What are developmentally appropriate exercises?

When picking activities always remember what the game of soccer is like – players are moving around constantly. Because everyone is moving the environment is constantly changing which requires players to be constantly making decisions. It is because of this that practice games are more effective than ‘drills’ at teaching kids how to play soccer, even when dealing with techniques like how to pass the ball. Many coaches choose to do drills that involve players standing in lines waiting to have a turn.  This type of drill is not ‘soccer-like’.  No child should be encouraged to stand in a line and wait a turn.  There are plenty of soccer like games that can be used to teach any technique or tactical concept.


Enjoyment is the unifying motive. Some children don’t want to learn. Some don’t care about winning. A few have no interest in hard work and one or two can’t remember which goal they’re attacking. In spite of all of their different agendas they all want to have fun and play a game, that is what brings them there.

They also want to be children. Too often the coach sees them as an extension of his vision and they become puppets to it. The time spent at practice and at the games is a part of their childhood. It should not reflect the adult world. Some adults forget this and their expectations take the fun out of the experience. Take time to consider coaching style and understand that your expectations and hopes may not be shared by the children you’re coaching.

Click here for age and developmentally appropriate training sessions from Minnesota Youth Soccer

Click here for age and developmentally appropriate training sessions from Massachusetts Youth Soccer