Technical & Tactical PREK - Grade 2


Psychological/fun aspects of coaching PREK, KG and Grade 1/2

The most important aspect of working with these age groups is FUN. If not having fun, children will no longer want to play. Children remind us adults of this fact over and over again when asked in research studies and anecdotally. Psychosocial development is also a very important focus for this age group. Children are still learning how to enter and interplay within a social group and we can help with this through soccer. It is important that we praise children of these ages regularly and help build self-esteem and a willingness to be creative. In this manner, we can support them as individuals and help facilitate their entry into the world of group play. 

Five and six year-olds have a short attention span and loads of energy. As a result, quick instructions and simple activities work best. Activities that utilize their active imaginations are preferred and will help keep their attention. These players all want to play with the “toy” on the field, which is the ball. In practice, make sure to have a “toy” for each player.

The Grade 1/2's, like the KG's, need activities that have fun as a central theme. From a psychosocial standpoint, the Grade 1/2 player has a high need for approval from adults and can be easily bruised psychologically by negative comments from adults. They are very aware of not only what you say to them but how you say it. Grade 1/2 players are more involved socially, and do enjoy working with a partner, however, they will struggle with larger group sizes. It is important to note that there is a wide degree of variation in the social and physical development of players at this age. 


Technical Development of 6-8 year olds

Fun, dribbling, and motor development (running, skipping, galloping, turning, jumping) should be the central soccer themes in KG practices. In order to become comfortable on the ball, KG and Grade 1/2 players need to touch the ball as often as possible.  The Grade 1/2 player is now ready to continue development of dribbling skills, and begin passing and shooting, however touches on the ball and fun is still the focus from a technical standpoint. As we have said repeatedly in this manual, players tell us they play soccer in order to have fun!  What we must remember is that one of the main components of fun, according to young players, is seeing themselves improve at something. For this reason, helping them see their technical improvement when they make improvements and praising them for it is vital. It is important that each player be shown their own improvement and that we do not compare all players to the “best” player.


Age Group     Skill Priorities

KG        Dribble with all sides of both feet

Dribble out of trouble

Dribble past someone

             Soft first touch


Grade 1/2   Dribble with all sides of both feet

      Dribble out of trouble

      Dribble past someone


                   Soft first touch

                   Introduce proper shooting technique

                   Introduce passing


Please recognize that just because one player understands some higher level tactical ideas at this age, it does not mean that all players do or are capable of understanding at this time. Spending a significant amount of time on tactical ideas will ultimately hurt these players in the long run. They are still in a period in which their motor-control skills are developing. In fact, this age is a crucial time of motor-control development. Just as there are times in development in which a young person can more easily learn a second language, there are times at which a young person more easily and most efficiently can learn motor-control. We stress this point because we should use our practices to teach players the skills that they can learn best at each age.

Spending a lot of time teaching tactics will not only detract from skill/motor-control development, but it will not guarantee tactical knowledge as children will only be able to comprehend a limited amount of knowledge. Even if we are the best coaches in the world, children have a limit of conceptual understanding at this age. Expecting too much will result in teaching very little.