Soccer Drills & Games For 6-Year-Olds: Easy Guide

If you’re a coach or parent with a 6-year-old soccer fan, this article is made for you. Your questions answered, plus, sessions, drills, and games.

After over 20 years of playing soccer, I can’t exactly remember when I started. According to my mother, it was at the ripe age of 6. 

While many kids try soccer at younger ages, there are still a lot who start for the first time at age 6. Additionally, age 6 is the first year that’s not considered “pee wee” soccer. 

6 year olds need a lot of help with soccer basics, and they should have fairly short and fun practices. At this age, the purpose of soccer is still to build interest in the sport while teaching the basic concepts. 

Coaching 6-year-olds may still feel quite a bit like recess, but it’s a crucial time in a soccer player’s early development. 

Before we look at the soccer drills, let’s take a look at some common questions coaches and parents have about 6-year-old soccer players…


How should a 6 year old practice soccer?

At 6-years-old, some kids may have a little soccer experience, but many others are still new. 6-year-olds should still practice soccer in a way that’s fun and enjoyable.

Much like 5-year-olds, the focus should be on fun games that incorporate soccer basics. 

How do I coach my 6 year old soccer?

Coach 6 year-olds with an open mind. At this age, you may already see some differences in ability and interest.

Do not allow bias to taint your coaching. Focus on fun games that incorporate soccer skills. 

Establish clear expectations for listening when the coach talks and how to treat teammates. Keep activities fast-paced and provide plenty of breaks.

Rather than focusing on corrections, emphasize when a child does something correctly or shows effort. 

What size soccer ball does a 6 year old use?

6-year-olds use a size 3 soccer ball. 

How long should a 6 year old practice soccer?

6-year-olds should have fairly short practices, up to 45 minutes long twice per week. 

What soccer skills should a 6 year old have?

6-year-olds who have played some soccer before may have a few basic skills, like passing, dribbling, and understanding the fundamental rules.

But keep in mind that many 6-year-olds are still new to the sport and will need significant guidance. You may have 6-year-olds with a range of soccer skills. 

What soccer skills should a 6 year old learn?

At this age, teaching the basics is still important. Kids are still young and generally a bit clumsy. Focus on the following soccer skills:

  • Coordination
  • Balance
  • Running technique 
  • Passing
  • Dribbling/ ball control 
  • Teamwork 
  • Communication 
  • Listening 
Youth Soccer Players In A Training Game
Youth Soccer Players In A Training Game

Soccer Drills and Games For 6-Year-Olds

Dribble Between the Squares: Soccer Drill

  • Age Range: 4-6
  • Length of Session: 5 mins
  • Number of Players: groups of 4
  • Skills to Learn: dribbling, ball handling 
  • Equipment: 8 cones and 4 balls for each group of 4

Description: Each child will dribble their ball from one square to the next and back using a variety of different dribbling tactics defined by the coach. 

Drill Set-up:

  • Set up two squares 10 meters apart with side lengths of 5 meters. 
  • Place 4 players in one square and give each player a ball. 

Drill Instructions:

  1. Instruct the players to dribble to the other square and back using different techniques. 
  2. Right foot only. 
  3. Left foot only. 
  4. Inside of the feet. 
  5. Outside of the feet. 
  6. Doing a particular move every few dribbles (stepover, cut, roll and touch, etc.)

Musical Balls: Soccer Drill

  • Age Range: 4-6
  • Length of Session: 10 mins 
  • Number of Players: any
  • Skills to Learn: awareness, speed, coordination 
  • Equipment: balls and cones 

Description: The number of balls decreases by one each round

Drill Set-up:

  • Create a large square based on the number of players you have. 
  • Give each player a ball.
  • Optional: set up a small side activity for kids to do once they are out of musical balls. 

Drill Instructions:

  1. Give each player a ball at first. 
  2. Instruct players to dribble around the area using different techniques. 
  3. When you stop playing music or blow your whistle, each kid must leave their ball and find a new one. 
  4. Take away one ball. 
  5. Repeat the steps, this time one player won’t have a ball in the end. 
  6. The player without a ball must perform a simple action, like 5 jumping jacks, or they are out. 
  7. You can repeat the activity this way or take away one more ball each time the same way you would with musical chairs. 

Hungry Hippos: Soccer Drill

  • Age Range: 4-6
  • Length of Session: 10 mins 
  • Number of Players: up to 20
  • Skills to Learn: dribbling at speed, keeping head up
  • Equipment: a lot of soccer balls, pinnies, and small goals are optional 

Description: Two teams compete to see who can bring the most balls back to their area. 

Drill Set-up: 

  • Split the kids into two even teams. 
  • Give each team pinnies to distinguish. 
  • Create a large rectangle with a small zone on each end. 
  • Place all of the balls in the center of the space. 

Drill Instructions:

  1. Place each team at either end of the rectangle. 
  2. Each team can send one player at a time to go retrieve a ball and dribble it back. 
  3. Optional: add a mini goal. The player must shoot the ball into the small goal to earn it for their team. 
  4. If a player goes out of bounds, they must put the ball back to the middle and go back to their team for a new player to go.
  5. Perform as a race until all the balls are gone. 

Sharks and Minnows: Soccer Drill

  • Age Range: 4-8
  • Length of Session: 10 mins
  • Number of Players: any
  • Skills to Learn: dribbling, keeping head up, ball control
  • Equipment: balls for each player, cones, pinnies optional.

Description: Kids try to dribble from one side to the other without getting tagged by the shark. Anyone tagged becomes a shark.

Drill Set-up: 

  • Create a large rectangle suitable for the number and age of players. For example, 35 meters long by 20 meters wide for 12-15 6-year-olds. 
  • Give each player a ball and line them up on the starting line.
  • Select a “shark” to start. 

Drill Instructions

  1. Line up all of the “minnows” with their balls.
  2. Choose 1-2 sharks and place them in the middle of the space. 
  3. When you say go, have the minnows try to dribble across the other side without getting tagged by a shark. 
  4. Anyone who is tagged must become a shark for the next round.
  5. Challenge players to see who can be the last minnow standing.
  6. Younger kids, 4-6, can focus on just tagging the player. For kids 6-8, change the rules so they must knock the ball away from the minnow to count. For kids 8-10 or with advanced skills, you can require them to take full possession of the ball. 
  7. Another way to make the drill more challenging is to make space smaller. 
  8. You can also add specific dribbling challenges within the game (weak foot only, must complete 2 moves before crossing, etc.

Dribble Through Gates: Soccer Drill

  • Age Range: 4-8
  • Length of Session: 10 mins
  • Number of Players:  3-10
  • Skills to Learn: Ball control, keeping the head up while dribbling
  • Equipment: enough balls for each player and cones

Description; Randomly place gates that are approximately 3 meters wide. Kids will aim to dribble through each gate once or as many gates as possible in the set time. 

Drill Set-up:

  • Set up a large area around 30 meters by 30 meters (use a larger space for more kids)
  • Randomly set up 6-10 3m wide gates using cones
  • Give each kid a ball. 

Drill Instructions:

  1. Kids 4-6 can have more gates and larger gates to minimize collisions. 
  2. Give kids a set time and goal. For example, you can see who can get through the most gates in 60 seconds, or who can get through every gate first. 
  3. Make the drill more challenging for older players with restrictions, like right or left foot only. You could also require older kids to complete a move before dribbling through the gate. 

Kick the Coach: Soccer Drill

  • Age Range: 4-8
  • Length of Session: 5 mins 
  • Number of Players: any
  • Skills to Learn: passing
  • Equipment: balls for each child 

Description: The coach runs between two lines of kids who are all trying to hit the coach’s legs with the ball.

Drill Set-up:

  • Create two lines facing each other. Place a cone for each kid. 
  • The lines should be 10-15 yards apart. 
  • Place each kid on a line and give them a ball. 

Drill Instructions:

  • Kids line up facing each other. 
  • The coach will run through the middle of the lines. 
  • The kids try to pass (NOT shoot) their ball to hit the coach. 
  • Only contact below the knee counts. 
  • Ideal for younger kids just learning how to pass. 

4v4 to Mini-Goals (no GK): Soccer Drill

  • Age Range: 4-10
  • Length of Session: 3 min games, up to 15 mins
  • Number of Players: 6,8,10
  • Skills to Learn: game decisions, passing vs dribbling, 1v1 situations
  • Equipment: regular cones, mini-goals/pug goals or large cones, pinnies, or different colored shirts. 

Description: Allow kids to compete in 4v4 small-sided games up to 3 mins long. 

Drill Set-up:

  • Set up the field based on the age of players. For younger players, 4-6, make a field about 15x 20 meters. For older groups, make the field a bit larger. 
  • Set up multiple fields if you have a large group. 
  • Use cones to create the outline of the field. 
  • Set up either mini-goals, pugg goals, or large cones as the goals. 
  • Split the players into even teams of 4, and give each team a color. 

Drill Instructions:

  1. Play 3 min games to the mini-goals. 
  2. Define how players earn points. You can create unique rules to shift the focus and practice different things. For example, for older kids, you could make a 1-touch finish worth 2 points. 
  3. Keep the simple focus for kids 4-6, emphasizing taking the ball from the other team but not your team. Also, guide them to stay spread out and communicate. 
  4. For older kids, emphasize decision-making between passing and dribbling. 
  5. You can also use larger goals and add a GK for older kids, ages 9-10. 

Dribble to Pass: Soccer Drill

  • Age Range: 4-10
  • Length of Session:  10 mins
  • Number of Players: 4+
  • Skills to Learn: passing on the move, ball control, receiving 
  • Equipment: cones and balls

Description:  Players dribble through a series of cones and then pass the ball off to the next player in line. 

Drill Set-up:

  • Set up 10 cones in a line. 
  • The cones should be 1.5 to 2 meters apart. 
  • On each end of the line of cones, set another cone 5-7 meters away. 
  • Repeat this setup to create multiple groups if you have a lot of players. 
  • 2-3 players will line up behind the cone on each end of the line of cones. 
  • Give the ball to the first player in line. 

Drill Instructions:

  1. The first player dribbles through the line of cones. 
  2. Once they complete the line of cones, the player then passes the ball to the next player in line who is at the cone 5-7 yards away. 
  3. The second player should receive the ball and then dribble through the line of cones. 
  4. Create different dribbling rules (right foot, left foot, inside-outside, stepovers, etc).
  5. Focus on dribbling and passing technique, picking the eyes up, and being ready in line. 
  6. Extend the distance of the pass for older/ advanced kids. 
  7. Make the game competitive by having multiple groups compete to see who can have all players go twice. If you only have one group, turn it into a race against the clock. 

Freeze Tag: Soccer Drill

  • Age Range: 6-10
  • Length of Session: 10 mins
  • Number of Players: 8+
  • Skills to Learn: dribbling, keeping head up, ball control
  • Equipment: ball for each player, cones, pinnies

Description: One or two taggers try to tag the players dribbling around with the ball. Once tagged, a player is frozen until another player passes the ball between their legs to unfreeze them.

Drill Set-up:

  • Create a large square roughly 30 m X 30 m. Adjust the size based on the number of players. 
  • Put all players in the square. 
  • Select 1-3 taggers (depending on the size of the group).
  • Give the taggers a pinny to differentiate them. 
  • Give all nontaggers a ball. 

Drill Instructions:

  1. When you say go, the taggers will run around trying to tag those who are dribbling. 
  2. If a player is tagged, they “freeze.” The frozen player stands with their feet a bit wider than shoulder-width apart. They should raise their ball above their head. 
  3. A teammate can “unfreeze” a player by passing their ball between that players’ legs. 
  4. Once unfrozen, the player puts their ball down and begins dribbling again. 
  5. Play until the taggers freeze everyone, or for up to 2 minutes. 
  6. Switch taggers each round. 
  7. For younger kids, you can start without the ball as a warmup. 
  8. For older, more advanced kids, require the tagger to steal the ball instead of just tag. 

Pass Through the Gates: Soccer Drill

  • Age Range: 6-10
  • Length of Session: 10 mins 
  • Number of Players: any
  • Skills to Learn: passing, communication
  • Equipment: balls and cones, optional pinnies

Description: Players must pass the ball through a gate to their teammate to earn a point. 

Drill Set-up:

  • Set up a large space based on the number of players you have and their ages. 
  • Randomly place gates using cones. Gates should be about 3 meters. 
  • Give each player a partner.
  • Optional: use pinnies to distinguish groups. 
  • Each group of 2 gets 1 ball.

Drill Instructions:

  1. Kids must dribble around the area and pass through the gates to their partners. 
  2. Each successful pass through the gate earns one point. 
  3. Kids cannot go through the same gate twice in a row. 
  4. Challenge your players to see who gets the most passes in a set time or who can complete all gates first. 
  5. Keep each round to 60 seconds or less. 
  6. Challenge older players to use their weaker foot or complete the drill with smaller gates. 

1v1 Shooting: Soccer Drill

  • Age Range: 6-10
  • Length of Session:10 mins
  • Number of Players: 6+
  • Skills to Learn: dribbling, 1v1 attacking and defending, finishing
  • Equipment: balls, cones, a goal

Description: Both players face the goal and engage in a race to the ball and goal. Who can finish first? This fun game is a combination of 1v1 and shooting. 

Drill Set-up:

  • Place a cone about 25 meters away from the goal. 
  • Bring all of the balls to the cone. 
  • If you do not have a goal available, create one with cones or use a mini goal. 
  • Split players into two even teams. 
  • Have each team line up on one side of the cone. 

Drill Instructions:

  1. Have the goalkeeper (s) head to the goal. They can switch off every few times.
  2. Stand at the cone with the balls. 
  3. Pass the ball forward toward the goal. 
  4. The first player in each line should react to the pass and race to the ball. 
  5. The players should compete to see who can win the ball and finish first. 
  6. If the players are unable to finish right away and engage in a 1v1, keep the game at under 20 seconds. 
  7. Play the first team to 10 goals and then switch sides. Keep the entire activity around 10 minutes or less. 
  8. Have players start in different positions. At first, they can face forward. Then have them face sideways and backward,  or start kneeling or in a push-up position. Different starting positions help them work on power and reaction time.



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