Top U12 Soccer Drills & Practices

At U12’s you’ll start to move your training sessions towards developing;

  • Compact Defending: While working within a unit
  • Precision Passing: That focuses specifically on opening up lines of defense and playing ‘through the gaps’
  • Counter Attacks: The who, what, when, why and how your team should prepare to hit the opposition on a counter attack
  • SSG’s: That move from 7v7 up to 9v9

Continued Development…

Remember however, you’re still going to want to focus on refining the skills they have already learned at U11’s with a sharp focus on;

  • Velocity: Skills done at speed with a purpose
  • Efficiency: Skills performed at with the least amount of time and effort
  • Effectiveness: Applying the right skills used at the right time

Continued education, advice and mentoring are vital components to your training practices with this age group.

What to Expect from Under 12’s

Expect your U12’s to be stronger than they’ve ever been. As your players are developing physically you might start to notice varying differences in the abilities between players.

Remember that some players may be almost year older than other players in the group and this might have some effect on things such as their strength and ability to compete physically within a game.

It’s also not uncommon to find certain players standing out as leaders within the group. You’ll have to find the balance between helping these players control and put their leadership skills to good use while not imposing on the quieter players.

Your Priorities Coaching Under 11’s

  • Again, focus on improving the velocity, efficiency and effectiveness of skills within a competitive environment
  • Introduce other topics such as; general wellbeing, getting good sleep and eating well
  • Develop some core values for your team to follow and stay true too. This can be good way to build team character and moral and also give them some structure to follow.
  • Focus on developing; defending principles counter attacking and passing with purpose within small, structured and conditioned games.

Main Topics of Focus

While you’ll move away from basic static ball control drills, you won’t completely forget about these ‘basic topics’ altogether. Encourage your players to develop their dribbling, ball control, turning and other similar skills in more competitive, conditioned games (SSG’s).

With that said, your U12’s soccer drills should focus around the following topics:

  • 1v1s
  • Ball Control
  • Dribbling
  • Possession
  • Positional Awareness
  • Receiving Priorities
  • Defending
  • Passing
  • Turning
  • Shooting
  • Heading (Defensive vs Attacking)
  • Pressing
  • Tackling
  • Support Play
  • Attacking
  • SAQ and Soccer Conditioning Drills
  • Counter Attacking
  • Compact Defending
  • Recovery
  • Small sided games (7v7 / 9v9)


U12 Soccer Drills, Games and Activities

Remember to have browse through our; U9, U10, U11 and U13 drill guides for more soccer drills, games and ideas for your under 12’s group. Most training practices in these guides can be, and should be adapted, progressed and regressed depending on the ability of your players.

[1v1] Quick Transition
1v1 Quick Transition
How fast are players at transitioning the ball outside the oppositions box? This quick transitioning drill will help your team develop the patience, speed and skill needed to be effective in the final 3rd.
4v2 to 6v4 Possession Transition
4v2 to 6v4 Possession Drill
Real game possession overloads very rarely stay the same. A 4v2 can quickly change to a 4v4 and so on. This simple to setup drill focuses on getting your players to make the most out of their numbers
Work it Out Wide
Work It Out Wide
Work It Out Wide focuses on bringing your wide players into play. Young players tend to think in backwards and forward play but this drill will have them thinking more laterally – literally, adding another dimension to your teams game
[Defending] Keep Ball
Multi Angle
Defenses are forever getting caught out of position. Whether it’s because one of your midfielders lost the ball where they shouldn’t have or one beautiful ball was played straight through your line of defense. Multi-Angle aims to coach you players in these types of scenarios. Set the rules and let your goalkeeper take charge…
[Finishing] 3v3 Quick Transition
3v3 Quick Transition
Can your team quickly and efficiently transition from attack to defense? Check out our 3v3 finishing and defending combo

[Finishing] Attacker vs Defenders4
Attackers vs Defenders
A mini conditioning and finishing drill that encourages your attackers to get a shot on goal as quickly as possible
[Finishing] Solo Quick Feet Drill
Solo Quick Feet Finishing Drill
A great drill to have your attackers practice on their own either in training or just before a competitive match.


[SCD] Beat The Defender
Beat The Defender
Another conditioning drill that can be used in a ‘Quad’ setup or on it’s own. Can your attackers out run your defenders? Or are your defenders masters at closing the space down? Beat The Defender will tell you everything you need to know…
4v2 Possession Drill
4v2 Possession Drill
Coach your team in the art of keeping possession in an overload scenario. This isn’t just about the attackers however as the defenders are allowed to score too…

Stealing Possession
Stealing Possession
A great possession game that can be used for any age over 11/12 years old. It’s got intensity, challenge and competitiveness all wrapped into one simple soccer drill.

[PassReceive] Dutch Wineglass
Dutch Wineglass
Taking it’s name from the setup, the Dutch Wineglass focuses on your teams passing and receiving priorities in a dynamic drill that requires; speed, communication, efficient turning and teamwork.
[Defending] Protect The Space
Protect The Space
if you ever watch professional soccer team training, you’ll recognize this setup. Taken straight from an academy training ground, Protect The Space focuses on developing your teams ability to defend, win the ball and then play out from the back


[Finishing] 3 Player Link Up Finishing Drill
3 Player Progressive Finishing Drill
It might take a few run-throughs before your players get the hang of this one – but once you see them replicate it in a competitive game…you’ll be one happy coach.
[Finishing] You Choose
You Choose
Give your team a little more responsibility in this finishing drill that tests your players awareness and reactions
[SCD] Tunnel Run
Tunnel Run
How fast do your players think they are? Sprinting in a straight line is one thing but constantly changing direction while having a chaser on your toes is a completely different ball game…. Tunnel Run is a fun conditioning game that can be used with almost any age group.
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