You wouldn’t think coaching kid’s soccer would be very hard; split them up into two teams, mark out a field with some goals, throw a ball in
the middle and sit back and watch. Not exactly.
Coaching kids aged 5-8 is a vital stage of an athlete’s development. This is the age where natural talent is highlighted and what kids have a big heart. When I say “big heart” I mean the love of playing soccer and the determination and dedication required to make it professionally. The kids with the natural talent are given the easy road for the moment and it’s our job to nurture and develop them so they can play with other children older than them. But who’s to say the children with the big hearts won’t catch up to them.
To all the parents, don’t stress if your young son or daughter can’t kick the ball 20 metres, pass to their team mate or dribble with the ball, because before they can do all these things we need to teach them about coordination!
It starts off with the most basic of them all, how to run correctly. I’m sure all your kids can run, but we teach them how to run and changed direction at the same time for example; a game of bull rush is perfect. It is also essential the kids train their brains to coordinate their timing of feet placement so we incorporate corresponding exercises with the ball.
Then we introduce some eye to hand and eye to foot coordination. These two sensory functions are just as important as each other especially for those children who may want to become goal keepers. To refine these motor skills some exercises such as juggling is ideal. It could be something as simple as kicking the ball in the air and catching it. In time this will teach them to watch the ball make contact with their foot and then watching the ball into their hands. Eventually you can make it more difficult but adding another action to the sequence, for example; knee, let the ball bounce, kick then catch.
Once we have taught them the basics then every thing else will become easier and your child’s improvement will be much more noticed.