Website Manager

American Youth Soccer Organization Providing world class youth soccer programs that enrich children's lives.

Welcome to Ada Cascade AYSO!

Practice Plans

The following content is covered in our Region 571 Coach Toolkit in the "Practices" section. 

Start with the basics.  Practice time is designed for the coaches to play games with the kids that will teach them the fundamentals of soccer.  Read this to get up to speed on ‘small-sided matches.

Teaching the game of soccer to kids while trying to run an organized practice can sometimes seem like ‘herding cats’.  The time will definitely fly by quickly, so ask your players to show up 5-10 mins early for every practice to ensure you can start on time with a full team. 

The best piece of advice you might get is this:  Design your practice to maximize the time that the kids have their feet on the ball.  I.e. Avoid having the kids ‘stand around’ in a line.

Listed above in the 'Quick Links' section are several different resources developed by AYSO showing training games you can run with your players to get them moving and engaged in learning the game of soccer.

Finally, here are some additional skills to focus on with your players in practices (and games) and points of emphasis.  These were originally authored for 10U and 12U players, but the basics of these skills would be appropriate to start teaching in 8U or younger age groups as well.

Dribbling / Ball Control:

·        Inside of foot “tick-tocks” as warmup

·        Outside of foot

·        Right or left foot only around the circle 

Passing & Trapping/Receiving:

·        Trap w/ inside of foot, step, pass

·        Push pass for accuracy

·        Go towards the ball to receive it

·        Wall pass


·        Both feet on the ground or drag back foot

·        For repeat offenders, have them cross their legs to keep both feet on the ground

·        Best advantage you can create is to make the throw-in quickly

·        Throw towards the goal or down the line

·        Okay to throw to open space

·        Closest midfielder or defender should take the throw

·        Coach may assign someone if we have a scoring opportunity


·        If you don’t have the ball, use angles to get open!  (Wall pass)

·        Okay to pass to space

·        Forwards:  Keep an eye on the defense – watch for off-sides (10U and above)

·        If you’re in the box, shoot!

·        Shoot low, fast, away from goalie

·        Work on striking hard (w/ laces & center of ball)


·        Defend your portion of the field – don’t bunch up!

·        Stay low, close out quickly, be aggressive

·        Rotate to help a teammate if the opposing player gets through

·        Clear!  Your hardest kick when the other team has the ball in your box

·        When you get possession, look up-field and advance the ball to your teammate

·        Up-field & outside is best; “when in doubt, kick it out”

·        Tackle – push through the ball with your hips, thighs and locked ankle (14U and up)

Corner Kicks:

·        Coach will assign who takes the kick

·        Forwards in front of the goal

·        1 midfielder top of box, 1 near the corner

·        Look first to blast the ball right in front of the goal (especially 8U and below w/ no goalie)

·        If the other team is blocking, pass in to nearest teammate

·        For older age groups, learn about ‘bending’ the ball on the kick

AYSO national, in line with the way soccer is taught to young kids all around the world, advises for younger age groups spending the most time in practice on the fundamentals of ball control, passing & receiving and defense.  This is called ‘small-sided games.’  But whatever technique you are teaching, make it as fun as possible!  Divide your team into squads that compete against each other for proper execution of a technique (successful pass, a takeaway, etc.)  Your players will get a lot more out of practice if you make practice a fun game!

Finally, here are some additional thoughts on the benefits of running 4v4 drills in practice:

·        Why 4v4 is good for youth soccer coaching

·        More in-depth explanation of how to leverage 4v4 drills during practice

·        Some additional drills inspired by Dutch-style soccer

National Partners

Contact Us

Ada/Cascade AYSO - Region 571

P.O. Box 32 
Ada, Michigan 49301

Email Us: [email protected]
Copyright © 2024 Region 571  |  Privacy Statement |  Terms Of Use |  License Agreement |  Children's Privacy Policy  Login