Soccer Milestones 9-12 y/o

Soccer Milestones at this age are getting more into basic skill mastery. Technical foundation is already there or can be quickly learned. The learning curve is fast and although you may have kids who may not have played before this age group should pick up the fundamentals pretty quick.

9-12 y/o

Ball Control- Children at this age should be touching the ball as much as possible. Inside, outside, instep, linear, and multi-directional. use fun and challenging skill drills to distract them from keeping all the attention at their feet. forcing them to look up and be aware of their surroundings is a milestone and encouraged.

They all should know that in soccer: Body does all the work

first step in soccer is CONTROL!

NO REACHING - Body posture should be refined and developed. A soccer players worst enemy is reaching. Reaching happens when there is no technical development or they are getting lazy. Also, when fatigue sets in the first thing that happens is a player begins to reach for ball versus using the body.


They should all be able to perform a cut-in, Walk over, Pull back, step-over, and cut-out turn. They may not use all of them during a game situation but in a non-pressure environment these are a definite milestone.

Terminology helps them understand why something happened. As a coach it is so much easier to say..You reached that is why... versus DON'T do this..

At this age a routine is important to develop and master ball control and turns. Get a routine and have them know and repeat it at every practice. This group love to know what going to happen versus new drills and and not knowing. Confidence is a huge factor at this age. Build it...don't break it down.

Defending- Getting goal side is practiced and executed during game as the first step of defense. Correct defensive posture and movement is practiced and executed . They understand what pressure is and how to apply it appropriately. NO CHOPPING at this age. Small sided games are key to understanding space and breaking offensive links. talking is a requirement at this age.

Passing- Kids at this age should comprehend a wall pass and be able to execute it during non pressure training. Communication is key and required at this age. They should know how to signal pass back and pass to space (through ball). Using Control - Push - Pass to practice passing is a must and now at this age change the environment to a push - pass or one straight pass.

Match Play- At this age playing the game is key and everything should be based on playing with ball effectively maximizing practice time to better ball control. Communication will clear a lot of mistakes and misunderstandings so encourage it. Verbal cues are key in letting play run without stopping. Scrimmage small sided to better apply milestones. A lot of coaches under estimate the need for encouragement at this age. Just because they hit double digit 10 doesn't mean they don't need your attention and confidence building!

Shooting- Correct shooting technique is practiced and part of this is instep dribbling practice. C+P+S steps in shooting is introduced and practiced every week. (the ball will hardly be still during a game so practicing shooting with a a ball that is dead is not helping. Shooting should be practiced with a moving ball..)

CONTROL PLACE SHOOT is Critical at this age...have them understand the concept confidently!

EXTRA- Leadership becomes evident at this age...encourage it and create opportunities to develop leadership and group speaking opportunities. This will translate on field. Kids at this age like to be challenged and motivation is a little more necessary. You must be engaging and personify energy!

Exposure to soccer is key at this age. Have them play!

Learning how to play soccer needs to be FUN but still technical... a good practice is a perfect balance between the two.

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