Week 2: Passing and Defense

Games begin the second week. Some of your players will be really excited and others may be intimidated. Do your best to encourage them and show excitement about the game. Our focus at the recreation level is on participation, motivation, and enjoyment. We want children to have fun and challenge themselves by attempting what they are learning during practice. Prior to the game give your players one or two things to focus on such as correct throw-ins or challenge them to complete 3 passes in each half. Most importantly notice the progress players are making and mention it to them.

That being said remember that your practice time will be shorter the remaining weeks. Plan accordingly to ensure that you cover the skills. Coaches will be allowed to be on the field with their players during this week of games. Use this time to help players learn positions and where to be on the field. Some of the Bayside coaches have used cones to help players see the formation before going out onto the field. This is a great way to familiarize players with defense, midfield, forwards, and goalies. Also please have every player try goalie at least once this season.

WEEK ONE FOCUS: Passing and Defense

Remind your players what they have worked on the previous week and ask someone to demonstrate a throw in and how to dribble.

Passing is a very important and very under-utilized skill in the younger age groups. Players at this level often kick the ball away quickly and haphazardly. Make your first practice almost entirely about the passing skill. Encourage players to take their time and do it right before trying to do it fast.

Defense or defending should take up most of your second day of practice. At the 8-9 level you will largely focus on individual defending due to the skill level and lack of familiarity of the game. At the 10-12 age division you may be able to introduce team defending where players work together to put pressure on the player with the ball and cut off the potential pass.


Passing – Passing is the most important skill a player can learn in soccer. A player and a team that can pass the ball accurately and quickly will beat the team who only has a few fast players. No player is as fast as a pass. The most common pass is called the “push pass” and is accomplished using the inside of the foot near the ankle bone and the arch. Here is a good video to help explain the technique: (Special thanks to Online Soccer Academy – please like and subscribe to their channel).

Defending: Proper defending technique is actually quite amazing to watch and a player who masters this technique will quickly become very difficult to dribble around or score against. The following video will help you understand and teach proper defending to either age division.

Recommended Practice Format Week 2:

  • Warm-Up: See your warmup guide in the coaches manual.
  • Water break
  • Review last week
  • Introduce and teach the new skill
  • 1st Drill
  • Water break
  • 2nd Drill
  • Water break
  • (First Day) Play a passing game: One game we recommend is called Doctor, Doctor!
    • Divide players into two equal teams (use practice jerseys to differentiate)
    • Set up a field with cones that is 35 normal steps by 20 normal steps. Put two 4×4 step boxes on each teams side of the field. Players cannot be frozen if they are in the 4×4 boxes, but they can only remain in the box for 3 seconds or until another person runs in.
    • Players go to their own side each with a soccer ball. They secretly choose a player to be the doctor. (The doctor is able to “heal” players who are frozen by touching their shoulders as they dribble around).
    • During game play each team tries to pass their ball at the legs of their opponents. If the ball hits below the knees the person is frozen and must sit down on the ground with their ball. If the doctor for their team touches their shoulder they are free to get up. The game ends when the coach blows the whistle. The team with the most players still standing wins. Doctors are the only player who can unfreeze other players. If they are frozen no one on their team can unfreeze them or others. (Teams are trying to determine who the doctor is).
  • (Second Day) Defending Game: Set up a rectangle with the cones that is 15 normal steps by 10 normal steps.
    • Divide the players in half. Put one half on one short side of the rectangle and the other half on the other side of the rectangle.
    • One player at a time tries to dribble from one side to the other. The first player in the other group tries to stop them from making it by stealing the ball or making them go out of bounds. If the ball carrier does dribble over the line they score a point. The ball must be dribbled over the end line. After all the players from the first group dribble the next team goes and tries to score as many points as they can in the same manner.
    • Progression: Add a second offensive player so that two players try to get the ball over the end line against one defender.

Additional Resources: (External Links)

  1. Passing Game 1
  2. Ball Exchange – Great for players to learn how to move and react to another team-mate while giving and taking the ball.
  3. Washington State Youth Soccer – U8 Passing Full Practice PDF
  4. Washington State Youth Soccer – U10 Passing Full Practice PDF
  5. Defending Drills by Footy4Kids (UK)

Thank you once again coaches for all of your help. Our ultimate goal is to provide a fun developmental soccer atmosphere for kids and their families. You help us to make it happen. If you have any questions or need some additional drills, or skills please reach out. I recommend footy4kids.co.uk. It is one of the best places to find drills, and coaches aids.

Best Wishes,

Coach Joe

Director of Coaching

Bayside Soccer and Bayside Soccer Academy