanding. Here are some tips to help you create a positive and enjoyable coaching experience for these young players:

  1. Be patient: Understand that 5 year olds have limited attention spans and may struggle to grasp concepts quickly. Give them time and repetition to learn and improve.
  2. Maintain a positive attitude: Encourage and motivate your players with positivity and praise. Celebrate their efforts, even if they make mistakes. This will boost their confidence and keep them engaged.
  3. Embrace silliness: 5 year olds respond well to fun and silly activities. Incorporate playful exercises and games into your coaching sessions to keep the atmosphere light-hearted and enjoyable.
  4. Listen to parents: Parents play a crucial role in a child’s development, so it’s essential to listen to their input and address their concerns. Involve them in the coaching process and communicate regularly to ensure a collaborative approach.
  5. Keep practices fun: Design drills and activities that are age-appropriate, exciting, and interactive. Focus on creating an environment where players can enjoy the game while learning and developing their skills.

“Coaching young children is about creating a safe and nurturing space for them to discover and fall in love with the sport.”

Remember, coaching 5 year olds is not just about teaching soccer skills, but also about instilling a love for the game and fostering social and emotional growth. Your role as a coach goes beyond the field, impacting their overall development. Approach each session with enthusiasm, empathy, and a genuine passion for helping these young players thrive.

Tips for Coaching 5 Year Olds
Be patient
Maintain a positive attitude
Embrace silliness
Listen to parents
Keep practices fun

Recommended Practice Structure

When it comes to coaching 5 year olds, having a well-structured practice is essential for their development. Here is a recommended practice structure that encompasses introducing soccer concepts, promoting social skills, having fun, and involving parents.

Practice Frequency and Duration

It is recommended to hold practices once a week for 30 minutes. This duration allows young players to stay engaged and maintain focus throughout the session.

Warm-up and Introduction to Soccer Concepts

Start the practice with a warm-up to prepare the players physically and mentally. This can include light jogging, stretching exercises, and basic ball control drills. Take this time to introduce and reinforce key soccer concepts such as dribbling, passing, and shooting.

Cooperative and Competitive Play

Engage the players in a combination of cooperative and competitive activities to teach and test their learned skills. This can include small-sided games, drills focused on specific techniques, and mini-competitions. Encourage teamwork, communication, and healthy competition among the players.

“Soccer is a team sport, and developing good social skills is just as important as mastering technical abilities.”

Halftime Break for Water and Compliments

At the halfway point of the practice, take a short break for the players to hydrate and recharge. This is also an excellent opportunity to provide compliments and positive feedback to boost their confidence and motivation.

Cool-down and Homework Assignment

End the practice with a cool-down period that includes light stretching exercises. Before dismissing the players, give them a homework assignment to practice their skills at home. This can be as simple as dribbling through cones or passing against a wall. Encourage parents to participate and support their child’s practice sessions.

Implementing this recommended practice structure will not only help young players develop their soccer skills but also foster social interactions and create a fun and engaging environment. Remember, parent involvement and support are crucial in the development of young athletes, so encourage them to participate and be a part of their child’s soccer journey.


Coaching soccer for 5-year-olds can be a truly rewarding experience. By starting at a young age and focusing on the fundamentals, you can help these young players develop their skills and foster a love for the game. It is crucial to keep things simple, positive, and fun in order to provide the best learning experience.

Effective techniques for coaching 5-year-olds involve breaking down soccer skills into manageable steps and providing clear instructions. By introducing age-appropriate drills and activities, you can create a fun learning environment that engages their curiosity and encourages active participation.

Developing skills in these young players requires patience and a positive coaching strategy. Offering praise and constructive feedback will help them build confidence and motivate them to continue learning and improving. Remember to nurture their creativity and allow them to express themselves on the field.

Overall, positive coaching strategies, combined with effective techniques and a fun learning atmosphere, are key to fostering the development of soccer skills in 5-year-olds. By laying a strong foundation and instilling a passion for the game, you can set these young players up for a lifetime of enjoyment and success in soccer.


How do I coach soccer to 5-year-olds?

Coaching soccer to 5-year-olds requires patience, a positive attitude, and a willingness to be silly. Keep things simple, focus on the basics, and provide positive feedback. Engage the kids in fun and age-appropriate drills and activities.

What equipment do I need for coaching 5-year-olds in soccer?

You will need a size 3 ball, cleats or athletic shoes, cones for drills and markers, small goals (or cones as substitutes), and a large grassy area to practice.

What is the toe-tap drill and how does it help?

The toe-tap drill involves tapping the top of the ball with the sole of the feet, alternating between left and right foot. This helps improve ball control and getting comfortable with the ball.

What is the inside-outside drill and how does it benefit young soccer players?

The inside-outside drill involves moving the ball back and forth with the inside and outside of the feet. It helps players gain momentum, use different parts of the foot, and get past opponents.

How can I improve dribbling skills in 5-year-olds?

Encourage 5-year-olds to practice dribbling the ball from one cone to another, focusing on control and stopping on command. Remind them to keep their head up for better awareness on the field.

What is the trap and pass drill and how does it help in soccer coaching?

The trap and pass drill focuses on receiving a pass and controlling the ball before passing it back. It helps develop passing accuracy and the ability to control the ball in different situations.

How can I help 5-year-olds improve their shooting skills?

Use a shooting drill that involves receiving a pass and attempting to score a goal using one or two touches. Emphasize shooting accuracy and provide game-like scenarios to practice in.

How can I put all the skills together for 5-year-olds?

Encourage creativity and provide variation in drills and activities to allow players to combine different skills and develop their own moves and styles. Make the practice sessions engaging and fun.

What are some tips for coaching 5-year-olds in soccer?

Coaching 5-year-olds requires patience, a positive attitude, and a willingness to be silly. Listen to parents and involve them in the process. Keep practices fun and engaging to ensure the children’s enjoyment and development.

What is the recommended practice structure for coaching 5-year-olds in soccer?

Hold practice once a week for 30 minutes. Begin with a warm-up and introduction to soccer concepts. Engage in cooperative and competitive play to teach and test learned skills. Have a halftime break for water and compliments. End with a cool-down and give the team a homework assignment to practice skills at home.

What are the benefits of starting soccer at a young age?

Starting soccer at a young age helps develop fundamental motor skills and allows players to become comfortable with the ball. It builds a foundation for their soccer journey and helps them become well-rounded players.

How can I make soccer coaching fun and engaging for 5-year-olds?

Use age-appropriate drills and activities that are fun and exciting for 5-year-olds. Encourage creativity, provide variation, and keep the practice sessions lively and active.

What is the importance of positive coaching strategies when coaching 5-year-olds?

Positive coaching strategies help create a supportive and encouraging environment for 5-year-olds. This boosts their confidence, motivation, and enjoyment of the game, enhancing their learning and development.