Soccer Adviser

Your Virtual Soccer Coach

Best Soccer Drills for 12-Year-Olds: Must-Try Techniques to Boost Their Skills Today!

As an affiliate, we may earn from qualifying purchases. We get commissions for purchases made through links on this website. You can read more on our Affiliate Disclaimer here.

So your little one has developed a love for soccer and you’re keen on nurturing that passion? Congratulations!

Welcome to the wonderful world of soccer parenting. As they say, it takes a village to raise a child; well, it also takes a team of dedicated parents (and coaches) to raise the next Lionel Messi or Carli Lloyd.

To help your budding soccer superstar reach their full potential, we’ve compiled a list of the best soccer drills for 12-year-olds.

These drills are designed not only to improve skills and technique but also instill discipline, teamwork and boost confidence.

#1 Dribbling Obstacle Course

Dribbling is one of the most critical skills in soccer. To master this skill requires control, agility and speed – three things we can help develop through an obstacle course! Set up cones in various formations such as zig-zags or circles and have players practice dribbling around them while maintaining control over the ball.


  • Add more cones as they progress to increase difficulty level
  • Encourage them to use both feet while dribbling
  • Incorporate time challenges for added fun!

#2 Pass & Shoot

This drill emphasizes the essential skills of passing and shooting while working on accuracy and teamwork. Set up two lines, one for passers and another for shooters. Have the first player in the line of passers send a ball to the shooter, who then takes a shot at goal.


  • Rotate players between passer and shooter roles to ensure well-rounded development
  • Increase speed as they progress

#3 Juggling Competition

Juggling may look like a party trick, but it’s an excellent way to develop touch, balance and coordination. Split your players into pairs or small groups and have them see who can juggle the ball for an extended period using various body parts (feet, thighs, chest).


  • Introduce rules such as only using their weaker foot
  • Award small prizes for motivation (nothing like some healthy competition!)

#4 Two-Touch Keep-Away Game

This drill works on improving first-touch control while under pressure from opponents – a vital skill in soccer! Designate a rectangular playing area with cones. Divide your players into two teams; one team tries to maintain possession of the ball by passing amongst themselves while limiting their touches to just two per player.


  • The other team applies pressure defensively; once they gain possession switch roles
  • Challenge participants by decreasing allowed touches or increasing game speed

#5 1v1 Dueling Drill

The excitement lies in this head-to-head battle that will have your young soccer stars improving their attack/defense strategy! Set up a small field with a goal at each end. Have two players face off in 1v1 duels, attempting to score on the opponent’s goal.


  • Have players switch opponents frequently for variety and challenge
  • Encourage creativity and utilize various moves to beat their rival

BONUS: The Soccer Parent Pep Talk

In addition to practicing these drills, remember that your role as parents is crucial for their development.

Be supportive, encouraging and most importantly, keep things fun! Let them know it’s okay to make mistakes – that’s how we learn and become better athletes.

So gather your little soccer stars, lace up those cleats (and maybe yourself), hit the field, and start practicing these best soccer drills for 12-year-olds. Who knows? You may be raising the next big soccer superstar!

7 Tips For Success (For Coaches & Parents)

1. Master the Art of Ball Control

At this tender age of 12, youth soccer players are eager to learn and develop their soccer skills. As a coach, it’s essential to focus on drills that enhance ball control. Encourage your aspiring young athletes to practice juggling the ball with different parts of their feet, knees, and even heads! This not only helps them gain confidence but also improves their overall balance and coordination.

  • Use cones to create obstacle courses that challenge players in mastering dribbling techniques.
  • Incorporate fun games like “Red Light, Green Light” or “Sharks and Minnows” to inject an element of competitiveness while focusing on improving ball control.

2. Develop Dribbling Techniques with Speed and Agility Training

The ability to maintain possession while being under pressure is an essential skill for any budding soccer star. Coaching drills should include activities that build speed as well as agility in handling the ball. For example:

  • Create relay races where teammates compete against each other by dribbling the ball through obstacles.
  • Incorporate ladder drills during soccer practice to promote quick footwork.
  • Use acceleration sprints followed by sudden changes in direction to improve decision-making skills on the field.


3. Turn Shooting Drills into Goal-scoring Machines

A team’s success often depends on its ability to convert chances into goals — so why not make shooting one of your key player development strategies? Besides practicing shots from various angles during soccer training, don’t forget these tried-and-tested tips:

• Teach players how to strike the ball with different parts of their feet (laces, instep, or the outside) to improve accuracy.
• Use small-sided games to hone their shooting skills under match-like pressure.
• Practice volleys and headers to give your players an edge during set-pieces and corner kicks.



4. Master the Art of Passing Through Team Tactics

A team that plays together wins together – and passing is at the heart of any successful team’s game plan. Help your young athletes develop an understanding of various types of passes:

  • Short passes for quick ball movement
  • Long balls to switch play or penetrate defenses
  • Lofted through balls for teammates making runs behind the opposition line.

Incorporate drills that encourage teamwork and communication, such as creating triangles during soccer practice where players need to complete a certain number of passes before attempting a shot on goal.



5. Build Defensive Skills with Purposeful Coaching Drills

A solid defense is just as crucial as a potent attack in youth soccer. Help your defenders develop important skills like tackling, marking, positioning, and anticipating the opponents’ moves by including specific defensive coaching drills:

• Teach them how to form “pressure-cover-balance” triangles when defending against attacking opponents.
• Use small-sided games that emphasize defensive positioning and communication among teammates.
• Incorporate one-on-one or two-on-two situations during soccer training sessions with attackers challenging defenders in isolated spaces.

6. Don’t Forget About Goalkeeping Fundamentals

Soccer’s unsung heroes — goalkeepers — need specialized attention too! Dedicate time during soccer practice for teaching proper techniques like diving saves, catching high balls, or handling crosses. Some coaching tips include:

• Using visual aids such as targets marked on the goal posts to help with positioning and shot-stopping accuracy.
• Incorporating reaction drills focusing on improving hand-eye coordination, reflexes, and lateral movement.

7. Strive for Holistic Player Development

Last but not least, remember that your primary role as a coach is to guide your young athletes beyond just honing their soccer skills. Focus on building their character by instilling values like teamwork, discipline, respect, and sportsmanship that will serve them well both on and off the field.

In conclusion, the best soccer drills for 12-year-olds are those that cater to their unique developmental needs while fostering a love for the beautiful game. With these seven tips in mind, you’ll be well on your way to coaching future soccer stars!

In Case You’re Wondering…(FAQs)

What are the best dribbling drills for 12-year-olds?

The best dribbling drills for 12-year-olds include cone weaving, the Messi drill, and one-on-one challenges. These exercises help improve ball control, technique, and agility while keeping young players engaged and motivated.

What passing exercises work well for this age group?

Some effective passing exercises for 12-year-olds are the passing diamond drill, the wall pass exercise, and the circle keep-away game. These drills focus on developing accuracy, timing, and communication skills among teammates.

How can 12-year-olds improve their shooting skills?

To better shooting skills at this age, consider practicing drills like the shooting gauntlet, varying distance shots, or the popular FIFA-inspired skill games. These activities emphasize proper technique, accuracy, power, and consistency in shooting.

What about goalkeeping exercises for 12-year-olds?

Recommended goalkeeping drills to help 12-year-olds develop their skills include the bounce-and-catch,dive-and-save, and tunnel vision exercises. You can adapt these to challenge young goalkeepers while enhancing their reflexes, agility, and awareness.

Apart from physical fitness, how can soccer drills develop mental strength in 12-year-olds?

To foster mental strength in players this age, incorporate activities that encourage decision-making, like small-sided games and possession drills. These exercises promote critical thinking, quick reactions, and teamwork to help players excel on the field.

Soccer Adviser’s Top Picks For Levelling Up On The Pitch…

We thought you might like these!

Latest Posts

  • Top 5 Best Soccer Leagues in the World Ranked

    Let’s face it, a world without soccer wouldn’t be the same. There’s just something about watching your favorite team score that amazing goal and watching those nail-biting final moments before taking home the win (or not). As passionate fans of this globally loved sport, we only want to watch the best! But which leagues are…

    Read More