Five Step Kicking Progression for Youth Soccer

By RonUsher | Uncategorized

Apr 09

I was watching a Youtube video about how to kick a soccer ball. It was pretty good. What I liked best was the last two screens where the athlete is putting his body into the shot.

Kicking progressions to develop kids soccer kicking

Soccer is a game of kicking the ball. Whether to pass or to shoot, every player at every level has to be able to kick with power and accuracy. The success of your child or your team might come down to how well they kick the ball.

If you’re coaching a youth soccer team or want to help your child with his or her’s soccer skills then teaching them how to kick is going to be one of the first things you do.

This article will help you with kicking progressions for young soccer players. For advanced players, they probably aren’t appropriate as soccer teaching but they might be for warm-ups. You’ll have to make that decision.

Before starting, make sure the kids are warmed up. Dynamic leg swings are a great exercise for athletes of all ages as it works on strength, balance and range of motion.

There are lots of components to kicking a soccer ball…

  1. Where to make contact on the foot when kicking the ball.
  2. Where to place the supporting leg.
  3. How to time the leg swing.
  4. Having the balance, strength and range of motion to kick with power.
  5. Kicking with power vs kicking with accuracy. (Which one do you teach first?)
  6. How to put your body into the kick.
  7. Leg follow through and landing.

This article isn’t going to go into great details of the soccer skills themselves. It’s more about the progressions you use to teach the skills. It would take a small book to go into all the details.

Five Step How to Kick a Soccer Ball for Kids

Step 1:  Zero steps and a stationary ball. Having the ball be stationary is the first step. Young kids need lots of practice learning how to make contact with the soccer ball and their feet. By standing still and just kicking the ball, they will focus on which part of the foot makes contact with the ball.

Some kids might actually need some support on this. Holding on to a partner, a wall or a pole can take away the balance problems.

Step 2. One Step and a Stationary Ball. The focus on this step is where to place the supporting leg. The kicking leg is forward to the ball, the supporting leg is one step back. They take a step forward with the supporting leg and then kick.

For very young kids or kids that are having a difficult time with foot placement, use physical objects as targets. Have a hoop next to the ball that the soccer player is going to step into before kicking. The target helps them learn the exact position you want them in before they make contact.

Step 3. Multiple Steps and a Stationary Ball. Here, they will move back and take multiple steps. From here, there are three things to vary:

  • Change the distance they have to run to to kick the ball.
  • Run with different speeds.
  • Targets from different distances. Some relatively close, others farther away.

A note about targets. Use both goals and team mates as targets. Kids enjoy scoring goals and need to get the confidence of shooting. But there are 20 passes to every shot so learning how to pass is critical for team and individual soccer success.

Step 4. Moving ball, controlled. Now they should be fairly skilled at making contact with the ball. But in soccer, you want the ball moving, not standing still. So here the ball is rolling but controlled; not too fast and not with a lot of bounce.

The athletes can trap the ball and push it, or they can do it without the trap. I would mix it up.

Step 5. Volley kicking. The next step is to kick the ball in the air. There are lots of ways to practice this and when you get to this step, you should go back to the earlier progressions and use them with volleys.

Keep the volley slow and low to begin with. Small bounces or hops and stationary athletes. As they get better, make the passes more difficult and have the athletes moving.

When teaching any skill, it is best to break it down into progressions. Having a tool kit of progressions for any soccer skill you want to teach is something every coach or soccer parent should have at all times.

Coach Ron Usher helps parents, coaches and kids become better athletes. To learn more, go to and pick up his ebook on how to make your child a better athlete and improve their soccer skills.

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