Once soccer players are ten, coaching techniques and drills should intensify to accelerate their performance and fitness levels during games.
Increasing the difficulty they face during practice sessions prepares the youngsters to compete at a higher level and continue their development.
Coaching ten-year-olds is no easy task; it takes a lot of patience and planning to keep them engaged while they prepare to become the next Messi.
In my experience, I have found that the soccer drills I’ve chosen here are ideal for improving a 10-year-old’s fitness, focus, and agility.
The Best U10 Soccer Drills:
- Guard The Castle
- Team Reaction Dribbling Drill
- World Cup Soccer Drill
- Monkey In The Middle
- Knock Out
- Coach’s Revenge
- Tic-Tac-Toe Sprints
- Soccer Tennis
As a coach, it is important to remember that U10 soccer players must still enjoy the drills (they are still only ten years old, after all!), but focusing on skill is vital for their improvement.
If you want your young players to improve while enhancing their love for the sport, consider adding these drills to your practice sessions.
I have broken down each one below to help you use these drills with your team. I have described the play, shown you its benefits, and laid out a step-by-step walkthrough, along with a video, to help you explain it to your players.
Let’s look at each of them now.
1. Guard The Castle
It is as important to prevent your opponent from scoring as it is to score a goal.
This drill called “Guard the Castle” provides you, as a coach, the opportunity to improve your players’ defending skills. (Use it along with these ten defensive soccer drills for maximum effect.)
The drill includes four players in a 12-by-12-yard grid, with one player defending the castle.
The castle is a cone with a ball placed on top, set in the middle of the grid. The defender is a singular player who wears a different color and prevents the ball from being knocked off the cone.
The three remaining players must attempt to knock the castle over while staying within the confines of the grid, and a point is awarded for knocking it over.
One round lasts 4 minutes, whereafter the defender is swapped out by another player.
Guard the castle is a great warm-up exercise and provides various other benefits like:
- It improves ball-passing skills.
- Expands player body movement.
- Teaches accuracy and playing angles.
- Sharpens defense skills.
Step 1: Make a 12-by-12-yard grid.
Step 2: Select a team of four players.
Step 3: Designate one player to defend the castle and provide him/her with a different color jersey.
Step 4: Place a cone with a ball on top in the middle of the grid to represent the castle.
Step 5: Instruct the three remaining players to knock over the castle with a ball while staying in the confines of the grid.
Step 6: After four minutes or three points scored, replace the defender with one of the other three players.
Step 7: Only knocking down the castle with the ball awards players a point, and knocking it over with any body part constitutes a reset.
2. Team Reaction Dribbling Drill
10-year-old soccer players are ready to start dribbling at a faster pace, and as a coach, you must refine this skill to improve their accuracy and speed.
Set up a 20-by-20-yard grid with cones and place a flag between seven and ten yards from the corner towards the middle of the grid. Provide each player with a ball and instruct them to dribble it inside the designated grid.
As a coach, you can call out the name of any player, who then must select a flag and dribble the ball as fast as possible around the flag.
The remaining players must follow suit and dribble their balls around the flag, and the last one to do so loses.
I find dribbling drills are great for giving your players more confidence on the field, and have a list of my favorite dribbling drills here.
The Team Reaction Dribbling Drill is ideal for teaching players to focus and instantly react, but it also provides benefits like:
- It improves ball technique and dribbling speed.
- It helps players to focus on dribbling while reacting to other players.
Step 1: Set up a 20-by-20-yard grid and place four corner flags between seven and ten yards from each corner towards the center of the grid.
Step 2: Provide each player inside the grid with a ball.
Step 3: Tell players to free-dribble using the entire grid.
Step 4: Call out a single player’s name.
Step 5: The nominated player must select a flag and dribble around it as fast as possible.
Step 6: Other players must identify the nominated player’s chosen flag and dribble around it as fast as possible.
Step 7: The last player round the flag is eliminated or penalized in whatever manner you decide, for example, sit-ups or push-ups.
3. World Cup Soccer Drill
Teamwork plays a vital role in soccer, and using the World Cup Soccer Drill for 10-year-olds will help you as a coach imprint its effectiveness while making it fun.
The drill requires four teams of three players in each team and a goalie who must prevent any team from scoring a goal. One ball is allocated for the drill, and the four teams compete against each other to score.
The game aims to score a goal to remain in the tournament, and the team left without a goal after the first round was eliminated.
The remaining teams compete in the second round, and the team who fails to score is eliminated. The two final teams compete, and the first to successfully put two balls past the goalie is the winner.
The World Cup Soccer Drill requires one team to compete against three others, demanding good communication skills and focus, but also provides other benefits like:
- Promoting teamwork.
- Smart ball play and quick thinking.
- Creating opportunities and finding space.
- Accurate passing.
Step 1: Select four teams of three players with different colors to separate the teams.
Step 2: Select a single goalkeeper to defend against all four teams.
Step 3: All four teams compete against each other with a single ball to score a goal.
Step 4: The last team to score sits out for the rest of the tournament.
Step 5: In the second round, the remaining three teams compete, and the team that fails to score is eliminated.
Step 6: The two final teams compete, and the first to score two goals wins the World Cup.
4. Monkey In The Middle
Monkey in the Middle is a basic soccer drill for 10-year-olds but very effective, who must develop their skills.
As a coach, you can use this drill to get your players focused and ready before a game or as a development exercise.
Three players stand in an imaginary triangle and pass the ball to each other. The ball is passed from one player to another while a fourth player known as the “Monkey” stands in the center and tries to intercept it.
If the player in the middle (Monkey) intercepts the ball, a player in the triangle swaps with him/her, and the drill continues.
Monkey in the Middle is a basic drill but provides excellent benefits like:
- It teaches and develops passing skills.
- The drill improves speed and accuracy.
- Monkey in the Middle advances a player’s ball-intercepting ability.
- The drill enhances a player’s focus on thinking ahead.
Step 1: Select four players for the drill and give them one ball.
Step 2: Three players stand on the corners of an imaginary triangle.
Step 3: Place one intercepting player called the “Monkey” in the middle of the triangle.
Step 4: The first pass is free, and the Monkey cannot intercept the ball.
Step 5: After the first pass, the Monkey is allowed to intercept.
Step 6: The three offensive players must continue passing the ball to each other and prevent it from being intercepted by the Monkey.
Step 7: The player responsible for losing the ball becomes the Monkey, and the drill continues.
5. Knock Out
In my experience, I have found that 10-year-olds love to play the “Knock Out” soccer drill.
You can use this drill to improve their dribbling skills. They will have to defend the ball while attacking opponents simultaneously.
You must set up a designated grid depending on how many players participate. The players must dribble their ball inside the grid and prevent others from kicking it out of bounds, which will result in elimination.
Each player must protect his/her ball but simultaneously try to eliminate another player by kicking his/her ball out of the grid.
As a coach, you can penalize an elimination with some push-ups or other penalties and return the player to the game.
After three eliminations, the player is out, and this continues until one player remains and is declared the winner.
Knock Out is a fun drill that provides various benefits to 10-year-old players like:
- Practicing awareness and control while dribbling.
- It forces players to keep their heads up and focus on their surroundings.
- It improves direction-changing skills.
- It teaches players to alternate their dribbling pace.
Step 1: Set up a 20-by-20-yard grid. The grid sizes can be enlarged or made smaller depending on the number of players.
Step 2: Instruct players to dribble inside the grid and protect their ball while attempting to kick another player’s ball out of the grid.
Step 3: A player whose ball is kicked out of the grid is penalized, and after the third time, he/she is eliminated from the game.
Step 4: Penalties can include push-ups, sit-ups, or any other exercise you deem appropriate.
Step 7: The last player left in the grid wins.
6. Coach’s Revenge
Speed and agility are vital, and 10-year-olds must improve to be successful soccer players.
Coach’s Revenge is the perfect drill to hone reflecting skills while enhancing focus and fitness.
First, set up a grid and place all the players on one end facing towards the other while you and, if you have an assistant coach, place yourselves in the center. Instruct players to run from one end of the grid to the other side.
Take a ball and kick it at the players, aiming to hit them from their knees. If the ball hits the player, he/she must join you in the middle and help eliminate other players.
Players continue running through the grid until one remains and is declared the winner. You will need a few balls and probably someone to retrieve them.
This is a great drill to add to the list of drills you use for beginners.
Coach’s Revenge soccer drill for 10-year-olds is a fun drill that boosts player confidence and provides other benefits like:
- Exercises players’ fitness, speed, and focus.
- Improves the players’ agility.
Step 1: Set up a 25-by-30-yard grid.
Step 2: Spread the players across one of the edges.
Step 3: Place yourself and an assistant coach in the middle of the grid with several balls.
Step 4: Instruct the players to sprint from one side to the other while you, the coach, try to tag them with the soccer ball, aiming for their lower legs.
Step 5: Players must avoid being hit by the ball.
Step 6: Players struck by the ball must join you in the middle and help eliminate other players.
Step 7: The last remaining player wins.
7. Tic-Tac-Toe Sprints
Tic-Tac-Toe Sprints works just like the paper version, but instead of paper, a grid is made with cones, and the placing is done with pinnies.
Create a tic-tac-toe board with cones and place two more cones 10 yards away as a starting line. Select two teams with four players each and place them at the starting line.
Once you give the signal, one player from each team sprints toward the board and places a pinnie in any chosen block. After placing the pinnie, the players sprint back to the starting line and tag the second player to go.
The goal is to get three pennies in a row, and the first team to succeed wins. If the third player fails to complete a row, the fourth player can move a pinnie to another location.
Tic-Tac-Toe Sprints soccer drill for 10-year-olds puts your players’ speed to the test and provides benefits like:
- Improves decision-making under pressure.
- Improves fitness.
- Promotes teamwork.
- Improves speed.
Step 1: Set up a tic-tac-toe board with cones and another two cones ten yards away as the starting line.
Step 2: Select two teams of four players each.
Step 3: Provide each team with three pinnies that differ in color from the other teams.
Step 4: On your signal, the first player of each team sprints, places a pinnie in a block, and races back to tag the second player.
Step 5: The second player sprints to the tic-tac-toe board, places a pinnie, and returns to tag the third player.
Step 6: The first team to complete a row of three same-colored pinnies wins.
Step 7: If the first three players are unsuccessful, the fourth can sprint and move a pinnie to an open spot to secure the win.
Step 8: The sprints then continue, and a pinnie moved until one of the teams completed a row.
8. Soccer Tennis
Soccer Tennis soccer drill is just like normal tennis, except it is played by three players per team.
A soccer tennis court is set up on the field with a low net. Two teams must return a ball across the net without it carrying directly over the boundary lines.
The ball can bounce once before needing to be returned across the net. Players may utilize other body parts outside their arms and hands, similar to soccer rules.
Players often attempt a scissor kick or overhead, making playing this game on a field much safer. As a coach, you will referee the game and tally the score.
I personally also enjoy joining in with this one, as it’s a lot of fun to play!
Soccer Tennis soccer drill for 10-year-olds helps players to work the ball out of the air and includes other benefits like:
- It enhances first-time passing, using their knees, heading, volleys, and other body control techniques.
- It promotes teamwork, communication, and creative movement.
Step 1: Set up a 12-by-24-yard court.
Step 2: Assign two teams of 3 players each.
Step 3: A larger court allows you to increase the number of players.
Step 4: The game starts with one team serving the ball from behind the back line.
Step 5: The serve must be a volley or half-volley to the opposition team’s side of the court.
Step 6: The receiving team has two touches and one bounce before the ball must be returned across the net.
Step 7: The other team is awarded the point if a ball is knocked out of the court or bounces twice.
Step 8: The score is tallied the same as in normal tennis.
Every coach who works with ten-year-old players knows that it is best to find soccer drills that make it fun but still provide the necessary training to improve their skills.
A combination of fun yet challenging drills is essential to prepare young soccer players for the game.
Check out these 9 Fun (and Effective) Youth Soccer Drills For Kids for more soccer drill ideas.