fundamental soccer logo

Fundamental Soccer Blog

Motivate Your Players Over the Summer Break

Hey, coaches! Keeping your young soccer stars engaged and motivated during the summer break can sometimes feel like herding cats, right? But fear not—we’ve got a game-changing strategy to keep those little feet moving and those skills sharp while they’re on vacation.

Set Summer Goals: First things first, let’s get those kids dreaming big! Encourage your players to set themselves some goals for the summer. Whether it’s mastering that tricky move, improving their fitness, or just spending more time with the ball at their feet, having something to aim for will keep them focused and hungry for improvement.

Simplify the Game: 

Who says you need a whole team and a coach blowing a whistle to have fun with soccer? All you need is:

  • A ball,
  • A goal (could be a tree, a hat, anything really),
  • A playmate

Yes, that’s right. Teach your players that they can have a blast with just one other person; no grown-ups are needed. It’s all about keeping it simple and letting their creativity run wild.

Teach Your Players ‘How to’: Make sure every kid has a ball of their own at home – it’s like their soccer sidekick. Show them how to set up a makeshift goal with whatever they can find lying around (seriously, a couple of cones or even some old shoes will do the trick). Then, it’s all about scoring when they’ve got the ball and defending their goal like a fortress when they don’t. Practice this at training, then watch them take it home and run with it.

What We Need to Teach:  Repeat after me: “It’s totally cool to play 1 vs. 1 soccer without a grown-up calling the shots.” Let’s empower our players to take control of their own game and have a blast doing it.

Arrange Small-Sided Games: Set up a 1 vs. 1 field in the yard or park and start to play.  If more kids show up, turn it into a small-sided game and let the magic happen. It’s all about keeping that competitive fire burning and giving your players a chance to shine in a more relaxed environment.

Create Summer Training Plans: Arm your players with killer training plans to keep them on track over the break. Whether it’s honing their one-footed skills (e.g., playing a 1 vs. 1 game using theleft foot only) or getting creative with multiple goals (e.g., improving their ability to ‘Read-the-Game), give them the tools they need to improve their game while the sun’s shining.

Keep Tabs on Their Progress:  But hey, how do you make sure your players aren’t just kicking back and watching Netflix all summer? Well, why not turn it into a little friendly competition?

  • Challenge your players to keep track of their training sessions and games, and maybe even start a leaderboard to see who’s putting in the most work.
  • Set up a group chat or a shared online platform where they can post videos of their solo skills sessions or brag about their latest 1 vs. 1 victory.

This will not only keep them accountable but also foster a sense of camaraderie and keep the team spirit alive even when they’re apart for the summer!

Staying in touch and adding in a bit of friendly competition and accountability can go a long way in motivating your players to stay active and engaged over the summer break!

So there you have it, coaches. With a bit of creativity and a whole lot of enthusiasm, you can keep your players pumped and primed for action all summer long. Let’s make this break one to remember!

Note: Some materials mentioned in this article come from my book, “Totally – FUNdamental SOCCER.”