Soccer is a very popular sport for kids and parents alike, and some teams can start up as young as the age of five or six years old. For soccer coaches (and parents) of younger children, there are a few important tips to remember when training the kids for their games. The fitness drills you implement should be fairly easy and not too rigorous, at least until the age of eleven. At that age, the difficulty can gradually be increased.
Think about the kids’ speed, endurance, and agility, but do not work them too hard. It is important to try and get the most ball touches out of every single practice and every single game. Even if no goals or very few goals are scored kids need to feel as if they are accomplishing something, so by encouraging them to kick the ball is important.
A good chunk of time should be dedicated to getting the kids to kick the ball around on the field. Encourage them to have fun with it, and remind them that right now at practice, there is no pressure to score. It’s more important to just be able to visualize and then kick the ball.
The combination of both fitness and ball training should be emphasized. If the kids are physically fit and agile, they should be able to play well. The goalies should also be encouraged to try and block and/or catch the ball as it comes their way. A few simple goalie tests or practice tactics are good to try here to get them involved. Remind the goalies that their role is also very important for the entire team.
If all of the kids are physically fit, you will be able to move onto focusing on the actual game of soccer. A quick run around the field (or half of the field if the children are really small) is a good way to watch and spot check different team members to make sure they are able to run without too many issues.
Encourage all of the kids to try their best without putting too much pressure on them. As long as they understand the concept of soccer and how the game is played, they should do fine. Keep in mind that especially at a younger age, soccer and other sports are meant to be a fun way to work and play together as a team.