Remember these are general guidelines. Each player is different and will arrive at a practice or game in hopes of getting something specific. If you do not provide every player exactly what they want every day, don’t worry, 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 the beginning, players should focus on technique, a bit of tactics, and learning the game and develop/progress from there each year as they get older and more mature. Once they arrive in 2nd grade and if they have played on a team in the past, they are ready to understand more nuances of the game. Some guidelines that are important for player development include:
Develop the skill of dribbling using each surface of both feet.
Practice and ask them to touch the ball with the inside, outside and sole of both feet… be creative.
Starting and stopping with the ball under control using different surfaces.
Turning the ball through 180 degrees.
Encouraging them, (i.e. “More speed, bend your knees, keep your head up, don’t get the ball stuck under you.”) Emphasis on balance when one foot is on the ball and using the sole of the foot to pull the ball.
Controlling rolling balls (passes) with the inside of the feet.
Practicing the “first touch” when a ball is played to them, let them decide how they will control the ball. (Control does not mean “trapping”. You don’t want to stop the ball entirely… when the ball stops, thinking stops.)
Kicking the ball accurately with the insides of both feet over 10 yards.
Developing teamwork in the game.
Passing the ball to make your teammates' job easier.
Move the ball up field by passing, not just dribbling.
Practicing to relax with the ball and learning to “protect” it, moving away from pressure. “Try to get your body between the ball and that opponent who wants to take it from you.”
Teaching the concept of defense. When your team has the ball, you are on offense. When you don’t have the ball, your team is on defense.
Individual defending - taking the ball when you don’t have it. DON’T FOUL.
Spreading out and making the field big when your team has the ball.
When your team does not have the ball, moving closer together, trying to protect the middle of the field and space in front of your goal.
Emphasis on balance and “playing on one leg”.
Nothing without a ball.
Begin the routine of stretching and warming up.
Simple, but be consistent.
Start simple, move to more complex and with pressure.
Practice should be a balance of “play time” and a learning environment.
No specializing by positions, let all players try all positions.
Never use the phrase, “Boot it."