Coming up with soccer drills for U6 athletes is challenging but rewarding.
You’ll be surprised how much these kids can learn and how energetic they can be when you put a soccer ball in front of them.
It’s important that you’re patient and you help the kids grow a love for the game at this level. As a result, drills should be simple, basic, and focused on a specific skill.
Here are eight U6 soccer drills you can use to inspire, educate, and help your players progress.
8 Fun U6 Soccer Drills
The best 6U soccer drills will focus on individual skills that keep them engaged. The goal is to have them spend as little time standing in line or waiting for a drill to begin.
Expect kids under six to learn by doing, not by listening. Don’t expect them to listen for long and allow them to learn by making mistakes.
Here are eight drills that embrace these principles.
1. Space Wars
Set up two teams on each side of the playing area. Every player gets a ball and the goal is to knock the opposing player's ball out of the zone while ensuring their ball stays in the zone.
As soon as the player's ball leaves the grid, they’re out.
The goal of this drill is to teach the young athletes about power and control.
They need to realize that they must pass the ball with enough power to knock the opposing player’s ball out but not too much or they’ll lose control of their own ball.
2. King of the Ring
This drill is a modification of the Space Wars but in this one, all but one player has a ball.
Put a different colored pennie or jersey on the player that doesn’t have the ball and label them the defender.
The attackers have to dribble around a playing area indicated by training cones while the defender is trying to come up on them, steal the ball, and kick it out of the playing area.
When a player loses the ball outside of the playing area, they need to dribble around the zone one time before they can re-enter.
The purpose of this drill is to teach players to keep their eyes up so they can see incoming defenders. They need to shield the ball, keep it close to their body, and control it as they dribble away.
3. Matching Pairs
This is a dribbling and passing drill that involves breaking your team into two equal groups with two goalkeepers.
We recommend having a youth soccer rebounder to prevent the ball from going out of the field and wasting playing time!
You should have two equal teams each wearing a different colored pennie. You want to pair an attacker and defender against each other at different areas around the field.
The goal is for the attacker to escape the defender and pass the ball to the next player in line. Then, the next attacker needs to evade and pass to the next athlete, so on, and so forth until they’ve reached the end and can score a goal.
Repeat the process for the other team.
This drill is more aggressive and designed for higher level youth athletes so save this for the players you think can handle it.
The goal is to teach your players how to avoid a defender and make an accurate touch pass. Then, you want to teach the players to receive a pass, make one touch, and then evade and make another pass.
These soccer drills for U6 players will teach your athletes to perform under pressure and react according to what is happening.
4. 1v1 to Goal
Set this drill up with a goalkeeper, a defender, and the rest of your players lined up as attackers. To prevent too many athletes from standing around, you could set up multiple attackers and defenders if needed.
Set up a smaller area where the attackers need to dribble through and coach the defender to try and steal the ball before they drive to the goal and score.
The attacker's job is to beat the defender and take an accurate shot on the goal.
Once the attacker takes a shot, they become the defender, the defender becomes the goalie, and the goalie rotates to the back of the attacking line.
This is an offensive focused drill designed to teach the players to beat a defender while dribbling through a small area.
The athletes need to understand that they can’t always run all the way around so they need to stay in control of the ball, think quickly, and take a shot on the goal when the opportunity comes.
5. 1, 2, 3 Dribble
Simple U6 soccer drills are better for beginner players and this is a great way to introduce newbies to basic dribbling fundamentals.
Set up four cones in the middle of the playing area creating three zones for players to dribble through.
Separate the group into two sides and have them dribble around their side.
When you blow the whistle, every player needs to dribble through the first zone which will put them on the opposite side they were when they started.
Then coach them to start dribbling again. Blow the whistle again and have them pass through the second zone this time. Repeat the process for the third zone.
The point of this basic drill is to teach youth soccer players to keep their eyes up so they can avoid hitting other players' balls. They need to keep the ball tight to their body, dribble carefully, and maintain control.
This drill is also great for kids under six because it’s non-competitive so no one gets upset or feels that they’re not doing a good job.
6. Clean the Room
Split the field into two sections indicated by cones and spread 10-12 soccer balls across the middle of the field.
On the whistle, players are instructed to clear as many balls as they can into the opposing teams zone.
Each team will continue trying to kick the balls back into the other zone trying to keep the number of balls in their zone as low as possible.
Have a predetermined amount of time to play such as five minutes and the team with the most balls in their zone at the end of the time loses.
Fun U6 soccer drills like this one get teams working together but it also teaches athletes to play with a sense of urgency.
This is a great warm up drill for any age group and soccer games that help engage 5 year-olds, 6-year-olds, and young players of all ages.
They need to run quickly, react to the ball coming towards them, and quickly clear it out so they can move onto the next one. Be sure to separate teams evenly based on skill level.
7. Fill the Bucket
Set up two teams with three players and create a “bucket” in the middle of the field indicated by cones.
Have two players on one side and one on the other side of the bucket. There should be three soccer balls at each side where the players are.
The side with two players begins the drill with one of them dribbling towards the bucket, leaving the ball in the bucket, and then running to the opposite side before the next player begins dribbling their ball towards the bucket.
The process is repeated until all the balls are in the bucket.
Footwork and ball control is the main goal here because if the player loses control of the ball it will go outside the bucket and they’ll have to retrieve it. This will waste time and force the other players to have to catch up.
This is a great U6 soccer drill to get the athletes working together towards a shared goal. It has a relay race emphasis with a focus on maintaining control and keeping the ball close.
8. Team Tag
Split your team into two groups, one with balls, one without. The goal is for the players with balls to kick and hit the other players with the soccer ball.
When they hit someone, they get a point, if they miss, they lose a point. The players who do not have the soccer balls are trying to avoid getting hit.
At the end of two minutes, tally up the points and see who won. Switch sides and coach the players towards getting more points this time.
The point of this drill is to teach players effective passing through fun non-instructional drills. It teaches them that they need to use the side of their foot to control the ball during a pass and if they strike it too hard, they’ll kick the ball too far out of the playing area which will result in less points for them.
Remember that soccer coaching is all about engaging your age group and soccer practice is where these young players will learn the soccer skills necessary to carry them through their career as a player.
The kids have short attention spans so revise these fun soccer drills based on the number of players you have, keep the training session short, and be sure to work in plenty of fun activities to keep younger players interested.