Coaching youth soccer using fun soccer games for the under 6 soccer player

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hello and welcome to soccer coaching my name is Paul walmsley

delighted that you visited our website

today and hopefully become a member of

our soccer coaching community I want to

ask answer a question that we have polls

on the blog just recently from Emma and

she was asking about coaching beginning

players three four five six year olds

I've got a lot of experts in the area I

set up a mini soccer program years ago

they had about sixty eighty kids on a

Saturday morning we built that up over

time with eventually about three hundred

kids a week in the clinics the main

thing with the little ones the babies or

the future whatever you want to call

them is to make sure you keep them

active and you keep them with a ball at

the feet obvious things to have avoid

are standing in lines lecturing them

because as soon as you start talking and

they start drifting away mentally I'm

picking their nose and whatever else

they're gonna do you've lost them so a

few things to give you some ideas some

ground rules one of the first things I

would do is talk to the parents and set

expectations and set standards of

behavior that's the right term what I

put across to the coach the parents was

for the next 45 minutes or an hour these

kids are mine you can have a cup of

coffee go under your grocery shopping

whatever you want to do but for 45

minutes to an hour just to enjoy the

fact that you're not responsible for

your kids I've got them that's hard at

first because parents want to still be

in control the little ones and be

yelling instructions from the sidelines

that kind of thing and that that's not

what we're looking for so the rules I

would give the parents are get them here

on in plenty of time don't have them

show up late make sure they have their

own soccer ball make sure they have a

water bottle make sure they got the Sun

cream on if necessary if it's the

opposite it's cold you know I was

working with one little girl one time

and I touched her hand it was like a

block of ice no wonder she wasn't


that day so get the kids there early

suitably dressed suitable be prepared

have breakfast that kind of thing so

that's the responsibility of a parent

sounds the basics but I promise you it's

worth recapping once the players arrive

you've got to be full of enthusiasm

there's only one thing more is

contagious than enthusiasm and that's

the lack of enthusiasm so make sure

you're up for it make sure you're fired

up have your coffee whatever you need to

do they arrive immediately get them

effective so what I do is a technique or

a tip instead of using soccer balls we

get tennis balls out put them on the

floor they can't use their hands and

just give them a tennis ball what

that'll do is we'll get their attention

first of all it'll focus them and it'll

stop them just booting it and chasing

after it because you can't do that with

a tennis ball

as they arrived hey how's it going you

know high five you're looking great

let's go here's your tennis ball and

then get them doing that as the other

kids arrive they're gonna see what's

going on they're gonna be wanting to do

that as well and we immediately then

you've got the control of a bunch of

five and six-year-olds and you look like

a genius

do a lot of your skill work with the

tennis balls because the whole idea at

that level is to teach them not to just

smash the life out of the ball is to

teach them to do the opposite and to

have the lightest touch on the ball as

possible so by working with tennis balls

that gets them to touch the ball lightly

it gets them to use the bottom of the

feet sides of the feet the inside the

outside maybe the toe a little bit but

we're trying to avoid using that big toe

so that's your first tip very first few

tips actually talk to the parents how

the poets stay quiet from the sidelines

get the tennis balls out when they

arrive then when everyone's arrived and

you're ready to go let them go for a

quick drink we could just do whatever

need to do and then the parents are out

of the picture then tell the parents

that is the kid needs a drink it cannot

come running over to them until you say

otherwise you'll be working on some

great stuff you look to the side a half

of your kids that we are kid goes

running over for a drink catch the kid

I'm into a fun game we all end up doing

drills don't like with the ball

basically means moving the ball around

the officials are basically reacting


they're basically walls the players

being chased and they have to get to

somewhere to be safe the one I would

always start off with swimming and again

that doesn't mean they get the ball to

smash hit the chase after it they are

swimming with the balls so again you can

do this with tennis balls for the

appropriate sized balls a little mini

ball skills ball or size three and

they're basically taking little touches

and they're swimming in the sea you're

the shark you're the coach you're the

shock so what you're gonna do all of a

sudden you're gonna shout shark attack

and all the kids are gonna giggle and

scream and they have to dribble their

ball swim with their ball back to the

island and put their foot on the ball

then they're safe if they just kick the

ball towards the island it's gonna go

right through the back of the island

they're gonna be back in the sea so

again that's why we're doing this we

want them to be able to turn with the

ball lots of little touches get on the

island put the foot on it they're safe

you as the shark you're gonna chase them

you're not going to slide tackle and

hopefully you're just gonna chase them

and if you get a chance to pulp their

ball away out of the sea out of bounds

they then become a shock and they

immediately turn and chase after the

other swimmers it's a real basic game

the kids love it it gets the energy

going but the coaching points are

fantastic keep the ball close keep your

head up so you look at where the shark

is and you know where the island is when

the shark comes after you get there as

quick as you can but don't just boot

your ball take it on the control get

your foot on it and you're safe

so that shark attacks great beginning

game the kids love it

then you have there's a million other

alternatives to crab soccer space

invaders Pirates of the Caribbean you

can make them up you can make up

whatever is topical and current with the

latest Disney movie if you want so very

little games on you're in this area and

you're dribbling with the ball you've

got to get over there and you're gonna

get chased don't scare the life out of


yes I've had kids cry like kids maybe

even pee their pants I hope not but stop

slide tackling after the third week when

I got complaints obviously joking about

that one but but just get them in there

you've let the game of shark attack

they're buzzing well done maybe do it

two or three times and then right water

break you go running over to parents you

get between they get whatever they need

to be done to them straight away let's

go get my killing it back maybe a little

bit more skill work with the tennis ball

I get the side to two threes out or to

work with

another wall to break back in do another

fun game crap soccer that's a great one

that's one where you have them in two

you have an area and they start on one


and they've got out Vance dribble the

ball over to the other line and in

between you can start off with one of

the crabs and you're in that position

where you're a crab on the floor the

dribbling past you you kick the ball out

they become a crap excuse me a million a

million permutations of that once it

played the second non-directive games at

this point they've had a little bit of

skill at first with a tennis ball to get

them focused they've had a fun game like

shark attack they've had a wall to break

a bit more skill work another fun game

then you scrimmage now the scrimmage at

the end is what it's all about

especially the first thing that's what

it's all about and that's when you

really do talk to the person say no

yelling such as kick the ball obviously

the worst one I think is wrong way you

see a kid he looks up there's seven

players in front of him there's no space

the kids clever enough to think okay I'm

gonna go I'm not gonna go through that

pile of people I'm gonna come back here

a little bit and maybe go down this side

as soon as that kids smart enough to

come the other way

all the parents yell wrong way and he

goes okay fair enough I just go right

into trouble if the kids smart enough to

turn the opposite way into space

don't let the parents shout wrong way

he's doing the right thing or she's

doing the right thing if that kid turns

the opposite way smashes the ball in his

own call big deal celebrate the goal

well done the culture run over bad away

a balloon head next time stick it in

that goal that's all you need to say if

the kid smashes the ball on the net and

all sort of parents shout what are you

doing how fun is that for the kid so I

give him a break at the three and four

years old it couldn't stick getting the

wrong net

alright so in the 'scrimish what I do I

say you have 12 players nine players of

the mother no matter what it is three

teams so three threes or three fours

reds vs yellows blues on the sidelines

reds and yellows are played and you're

the coach you can play you can be

involved again don't beat seven players

and smash in the top corner I've done

that before I got in trouble as well

look good on video though I really did

so what you do is you help them

scrimmaging they're gonna be like

bumblebees of course and all you're

doing is talking to them a little bit

and maybe knocking the ball into some

space because they're all a bunch ball

around the ball there's all this space

around there just get in there and flick

it into some space they all go running

over and they do it again so you're just

managing that let him go off a couple of

minutes three minutes maybe if there's

been a goal scored great if not doesn't

matter then stop it yellows off Blues on

yellows are getting their water break

reds and blues are going for it do two

or three minutes get the Reds off bring

the yells back on so you're just

rotating don't have it were the team

that scores stays on because then you

get one team that dominates and there

were two teams ahead to drop we're not

keeping score we're just keeping them

busy if you get a chance in the

scrimmage to show off a video skills

have some fun of course do that do

something so fun with them they want to

see you be able to play the parents want

to see that you can play but it's not

about you it's just about them the kids

having some fun at the end of the

session once you'd done bring them in

high fives

make a big fuss of them maybe give them

some homework to do and I don't mean 30

laps around the block looking like that

but some ball work where the tennis ball

maybe because remember here in the US

they're gonna gonna practice once a week

maybe then

- they're not going to do it on their

own unless they're motivated to do so

because they've got video games and

computers and TV and all that kind of

stuff so maybe he before next week if

you get a chance can you practice little

this little simple skill give him a real

basic thing to work on if they haven't

done it when they come back next week

don't yell at them it's not a big deal

they're just little ones so that's a

typical mini soccer the future soccer

tots whatever you want to call your

basic obsession welcomed them with a big

grin and a lot of enthusiasm give them a

tennis ball to focus with do a

non-directive game water break bit more

skill work non-directive game scrimmage


get them out of here you want them

leaving reading the cheeks talking a

million miles an hour

parents thinking that's a great a great

session and telling their friends about

it for next week so that's what I would

do for the two three four or five year

olds and please leave us some comments

again we don't have all the answers

that's just what I've learnt over the

years if you have other ideas for us

please share them with us leave a

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