First Grade Practice and Game Plans

Remember these are general guidelines. Each player is different and will arrive at a practice or game in hopes of getting something specific. If you do not provide every player exactly what they want every day, don’t worry, the goal is they want to come back for another season of soccer.

There are four parts of the game of soccer: Technique, Tactics, Fitness, and Mentality. In the beginning, players should focus on technique, a bit of tactics, and learning the game and develop/progress from there each year as they get older and more mature. Once they arrive in 1st grade or if they have played on a team in the past, they are ready to expand their understanding.

Some guidelines that are important for player development include:


Continue to think about becoming, “friends with the ball”.

Starting and stopping with the ball under control.

Changing directions with the insides and outsides of both feet.

Emphasis on balance when one foot is on the ball and using the sole of the foot to pull the ball.

Controlling rolling balls (passes) with the inside of the feet.

Beginning to develop a “first touch” when a ball is played to them.

Kicking the ball accurately with the insides of both feet over 8-10 yards.


Introducing teamwork to the game.

Being a part of a team, using teammates to help score goals.

Practicing to relax with the ball and learning to “protect” it. (moving away from pressure) “Try to get your body between the ball and that opponent who wants to take it from you.”

Teaching the concept of defense:

● When your team has the ball, you are on offense.

● When you don’t have the ball, your team is on defense.

Individual defending - taking the ball when you don’t have it, but DON’T FOUL.


Emphasis on balance and “playing on one leg”.

Differentiating between standing leg and playing leg. (This is important so they understand they will develop each leg (foot) and what they can do with their dominant leg, they should practice doing with their non-dominant leg).


Rely on the concept that the “Game is the greatest teacher.”

Don’t over coach.

Let the kids play.

Don’t yell onto the field what you think the players should do.

They need to play without a “Coach in their ear.”

Encourage them to make choices, it’s up to them.

Help them see options and they get to decide.

Good and bad decisions are determined by the play.

Never use the phrase, “Boot it."