Your child discovered soccer. Your days are about to be filled with practices, games, crazy lingo like “nutmegs,” and lots of soccer balls in the house. Many parents love that their kid wants to play soccer. But others, know nothing about the sport.
As a parent, you want to support your child and help them grow. But how can you help your child train for soccer, if you never played it yourself?
We here at Blayze hear this question a lot and today we are going to list out some wonderful tips on how you can support and encourage your kid through their soccer journey.
Don’t Train Them
The most important lesson you should probably know is that you should NOT train your child. Especially if you know nothing about the sport. Soccer is a game with multiple parts, positions, and concepts. If you don’t know the sport, it might be best just to step away.
If you ask professional athletes if they train their kids, they usually say no. Professional athletes let their children become exposed to multiple sports until they find the one that fits them best.
Help Your Child Learn
Learn Basic Rules of Soccer
One of the greatest tools you can give your kid is to help them understand the basic rules of the game. Some of the rules may be different depending on the age and even the level of play. For example, in certain states, children under the age of 13 are not allowed to head the ball for safety reasons. So, make sure you are focusing on the basic concepts.
You do not need to force your child to memorize the entire rule book. Blayze has a wonderful blog here that covers eight of the basic rules that every soccer player should know. Like the standard, no hands!
Also, help them get familiar with all the positions on the field. Especially the ones they like to play the most!
Get Familiar With The Ball
Giving your kid permission to walk around with a soccer ball in the house is a great way to let your kid become familiar with the ball. You can even have a designated “house ball” so as not to track in dirt. Of course, you don’t have to let your kid kick the ball in the house. But, having the ball at their feet as much as possible helps to familiarize themselves with the feel of the ball.
Let your child kick the ball around outside as much as possible. They can kick the ball up against the wall, the garage, or a goalpost. Some parents invest money in rebounders while others have their kids kick off of curbs or side walls.
Play Pickup Games
Getting a group of friends together for pickup soccer in a fun environment – without the rules and structure of a team practice – is a great way to grow your soccer skills. The pickup games are not competitive and everyone usually has fun. Kids will slowly learn how to play against each other, they will learn from each other, and learn to be creative with the ball.
Free play, like pick up games, is essential to athletic development. Studies indicate that athletes who participate in unorganized pickup games, decrease the chances of injuries while playing their organized sport.
There are several benefits to watching higher-level soccer, like professional soccer. Your kid can learn to play soccer simply by imitating the pros! By watching professionals, your child can gain a better understanding of positions and movement on and off the ball.
Research indicates that you can improve your motor skills by watching others play. This is called nonconscious behavioral mimicry and it occurs when people unintentionally imitate other peoples’ behaviors.
Your kid’s soccer intelligence will increase. Soccer is very improvisational and the way you play depends on how your opponent is playing. Remind your child to watch how the professional players move, what they do to win a 1v1, and how they use their space.
Practice Basic Soccer Drills
If your kid wants to improve their soccer skills fast, then they should work on their individual skills at home as much as possible. The three skills they need to focus on are dribbling, passing, and shooting/kicking.
At Blayze, our coaches curate a list of drills designed specifically for your child. It addresses the skills they need to improve upon as well as helps increase their strengths. Below is a list of a few drills under each three main categories that are great for beginners.
Staggered Cone Dribble With Cuts - Both feet
If you have equipment available, place one marker about 5 yards away from you at an angle to your left and one marker about 10 yards away from you at an angle to your left. Start with a ball at your feet. Using one foot only, dribble the ball around the marker 5 yards away before turning and dribbling around the marker 10 yards away. Still using one foot, turn, and dribble back to the starting position. Switch feet and repeat.
10Yd Jog Dribble - Both feet
Place one marker about 10 yards away from you. Start with a ball at your foot. At a jogging pace, dribble the ball with one foot to the marker 10 yards away from you. Control the ball around the marker with one foot and return to the starting position on the dribble. Switch feet and repeat.
Triangle with Sole Role - Left & Right Foot
Set up your square of cones each 4-5 yards apart with a cone in the middle of the square. Follow the pattern shown in the video. Using only your left foot, dribble forward and around the cone before turning and dribbling at the middle cone. Use the left-footed Sole Roll technique to avoid the middle cone. Dribble to the cone behind it, turn, and repeat with the right foot.
5Yd Pass And Collect With Return - Both feet
Place two markers about 5 yards away from you and about 5 yards apart from each other. Start with a ball at your foot. Pass the ball forward about 5 yards with the instep of your foot. Immediately sprint forward and retrieve the ball before turning to dribble around the marker and back to the starting position. Switch the feet you pass the ball with and switch the marker you dribble around.
Instep Passing Technique (Fence Moving Ball) - Both feet
Find a fence or a surface that will return the ball back to you after a pass. Start with a ball at your feet. Using one foot, push the ball into a slow roll. Step forward and pass the ball with the instep of the same foot into the fence or wall. Collect the ball, switch feet, and repeat.
Laces Passing Technique (Fence Moving Ball) - Both Feet
Find a fence or a surface that will return the ball back to you after a pass. Start with a ball at your feet. Using one foot, push the ball into a slow roll. Step forward and pass the ball with the laces of the same foot into the fence or wall. Collect the ball, switch feet, and repeat.
Angled Roll to Shot Back Post - Right and Left foot
You will work on the accuracy of your instep striking/shooting ability. Focus on your footwork approaching the ball. Aim your plant foot at the far corner or back post of the goal. Follow through with both your hips and upper body as you strike/shoot the ball. This will generate a spin or curve on the ball. The purpose here is to become a deadly finisher from outside the 18 yd box.
Angled Roll to Shot Near Post - Right and Left foot
This drill helps with the accuracy of your instep striking/shooting ability. Focus on your footwork approaching the ball. Aim your plant foot at the near corner or near post of the goal. Follow through with both your hips and upper body as you strike/shoot the ball to generate a spin or curve on the ball. Another technique to become a deadly finisher from outside the 18 yd box.
Pass, Move, and Shoot - Right and Left foot
Here we want to work on the timing of your approach and the total body mechanics you use to shoot the ball accurately with one touch, into the far corner or back post. Focus on getting around the cone at speed. Use good footwork when approaching the ball and check your body orientation as you shoot and follow through with your whole body to generate spin/curve and power. All strikers and midfielders need to be able to shoot the ball with one touch.
Goalkeepers need to develop footwork skills, but also their agility skills. Keepers require other skills that field players do not. Goalies need to work on their quick reflexes and hand and eye coordination.
Blayze soccer coach and NWSL goalkeeper, Cassie Miller, compiled a list of 6 of the best drills to run to help you block any shot.
Check them out here: Soccer Goalkeeper Training – 6 Drills to Block Any Shot
It can be stressful watching your child try something new or struggle at something they want to do. But one of the best ways to help your child grow in soccer is to be a supportive parent. Enjoy every moment, as it will go by quickly.
Say things to your kid like “I love watching you play.” They will internalize it and it can help fuel their confidence. Ask them to teach you a trick or a move. Pass the ball with them or have a soccer juggling contest.
Another way to be supportive is to use positive behaviors around the soccer fields. Encourage your child and try not to talk badly about other players, the coaches, refs, or parents. Don’t yell negative things onto the field, be a positive fan of your child.
Try not to rush to the next level, next team, or next season. Be present and enjoy these moments. If you are not enjoying your present day, your kid will be done with soccer before you know it. You will have missed their enjoyment because you were too busy thinking about how much happier they would be when XYZ occurs.
Interacting With The Coach
Your child will have a soccer coach and it is not you. You may know your child best, but your soccer coach probably knows soccer better than you ever will. (Most of them do anyways!) Try not to treat the coach as your adversary.
If you speak negatively about the coach or are rude to the coach, how do you think your player will treat the coach? When you model positive behavior, your child will follow that. Besides, you and the coach want the same thing. And that is for your soccer player to be as successful as possible.
Sure you may disagree with the coach's pathway to success, maybe the coach is making awkward substitutions or you don’t like that your kid doesn’t play enough minutes. Instead of saying “what’s wrong with the coach?” Try thinking about “what’s good about this?” You may be able to learn something from the situation.
When you work with your child’s soccer coach and keep them informed, as well as respect their boundaries, you give your child the best chance at success.
Find a Private Coach
Your kid already has a team coach. They would probably prefer it if you did not try and privately train your child. Especially if you do not know the sport, how do you know what your player needs to improve upon? This is where a quality private coach can help.
Learn More With Blayze!
Blayze professional coaches know what it is like to work hard to achieve their dreams. They help youth athletes identify areas of improvement and develop a realistic plan on how to accomplish goals. Our athletes are learning more than skill development. They are learning life lessons of perseverance, overcoming hurdles, and the responsibility of managing their success.
Blayze coaches are current professional athletes. They know what the best in the world do because they are the best in the world.
Through training or game film analysis, our coaches can hone your gameplay skills. They customize coaching that drives performance where you need it most, in games.
With weekly custom training plans, Blayze coaches give you the individual drills you need to improve the skills you’re working on. These are drills that the pro players do themselves in and out of the season.
Through chat messages + live calls, your coach is there to support you through every moment.
Want to make the JV team but have no clue where to start? Your Blayze coach is there ready to help you set your mini goals that lead up to your main goal and hold you accountable.
Want to get a college scholarship? Your coach can help you with your highlight tape + give you everything you need.
All of this is available through our Blayze Membership program. Tap here to select your dedicated private pro coach at Blayze for one month for just $29!