3 out of 4 youth soccer players stop playing their sport before the age of 16. Do you know why? Because it stopped being fun. Adults are the main cause of sucking the fun out of it, because they take the game way too seriously. Let’s not forget why young people play soccer in the first place: because it’s fun! Parents should be happy that their children are into soccer because it helps them develop their body and their mind. As adults interested in youth soccer, we must avoid being a killjoy.
As a soccer parent playing with your boy or girl in the backyard, it’s important to focus on the FUN-damentals.
Soccer practice can be made fun via a small game. Below, we list some soccer games to keep things fun. It could be a nice reward at the end of a practice.
Panna Knock Out game (1×1 or 2×2)
“Panna is a lightning-fast form of street football in which nutmegging your opponent is the ultimate goal!” When playing panna, you develop ball control, dribbling and moves. It’s a highly competitive game and very fun to do. Here are the rules: http://www.pannaknockout.org/worldcup_competition_rules.html
A crossbar challenge, but with a very own twist. We’ve lended some rules from the game of darts. Every player starts at 101 and the objective is to be the first to reach zero.
Different parts of the goal have a different score:
- Crossbar: 5 points
- Pole: 2 points
- In the goal: 1 point
Every player shoots from the same distance from the goal. After a shot, the shooting player subtracts the total scored from his current total until he reaches zero. In order to reach zero each player must finish by hitting the pole or the crossbar. If player one has 2 remaining he must hit the pole to win, while if player two has 6 remaining he must shoot in the goal and then hit the crossbar to win – or another combination such as 1 in the goal and 2 times on the pole.
Create the shape of a small tennis or badminton court using cones. Preferably on a surface that flat enough to make the ball bounce well. If you can, make a low net in the middle of the court using chairs or anything. You win a point if the other player lets the ball bounce more than once on his own half, or if your opponent hits the net.
One player “serves” the soccer ball to the other side. Once it goes over the net, the other player has, at most, three touches and one bounce to return the ball back to the other side of the court. The other player then has three touches and one bounce to keep the rally going.