As we explained in our Quick Tip about Learning to Kick a Ball, the skill of kicking takes a ton of coordination. In a soccer game, your child not only needs the coordination necessary to kick a ball while standing still, but also when they are on the move. That’s tough! Soccer is THE SPORT in the area where we live. How about where you are? Here are a few ideas for soccer drills to hone the all-important skill of kicking!
WHAT YOU’LL NEED: A ball, a goal
WHAT TO DO:
-Almost every preschooler that I treat in my therapy practice needs help with kicking. And the best way for them to practice kicking to a target is to stand about 5’ in front of them with my legs spread wide to make a goal. I make an X on the floor using tape to show them where to place the ball and I have them kick that ball into my goal. When it goes through, I yell “GGGGGOOOOOAAALLLL”. Instant satisfaction!!
Every one of my little kiddos will do it over and over again as we progress from standing and kicking to running up and kicking. Of course, they want to be the goal too, and I have embarrassed myself plenty of times with my inability to kick the ball through that teeny tiny little goal that they create when they stand with their legs spread as wide as they can! :)
-For the older child (let’s say 5 and up), work on dribbling that soccer ball (little kicks) and then shooting to the goal (a big, giant kick). Set up a soccer goal (an empty box will work) at one end of the room or yard. Have them start 15’ away and practice dribbling the ball toward the goal until they are close enough to give it a big kick into the goal. Too easy? Set up some cones and have them dribble that ball in a zig zag pattern.
-Older and more experienced? Play kick the cones! Place a row of cones at one end of the yard. Position your child several feet away (depending on their ability) and have them kick forcefully to try to knock each cone down from that distance. How good is their aim, control, power?
All of these ideas work on kicking but emphasize force and accuracy — so important in a sport like soccer!
SKILL AREAS ADDRESSED: Gross motor skills, proprioception, motor control, cognitive skills, coordination