Pirates of the Pugg
Pirates of the Pugg is a great drill for younger kids ages eight to ten who are trying to learn sound dribbling techniques and how to protect the ball in traffic. The drill is extremely fun for kids because they get to showcase their individual skills while working on a number of essential skills on the pitch. Those skills include vision, awareness and quickly transitioning from offense to defense.
Start by placing a Pugg Goal in the middle of the pitch, then build a circle large enough to accommodate up to 12 players (approximately 30-40 yards in diameter). You’ll want enough room for 12 players to run around, but keep it tight enough to limit the open space. Have nine players start with the ball and assign three defenders (pirates) to begin the drill.
The offensive players will work on finding space in traffic by keeping their head up and the ball close, while the pirates will try to steal the ball to quickly turn around and score in the Pugg goal. If the pirates score, the player who lost the ball will become a pirate. The last offensive player standing wins. Kids love playing Pirates of the Pugg, and you can set up the drill with any number of players following the same 3:1 offense-to-defense ratio.
Bonus Drill: “Ouch”
Another fun soccer drill for even younger soccer players – those aged six to ten – is “Ouch,” which allows youngsters to work together to learn proper passing, dribbling and shooting techniques. They also get to hit the coach with the soccer ball. To start, shorten the circle from the Pirate of the Pugg drill and give your team a few balls to pass around and dribble within the confined area.
The objective of the game is for players to properly strike the ball with different parts of the foot – inside, instep, right and left – hitting the coach with the ball. When the coach is hit they’ll yell “Ouch,” and the shooting player receives one point. The coach can jog around the area dodging shots to make the drill more difficult. This goofy drill is a favorite among younger soccer players and a great way for coaches to form deeper relationships with their players.
The Semper Soccer team remembers these drills fondly from when we learned the fundamentals of the game. Make sure to check back next week for more drills to use as you get ready for the upcoming season.