Special thanks to Momma of 4 Cutiez for this fantastic feature.
Sure, soccer takes some blood, sweat, and tears, but switching things up with some good old fashioned fun can boost morale and improve teamwork. Do you feel like your team is in a bit of a practice rut? Whether it’s the heat that hits mid-season or a struggle to bond with other teammates, kicking a curveball in the routine could be a big help. Read on for a few ideas and comment your own below!
5 tips to make soccer practice more fun
No matter how much your players love the fresh paint lines and newly trimmed grass on a soccer field, playing somewhere new can be a fun change of pace. A new location can add different obstacles to work around, break up the monotony, and help focus in on other skills besides field position. Try finding a beautiful park in the area, another sport court, or even an empty parking lot.
Just add water-
No amount of Gatorade can make up for the summer heat of soccer drills and sprints. Incorporate water into the training routine to cool things off. This could mean sprint relays to fill up the water bucket, water balloon dodgeball, or air raid. Water games are a great incentive for players reaching team goals or performing well in games. Include skills like footwork, conditioning, dribbling, passing, and other skills into the games. Getting grass stains never sounded so fun!
Ask the big leagues-
If you coach young players, try reaching out to the nearest high school team, and see if they’ll play with your team for a day. It’s a great way for the older kids to review the basics, and your team will love seeing how the older teams train. Take turns running drills, ask for advice, and see what it takes to make the high school team. You might learn some new tactics to add to your practice and game strategies.
Use some funky gear-
Another way to make practice fun is to use witty gear. Switch out cones for bottles of Gatorade during dribbling drills. For example, players can win a Gatorade if they dribble through without knocking any down. If your players are struggling with kicking, try the SockIt. The light-up device teaches players to avoid kicking with their toe. See if your players can think of some gear substitutes to bring to practice.
Some days, after a long practice, nothing sounds better than chocolate chip cookies. Help your players get the most out of practice by eating right. Spending one practice to share a list of healthy food and menu items—and even meal prepping together—can help teammates show up to practice strong, focused, and energized. You’ll be setting the team up for a healthy lifestyle.
Between suicide sprints and laps around the field, conditioning is often one of the most dreaded parts of practice. Change the pace by playing capture the flag, trying the dicegame, or singing a song while doing the Indian Run. If all players can swim, try doing conditioning sprints in a pool. Conditioning may be tough, but it’s one of the most important parts of practice; finding ways to make it fun can help motivate players to get the most out of it.
If your team is in a practice rut, try a few of these tips. Chances are your team will bond and find the best ways to have fun and develop skills.