Fourth Grade Practice and Game Plans

Each player is different and each will be playing for different reasons. Try to provide individual instruction or small group instruction based on the needs of each player. Create activities that put all kids under some pressure and force them to make decisions. Don’t tell them what to do, but “paint a picture” of what it could look like. The goal is they want to come back for another season of soccer.

There are four parts of the game of soccer: Technique, Tactics, Fitness, and Mentality.

In Fourth grade and beyond, they should focus on technique, basic tactics, and learning the game at a higher level. If they have played on a team in the past, they are ready to understand more details and specific aspects of the game. Teaching them about space, creating passing channels, shooting where the goalie is not, and defensive support are all appropriate for this age. As with other ages, consider these:

Technique

Develop the skill of dribbling using the inside and outside of both feet.

Be creative.

Changing speed when dribbling.

Dribbling with speed to outrun a defender can be developed.

Starting and stopping with the ball under control using different surfaces, chest, thigh, etc.

Practice feints and moves to get an advantage when a player has the ball.

Let them show one another moves.

One touch passing of 6-10 yards.

Practice controlling the ball as it comes to the player by using both feet.

Shooting rolling balls with the inside of the foot at goal. Introduce how they should “prepare the ball” when it comes to them.

Keeping their head up.

Kicking the ball accurately with the insides of both feet over distance.

Passing into space where a teammate can run onto the ball.

Tactics

Developing teamwork in the game.

Help your teammate be better.

Support the person with the ball.

Positioning “goal side of the attackers” when you lose the ball. “Marking your player.” Don’t wait for the ball… go to it!

Playing away from pressure (your opponents) when you receive the ball - prepare it to an open space.

Introduce the concept of team defending; let them work as a unit to defend, (They also should work as a unit when they have the ball.) 

Individual defending - taking the ball back when you don’t have it, but DON’T FOUL.

Anticipate where the ball may go and try to beat your opponent to that area.

Fitness

Emphasis on balance and “playing on one leg” (practice the weak foot).

Nothing without a ball. - pass or dribble while running.

Begin the routine of stretching and warming up.

They learn to be safe when they do it consistently.

Let the game be their teacher.

They will learn just by playing.

Mentality

Start simple, move to more complex and with added pressure.

Introduce an activity that is 4v0. Move to 4v1, 4v2 until they are playing 4v4.

If that is still not easy, you can add a “Neutral Player” (+1 or +2) so a scrimmage can be 4v4 +2, then it is always 6v4 with two players always on offense.

Practice should continue to be a balance of “play time” and a learning environment

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