Soccer tends to get a little more serious around age 10.
That’s when “Select” soccer starts, introducing tryouts and traveling alongside a new 9v9 format. It’s often when kids are learning to love and understand the game. It’s also the perfect age for young players to really focus on cementing their soccer skills.
Though many players may start even younger, with these simple soccer drills for 5 year olds, they often aren’t ready for more complex skills and ideas until around age 10. Those skills and ideas can be hard to teach in a digestible way, especially given a wide variation in development and maturity in 10 year old soccer players.
That’s why we’re here: to help coaches make soccer fun, engaging and understandable for young players with these top soccer drills for 10 year olds.
Best Warmup Drills for 10 Year Olds
At this age, it’s important to keep players interested from the get-go. Traditional line-based, dynamic warmups just don’t do that. That’s why we like to keep things light and fun at the beginning of practice with these fun, competitive and collaborative warmup soccer drills for 10 year olds.
One favorite is this Rubix Cube cognitive warmup game from our friends over at Football DNA. Players have to remember a pattern, and work together with teammates to recreate that pattern by swapping cones. You can play with or without a soccer ball.
You could also play this fun teamwork-based relay race, which also helps develop players’ speed and agility. Tons of great variations can boost players’ coordination and ball skills.
Best Technical Drills for 10 Year Olds
Technical development should be the top priority at this age. No matter your team’s experience and skill level, it’s important to dedicate time to mastering the basics. This is a good video showing some of the fundamental skills a 10 year old soccer player should be developing.
But we all know that players of any age will get bored of simple cone-based drills. It’s important to add some variation and excitement to your practices. One great way to do that is by introducing an element of competition, as in this terrific drill for fast dribbling, ball control and teamwork. This fun game can be modified to help players practice their footwork: add a cone for moves to beat a player, introduce new types of turns to change direction, or even require that players only use their left foot!
Best Passing Drills for 10 Year Olds
As young players move into playing 9v9, passing becomes more important to their individual and team success. It’s important that coaches emphasize clean technique when passing the ball, but also that they introduce the importance of creating passing angles.
The global go-to favorite passing drill is the Rondo. There are lots of ways to do them wrong, and lots of ways to do them right. To learn the difference and maximize their impact, check out our piece on the Art of the Rondo for more information.
Best Attacking Drills for 10 Year Olds
Basically every 10 year old soccer player ever just wants one thing: to score goals. That excitement and passion should be encouraged! Goalscoring should be central to every practice in this age group — but that doesn’t mean simple, static shooting drills.
One classic is this awesome Trio Attacking Inside the Box drill for 10 year olds, which pits three attackers up against two defenders. This gives players the opportunity to shoot and score, while also teaching vital lessons about spreading out and making the right decisions with the ball.
Perhaps our favorite attacking drill (for any age group) is the fast-paced and action-packed Flying Changes goalscoring game. You can check that out in detail at our Trace Guide to Shooting Drills.
Best Defensive Drills for 10 Year Olds
The emphasis for young players tends to be on footwork and shooting skills, but good defense is important at any and every age. The key is to be a little sneaky about it: every opportunity for one player to attack is also an opportunity for a player to defend. And there’s no better way to incorporate principles of good defense (and good attacking) than with 1v1 drills.
Two fun 1v1 soccer drills are shown below, courtesy of The Coaching Manual. One includes shooting on a big goal, while the other two use small pop-up goals. Another possibility is a simple, small-sided 1v1 competition between two teams, with rotating 1v1 matchups.
Remember that players want to be competitive. They want to score goals. So let them! Harness that excitement, and use your influence as a coach to shift the focus towards good defense.
Whatever the focus of your session, use these soccer drills for 10 year olds to make every practice fun and to keep players invested in and excited about their own development.
This is also a fine time to begin using game film as a resource to foster growth and self-understanding. With fun, bite-sized videos tailored to individual players, Trace helps players actively engage with their learning process by allowing them to see their own skills in action. Check out the link below for some advice on how to maximize the impact of Trace for young players and teams.