What is Listening, in Soccer?


For the Kids: 

In soccer you are seldom on the field alone. There is usually a whole team of people looking to learn from the coach. There may even be other teams practicing nearby, parents waiting around on the sidelines, and lots of other people shouting and making noises. This can be a distraction.  So it's important to listen for the coach's voice during practices and games. 

It helps to show that you are listening. How can think you can show your coach you are listening to them?

Those who listen more to what the coach says, will to learn more about the game and are better players.


Coach's Corner - A few words about listening:

You tell the kids at the very beginning of your first practice that whenever you clap, they have clap the same number of times you clap. You clap twice, they clap twice. Make sure to also tell them that this is time for them to listen.  You can usually get everybody’s attention after 2 to 3 sequences of claps and that only takes normally 3 to 5 seconds. Much better than yelling

Or consider picking a word, that when said, the kids stop and listen. 

Give positive feedback when players listen.


Listening Game 1

I Can Do, Can You

I Can Do, Can You (similar to Simon Says)

You should demonstrate and call out things that the kids can do with a ball.    Do they have any ideas too?

Examples:             “I can walk the dog (ball) with my feet”

                                “I can stop, turn in a circle and kick the ball”

                                “I can dribble the ball around a cone”

                                “I can touch my elbow to the ball”

                                “I can sit on the ball”

                                “I can walk the dog (ball) while my arms are crossed”

                                “I can dribble with 1 foot”

Listening Game 2

Red Light Green Light

Red Light, Green Light

  • Start all of the players on one sideline shoulder-to-shoulder, each with a soccer ball.
  • The end-line is the opposite sideline.
  • The coach should move 15-20 yards away from the closest player.


  • With the coaches back to the players, yell "GREEN LIGHT," and the players try to dribble to the coach.
  • The coach then yells "RED LIGHT," the players must quickly stop the ball. The coach should wait a moment and then turns to face the players.
  • Any player moving must take 1 big step backwards.

  • Variations:  Limit the players to dribble with their right foot only/ left foot only/ bottom of the foot only.

Remind them it’s important to:             

  • Listen to coach’s commands.
  • React quickly to verbal queues.
  • Dribble with speed, but keep the close.
  • Make sure the players hold the ball close so they can stop quickly.

Listening Game 3

Coming Soon


This is a fun game for kids to get some revenge on the grown-ups! Start by giving each kid a ball.

The coach then goes into the middle of a specified area and starts to run around. The kids must dribble their soccer balls around the area and try to hit the coach with the ball. When a ball hits the coach, the coach should yell “Ouch!” for extra fun. While this game is good fun for the kids, it also teaches dribbling and helps kids keep their heads up as they look for the coach.    Remind them it’s important to:  Listen to coach’s commands.

Consider making faces to provoke the kids to try harder.

Yell Ouch loud.  The harder the hit, the louder you are.

Maybe even fall down at the end, when you are hit.  The kids will realize this is their chance to “get you”

What does this teach?

- React quickly to verbal queues.

- Dribble with speed, but keep the close.

- Make sure the players hold the ball close so they can stop quickly.

What is Dribbling?

What is Dribbling

Dribbling is made up 3 simple components. 

  1. Ball security
  2. Ball positioning (in relation to the body), and
  3. The skill of dribbling, itself.

In the case of early learners, "the skill" is unreasonable to expect.

Therefore, we must shift our focus more towards "ball security" and "ball positioning." They are two things that young children are more than capable of executing. They also offer amazing opportunity for us to explore how teaching dribbling is kept simple and learning is made fun.

Here is an easy way to teach and encourage dribbling:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DVAxX41WBgQ



Dribbling Game 1

The Three Bears

The Three Bears

You might remember the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. 

Well in this story, Papa Bear likes to dribble the ball really fast.  Can you dribble fast like Papa Bear?

Mama Bear likes to dribble the ball really slow.  Can you dribble slow like Mama Bear?

Baby Bear likes to dribble the ball _________  (just right!!!!).  Can you dribble just right like Baby Bear?

Which bear is your favorite?  Can you dribble like them?

Dribbling Game 2

Coming Soon2

Off to the Races!

Divide kids into even teams. 1st player does 4 toe taps, then dribbles ball in/ around 3 cones and finally dribbles in a straight line to another cone placed further away.  When they get to that final cone, they should pick up their ball and spring back to the start line.  Then the next player goes, and so on.  1st team done with all their players, wins.

If the kids want to do a variation of this, let them suggest a move or 2.

Here is a how-to video on Toe Taps:  https://youtu.be/ODIw8K66QiI

Dribbling Game 3

Coming Soon


Let child dribble the soccer ball freely in the playing area.

When you say FREEZE, they should stop dribbling and trap the ball with one foot.

This works on ball handling, dribbling and trapping skills.