Every practice is split between drills and a soccer game. Reason: the kids want to play soccer; clubs that only do drills for their minis program have reported statistically lower return rates year over year.
All drills should try to have a "fun" component. Reason: club policy (fun); loss of player attention for drills they consider "work". Note: this instruction lessened slightly at U11 and relaxed at U13 and U15, but only in conjunction with #3.
Any drill that has no "fun" component should be limited in time (eg: < 5 minutes). Reason: loss of player attention for drills they consider "work".
Split the players into smaller groups when possible. Reason: groups of players of 6 or less are easier to manage/pay more attention. Note: this instruction dependent on the number of coaches/asst coaches and coaches ability/comfort in independent operation.
Keep the players active. Reason: players that have to sit and listen too long lose interest; club policy (exercise).
Core skill development. Reason: club policy (soccer); varying level of player development. Note: Dependent on coach/asst coach familiarity with the game and ability to teach. Try to design drills that encourage all skills levels, such as dribbling drills where players can set their own pace based on skill.
Repeat drills to reinforce skills. Reason: club policy (soccer); children aged 12 and under still developing physically and mentally so repetition builds coordination and ability.
Positive reinforcement. Reason: club policy (fun); build confidence in players.
Teamwork Reason: Club and Soccer Canada policy.
Respect and Good Sportsmanship. Reason: Club and PEI Soccer policy. Note: PEI Soccer's policy extends to coaches, parents and referees as well.