Soccer Coach’s Question

Help I coach 4 and 5 year olds.  It is really hard to keep their attention.  Can you suggest some drills that I can work with them on?  Coach Katherine,

FUNdamental Response

Coach Katherine, when dealing with 4-5 year old players you really don’t need much help! What you do need is lots of PATIENCE!

But, to answer your question: Do not look for any ‘drills’ to keep these children active.  All soccer players including your 4-5 year olds come to practice to PLAY!  So make your first goal to: KEEP the PLAYERS and the SOCCER BALL MOVING in other words KEEP THEM ACTIVE – ALL THE TIME PLAYING SOCCER!

The Formula

  1. If the players and the balls are moving = Soccer learning is taking place.
  2. If the players or the balls stop moving = Soccer learning stops!
  3. You will be able to keep the players and the balls moving by using and patiently teaching your players the ‘FUNdamental Flow.’

FUNdamental Flow – Soccer Training Drills for Coaches

1.  Begin Practice

Tell Them the ‘Practice’ Rules and What They Will Learn.

2.  Warm-up

  • Inside a marked-out square (grid)
  • Have each player move their own ball around the square (dribbling).
  • Occasionally call out a simple instruction such as “Stop the Ball” and then “Continue Dribbling”.  (Note:  Don’t worry about how they Stop the ball as long as they don’t use their hands.)
  • Show them a simple move with their foot (taking it around the ball) use the word ‘around’ and hope they follow your instructions.  Note: Don’t worry about how well the foot goes around the ball as long as the ball and player are moving some learning is taking place J
  • Show them how to and (pretend) stretch at this age.

Note: Since they all have a ball and Since they are moving (your objective) you may want to continue this portion for a looong time.  Be sure to add more simple instructions for what you want them to do with the ball (pull-back) and again … Don’t worry about the technique just keep them and the ball moving J

3.  ONE + ONE (Cooperative Play)

PATIENTLY Try to teach them ‘how to’ attack one goal while defend the other..

4.  ONE vs. ONE (Competitive Play)

SEE (observe) if they learned what you tried to teach them in the 1+1 game.

5.  HALF TIME

Teach them (PATIENTLY) what will happen at halftime.

  • Drink water (no oranges – not enough liquid)
  • Give them compliments (away from parents)
  • Tell them what will happen next

6.  SMALL SIDED GAMES (Cooperative & Competitive)

Have teams of 2 or 3 players play against 1 or 2 other players.

Cooperative (Teach)

Talk to them and help them attack and defend the appropriate goal.

Competitive (Test)

SEE if they learned what you tried to teach them in the cooperative game.

7.  SCRIMMAGE (Cooperative & Competitive)

Cooperative (Teach)

Talk to them and help them attack and defend the appropriate goal.

Competitive (Test)

SEE if they learned what you tried to teach them in the cooperative scrimmage.

Very Important: 

  • Leave them alone and watch them be the best they can be.
  • Don’t get discouraged if some decides to ‘stop’ and watch the clouds ‘go by’.

8.  COOL DOWN

Have them pretend that they are ‘stretching’ their muscles – just like the big players. Use this time to give each individual some praise for improvement.

9.  END PRACTICE

Give the team praise for improving and give them a homework assignment (play 1vs.1 against brother, sister, Mom or Dad).

  • Have them help you clean-up the facility.
  • Stick to this ‘FLOW’ and you will find that as the children begin to understand what is expected
  • They will become more and more attentive.

To keep it simple…Make your first goal – To Teach the Children ‘How to’ keep the ball and themselves moving… Make sure they eventually go to attack one goal and also defend their own goal.  Teach them the “FLOW” and with lots of PATIENCE you will find your 4-5 year olds actively PLAYING in your practices.

If you keep changing from drill to drill (lots of variety) they will not understand what you want and you can not build on that!

No Understanding = No Learning!

FUNdamental Flow - 9 Step Soccer Training Drills for Coaches

Final FUNdamental Words of Wisdom:

It is rather sad that we organize this wonderful sport at such a young age.

It would be wiser if administrators made every effort to just organize PLAY DAYS for the children in this age group.  That is, have a Saturday when the children are dropped-off at the playground.  Yes, have the parents go home and enjoy some quality time together while their children are outside in a safe environment – PLAYING SOCCER!

Final Notes:

Have a question?  Please send it to me at: koachkarl@fundamentalsoccer.com

Thank you for taking the time to read this article and Sharing it with your soccer community.

 

Your FUNdamental,

Koach Karl (Karl Dewazien)

 


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