Introducing – The Love for Soccer
Your little ones are excited and watch along with you all those different soccer league matches, championship matches and the world cup matches. They too would like to kick the ball around. So where would you start to begin their training in the sport of soccer?
To begin with there are two elements to introducing any sport to a kid. First is that they get introduced to the sport, learn its basics both how to play it and its rules and regulations. Second is the key factor of having fun when learning the new sport.
For kids at an impressionable age, at an age where they can get easily distracted you would not want them to turn away from the sport. While designing soccer drills for kids who are just being introduced to the sport it is important that coaches keep this point in mind.
Starting from the basics, it is important that kids are separated in various age groups. Also, keep the age groups narrower because at these ages there could be vast discrepancy in skill levels.
Would you start straight with introducing soccer drills for kids who are just being introduced to the sport? Not a good idea, instead it is better to slowly ease them into the sport and then introduce various techniques of the sport.
An ideal way to start is just by allowing the kids to learn to kick the ball around. Explain them the most basic rule of hitting the ball in the goal post to score a goal. Once the kids become comfortable with this, introduce various soccer drills to start learning the sport.
For kids in the ages of four to five, let them have fun with the activity. If a coach notices that more than one kid is losing focus, the best thing is to introduce another activity. Important thing here is to keep all the kids engaged in the drills.
Dribbling, ball possession, passing the ball, shooting, and communication, are some of things to be introduced through various soccer drills. Pair them up to learn the skills of passing and receiving the ball. Start with a shorter distance between the players, show them how to pass the ball – like using the inside of the foot, while receiving the ball they’ll have to try avoid stopping under their foot. The best way to impart the skills is to demonstrate it to the whole group and then allowing them to practice it.
Based on the progress made by kids they could be moved to the next level. A vital thing to remember is not to rush the kid to the next level. You would not want a kid to get frustrated if he/she is not able to perform at the next level and thus lose interest in the sport completely.
At the youth age level, they would all have basic soccer skills. Youth soccer coaching would still have some of the drills used for younger kids, mainly the warm-up exercises. However, it is time now to introduce more complex skills.
Of course, even at this level, the element of fun should always be there. Youth soccer coaching should also introduce some mental training skills like concentration, goal setting and self-confidence.
For youth soccer coaching introduce the elements of competition too by incorporating mini-games within the regular coaching sessions. For youth development make them play in as many competitive league tournaments as possible.
This would ensure that they get the opportunity to test their skills against the other players, give them an idea about their own skill levels and then work accordingly to improve or better themselves.
Whichever stage of development a kid/youth is, it is paramount that they are enjoying themselves and are not bored with the sport.